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August 22, 2005

The Week in Quotes

August 15-21

by John Erhardt

SO IF HE WEIGHS THE SAME AS A DUCK…HE'S MADE OF WOOD!

"No way. If I tested something positive for anything, then someone threw something in the (sample). I think it's because of the way I'm built. I've had people thinking that since I was in high school."
--Boston centerfielder Johnny Damon, responding to the rumor that he has tested positive for steroids (Boston Herald)

"I think it starts with a rumor, a reporter somewhere wants to see if a player will crack. They'll say anything. They want to come after stars, they want to see how people react."
--Damon

"The reporting of this steroid issue has taken on witch-hunt proportions and I think it's wrong. That's a pretty severe accusation to be throwing around, whether it came from an Internet chat room or a newspaper. I'd like to think some actual reporting is going on."
--Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, on the steroid rumors

"They're absolutely not true. I don't know where this stuff comes from. I know this kind of stuff is out there. This isn't journalism's finest hour. Some people ought to be ashamed."
--Commissioner Bud Selig, on the rumor that Roger Clemens is among a group of players who have tested positive (Houston Chronicle)

IT TAKES A VILLAGE…

"They talk about me and kids and [stuff]. How many kids I got? Damn near half my team is kids. Probably 80 percent of my pitchers. You look at [Cardinals manager] Tony La Russa, how many kids has he ever had? He has nothing but veterans on his team, and he always has."
--Cubs manager Dusty Baker, on his purported preference for veterans (Chicago Sun-Times)

"The only thing about teaching at the big-league level is you can't teach them until they make a mistake."
--Baker

"You don't tell a guy about the cutoff man until he misses it. You assume they know that stuff when they get here."
--Baker

"That's the only thing about teaching at the big-league level is that they make mistakes here. At the minor-league level, if they make mistakes, it's going to be in the Des Moines Gazette. It's not in USA Today or on ESPN, showing you getting picked off."
--Baker

THERE IS NO SAFETY IN NUMBERS, OR IN ANYTHING ELSE

"All these numbers that people want to throw out there, and all this stuff that people want to try to bring into it doesn't mean a hill of beans. You know why? Because it's all done on the baseball field."
--Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on using run differentials to compute a team's Pythagorean record (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"The White Sox have gotten it done on the field--not with numbers, not with anything else. They've gotten it done with wins and losses. They've won their one-run games, and that's the one thing that we haven't done."
--Gardenhire

"Just take 10 of our one-run losses and flip those around. That's a big difference in the standings."
--Gardenhire

"I'm not worried about the numbers, you can throw them off the board. We're in first place and that's all that matters. I'm looking at what I can do from here forward. Even in my good years, I wasn't thinking about what's been done, I was thinking about what's ahead."
--Angels center fielder Steve Finley, who's hitting .217/.270/.362, on his struggles (San Bernardino Sun)

NOW I HAVE TWO OWIES

"I can deal with a 95-pound dumbbell crashing on my toe, but not with a foul ball."
--White Sox minor league outfielder Joe Borchard, on fouling balls off his foot (MLB.com)

"Say I throw a fastball down and in and the guy hits it off his foot. Hell, yeah, I'm going to go right back there again to see if he does it again. It's the only enjoyment sometimes we get out there. They kind of look out at you like, 'You SOB.'"
--former pitcher Bert Blyleven

"It is very painful, but you learn to take the pain, and get some treatment after the game, some ice. You don't really feel it until later that night. You get the trainer to put some stuff on it, give you some medicine to ease the pain. And you get back at it."
--White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, who broke his leg in 2001 after fouling a ball off it

"It really didn't do anything. It was just a time-killer. That's why it's out of vogue."
--White Sox trainer Herm Schneider, on the tubes of ethyl chloride that trainers used to spray players with

"I have the chance to be part of something pretty special or walk around in a sling--that's a big question. One question is: What's my best chance to win a ring as a St. Louis Cardinal. It might be not to play. That's not easy to say. That's not an easy decision--to say I can't help this team, that I can hurt this team but I can't help this team. So my best shot of helping win a World Series is not to play? That's not an easy decision to make."
--Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, who will have season-ending shoulder surgery (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SUCCESSMANSHIP

"Ninety-nine out of 100 times, I swing at that pitch and strike out or pop it up. I hit a pitch I had no business hitting. It wasn't even close to being a strike."
--White Sox catcher Chris Widger, on a head-high fastball from Randy Johnson he hit for a home run (MLB.com)

"We didn't doubt the things that have been working. You doubt your ability to do the things that make them work. The system was right and the way we played the game was right. We just weren't executing or playing the game well."
--Widger, on the White Sox' recent struggles

"[Esteban Loaiza] pitched me exactly the way he had pitched the other lefties. I hit it good. I had a good feeling about it. I was hoping it would stay up and it did. It was definitely a dream come true."
--Mets rookie Mike Jacobs, who hit a pinch-hit, three-run home run in his first major league at bat Sunday (New York Newsday)

"Now we've got a new leadoff man."
--Red Sox shortstop Edgar Renteria, after teammate David Ortiz took advantage of the extreme infield shift and bunted for a base hit against the Angels (Los Angeles Times)

"That was interesting. Watching him run to first base, it looked like he stole something. Those arms were swinging."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Ortiz' bunt

"He said, 'Way to set the table for the big boy.'"
--David Ortiz, on what Manny Ramirez said to him after homering immediately following the bunt

AND KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE

"I think it's pretty good. If I were the philosopher-king, I would make the sanctions somewhat stiffer somewhat earlier. I'm a little bitter about the sanction issue because I threw Steve Howe out of baseball after seven drug violations, and the (players') union claimed that he deserved another chance. Why is eight a better number than seven? It seems to me that after two, maybe three, you forfeit your right to play baseball. I would be tougher on the sanctions. I think baseball has made progress. I think the testing is working. The fact that it coughed up a prominent player like Palmeiro is impressive. I think baseball can feel good about what's happened, though the existence of the problem is an embarrassment to everybody."
--former commissioner Fay Vincent, on the toughness of the new steroid policy (Berkshire Eagle)

"I think it would be better, not only to know what they took, but to also know what their circumstances were. If I had my way, Barry Bonds would come clean and tell us exactly what he's been doing. It's the only way the public can really judge performance. I don't believe in asterisks, I don't believe Palmeiro should be kept out of the Hall of Fame. We don't know enough. The feat of hitting a ball is so sublimely difficult, I'm impressed that someone can hit 500 home runs and get 3,000 hits. Those are very tough hurdles to jump. On the other hand, if we knew more about what Bonds was doing, and what all these other guys have been taking, we'd know better about how to judge what they've been doing."
--Vincent, on whether or not we should know what a player took once he tests positive

"I'd look at them individually, but I do think that taking steroids ought not to disqualify you from the Hall of Fame. The reason is, it's too slippery a slope. In the old days, people drank coffee, Babe Ruth drank a lot of stuff. Did that help his performance? Most of them weren't illegal, but when Ruth was drinking booze, I think some of the time booze was illegal. It's just impossible to get records straight, (because) ballplayers played in the heat, there was no air conditioning, they traveled by train and circumstances were very different. Rogers Hornsby averaged .400 over a five-year period in the 20s. That is baseball's most remarkable achievement. Nobody even thinks about it any more. I think that exceeds hitting .400. I think it exceeds everything except maybe Cy Young's win record. Hornsby did it in an entirely different time. It's very hard to equate averaging .400 for five years with what goes on today."
--Vincent, on whether or not steroid usage should disqualify a player from the Hall of Fame

"I'm very consistent. (I've believed that) from the day we entered into the agreement with him that he bet on baseball. We knew he did. He lied for, what, 15 years, about it and called me all sorts of names, insulted everyone involved in the process and is a liar. There again, had he told the truth and told us exactly what he did and why, he would have been better off and baseball would have been better served. He should not be in the Hall of Fame. Shoeless Joe Jackson was probably a better hitter than Pete Rose. When you get thrown out of baseball for corruption, it seems to me you give up your right to be in the Hall of Fame. That's the capital crime of baseball."
--Vincent, on the status of Pete Rose

"Now it's a tough question. You say Pete Rose bet on baseball and these guys used steroids, what's the difference? The difference, I think, baseball has historically treated gambling as the single greatest threat--it almost killed baseball in the 20s. Drugs, whether it's cocaine, steroids, alcohol, all the other things are serious, but they're not treated the same in baseball. I respect that. I do think corruption, betting on baseball, distorting the results, is the ultimate threat to the game."
--Vincent

"If you are an owner and you do not own the television distribution facility--as the Red Sox own NESN, as the Yankees own YES, as the Braves own TBS--you have no economic viability. Ted Turner is the genius of sports. He understood it wasn't about the team, that's programming. What you have to own is the distribution vehicle, and he did it 30 years ago. Steinbrenner took 30 years to figure that out."
--Vincent

THE REST

"You're lucky. I had to wait five years to get up here."
--Atlanta rookie Blaine Boyer, to recent call-up Joey Devine, who is the first member of the 2005 draft class to reach the majors (MLB.com)

"If I'm going to get chased around the shower, it's going to be by my wife."
--Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on how he won't shower in the clubhouse with Johan Santana and Carlos Silva around (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"I feel like maybe I should do something good for the environment. Maybe I should do some work with underprivileged children. Anything to get some karma going."
--Brewers pitcher Doug Davis, who has failed in 11 consecutive tries to win his 10th game of the season, despite throwing nine quality starts in that time (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"We've made so many moves that you almost expect to have a new team when you get to the park."
--Rangers' first baseman Mark Teixeira, on the spate of recent roster moves (Star-Telegram)

"I'm so excited, and I can't even believe it. This has been a dream since I was 8 years old."
--Rancho Buena Vista Little Leaguer Nathan Lewis, after winning the Western Regional to clinch a berth in the Little League World Series (North County Times)

"The umpire absolutely, totally overreacted. That kid had the ball slip out of his hand. He didn't get here until 11:30 last night. He's not throwing at anybody. He's not throwing at Lew Ford. If you're going to throw at somebody, throw at Joe Mauer."
--Mariners manager Mike Hargrove, on rookie Clint Nageotte's ejection after throwing just one pitch on Sunday (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

John Erhardt is an editor of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

John Erhardt is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (08/19)
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The Week in Quotes: Au... (08/15)
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Premium Article Prospectus Today: Most... (08/22)

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