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October 3, 2005

The Week in Quotes

September 26-October 2

by John Erhardt

IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR JOB, YOU DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT IT. YOU JUST GO IN THERE AND DO IT REALLY HALF-ASSED. THAT'S THE AMERICAN WAY!

"We play scared. We manage scared. We coach scared."
--Marlins pitcher A.J. Burnett, on the Marlins (Miami Herald)

"I'm sick of it, man. It's depressing around here. Guys are out there busting their [butt]. And yet you still hear negativity. I ain't saying no names. There's just too much negativity."
--Burnett

"Everybody has to be held accountable. I do. The coaches do."
--Marlins manager Jack McKeon, responding to Burnett's comments

"Sometimes you've got to look in the mirror. We certainly don't pitch, me and the coaches."
--McKeon

"It's a 3-0 ball game, and I give up one run and leave guys on base and it's like they expect us to mess up. And then when we do, they chew your ass out. There's no positive nothing around here for anybody. I give up a home run, and it's a funeral."
--Burnett

"It's just a waste. A positive pat on the back is better than anything. And I haven't seen a positive pat on the back since April. I've got one more start here. That's all that matters."
--Burnett

"He said some things, and now he's paying for it. We all sail on the same ship, and A.J. chose to jump off."
--Marlins pinch hitter Lenny Harris, on Burnett

"In the best interests of the team and A.J., he was advised to leave the team. He has done so. This issue is closed. It's done."
--Marlins GM Larry Beinfest

"Although the 2005 season has been a disappointment to myself and our entire organization, it's my belief that every player on this club was totally and completely committed to bringing a world championship back to South Florida."
--Burnett, in a statement released after he was asked to leave the team (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

"I have always been a very passionate player and person. I often wear my emotions on my sleeve, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I hope that my teammates always respect that of me, as I trust they know my commitment to winning."
--Burnett

SUCCESS IS THE ONE UNPARDONABLE SIN AGAINST OUR FELLOWS

"Best feeling I've ever had. Awesome. Incredible."
--Atlanta rookie Jeff Francoeur, on clinching the NL East (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

"No way you could predict what happened with this team. I don't think people realize what an unbelievable accomplishment this is. This truly is a dream team."
--Braves pitcher John Smoltz

"It's like which of your children do you love most. They're all satisfying. This one is special. It's joyful, it's energetic, it's smiles - it's a lot more enthusiasm and jumping around than we've had some years."
--Braves GM John Schuerholz, when asked to pick the most special division win

"No one will ever do it again - ever. And this year - so many people doubted it. ... I didn't think we could get it done in May."
--Smoltz, on the streak of consecutive division wins

"This is unbelievable. This is twice as much [a celebration] as last year. I just can't explain what this means, with all the team members, all the rookies, guys who came out of Double-A and contributed. All the credit goes to [manager] Bobby Cox. He's the best in the business. If this doesn't prove it, nothing will."
--Braves catcher Johnny Estrada

"I honestly feel like my career might have been shortened the last four years if we had been playing for nothing."
--Smoltz

"SON, THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I'M GOING TO SAY THIS. IT IS NOT OK TO LOSE."

"Most of these guys have never been in this situation, but I have. And I have to lead them. You might want to go to your room, call your mom and cry. But when you come to the ballpark and put on the uniform, you have to be a man. I have 30 men to lead."
--White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a few days before his team clinched the AL Central (Chicago Sun-Times)

"To be here right now doing this [celebrating] with these guys, it's amazing. We stuck together and talked about team chemistry when we were winning early on in the year, and everybody said, 'Yeah, well, it's easy when you're winning.' But when you're losing and everybody in the papers is doubting you and all that, everybody still stuck together. And that showed the character of this team."
--White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand

"I was nervous when the lead was 15, that would be an affirmative, yeah. What are you going to do? Are you going to crawl into a hole and are you going to die, or are you going to come out fighting? One of the reasons we picked each one of these guys on this team is we wanted a bunch of fighters. We wanted guys who could be resilient and had been resilient to criticism or doubts throughout the course of their whole career."
--White Sox GM Ken Williams

"The team as a whole throughout the course of the year, up until today -- and you know what, tomorrow, too -- it will continue that we will be doubted for various reasons. But it should be a team that people enjoy more. They go about it the right way, and they really care."
--Williams

"What it celebrates is old-fashioned baseball. We didn't try to reinvent the game when we set out to put this team together. What we wanted to do was basically go back to what has worked in baseball history and stand firm on those fundamentals: Catch the ball, pitch the ball and give yourself a chance to be in and win every ballgame."
--Williams

"Even if we're in Game 7 of the World Series with a 10-0 lead there are still going to be people who say, 'They will never win it.'"
--Williams

"I think people will look at us and say, 'They're lucky to be there.' I don't think people will look at the 96 wins. I couldn't care less what people on the outside think. I care about what my players think."
--Guillen, on the disrespect shown to the White Sox this year

"We should have that respect. But until you win the World Series, you'll just be another team in baseball."
--Guillen

IT HURTS TO SET YOU FREE

"I would get a late jump on a ball and be able to overcome that by running. Now I can't get to it."
--Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams, on aging (New York Times)

"I compare it to a new car. When you get a new car, the power windows go up quick--it's quicker and you get more response. And then when it gets older, little things start to break. Things fall off. Our bodies are machines. You have to be pragmatic. You have to be realistic."
--Mets catcher Mike Piazza,

"There are some things that you notice, and some things that you really need to be presented with to really notice them. Like maybe hitting a ground ball to third base, a chopper or something like that, something that you might beat out when you were younger. Maybe it takes you a little bit longer to get to first base. That half-step might not be there. I think there is a period of time when you get frustrated because your body doesn't react the way you want it to for a while."
--Williams

"I used to get angry at my body when I was younger, when it was supposed to respond to every command, but now I don't."
--Williams

"I just realize that it doesn't do me any good. You risk injury, you risk all kinds of situations that might take you away from playing the game even more time. Right now, if something doesn't happen the way I want to, I just say: 'Well, there's not too many tomorrows left. I'm just going to make the best out of it right now.'"
--Williams

"Everyone is asking: 'How are your knees? How are your knees?' And I'm thinking, 'My back! I can't even tie my shoes sometimes in the morning!' "
--Piazza

"When you're 25, you can eat hamburgers and pizza and drink beer and stay out all night and come out the next day and drink a couple cups of coffee and just play. If I did that today, my heart would stop and I'd need a stretcher and an IV. I started kind of noticing that in my early 30's, and now that I'm in my mid-to-late 30's, it's even that much more."
--Piazza

"I'm not O.K. with not producing, but you do have to go: 'Wait a minute, let's be real here. You are who you are. Embrace it. Maybe what I lack in pure motor response of what I had 10 years ago, I feel like I bring a lot of other different things.' It is what it is. It's not a bad thing. Everyone knows it, everyone times you, scouts know. It's not a big mystery."
--Piazza

"I'm very much at peace with who I am and where I am. I've caught a lot of games. Physically, it has taken a toll on me, but I still feel I can be somewhat productive. I'm actually looking forward to being a role player."
--Piazza

"I am looking for a little bit more. I still feel like I can squeeze the lemon a little bit more."
--Piazza, on whether this is the end or not

"ATTITUDES ARE CONTAGIOUS. IS YOURS WORTH CATCHING?"

"They're there to boo. They're not there to support. All they do is boo us. They can't wait for us to do something so they can boo."
--Phillies closer Billy Wagner, on Philly fans (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"I'd love to get there and see them be supportive. It would be huge for our team. It's hard for [the opponent] to play when the fans are on your side."
--Wagner

"But it hasn't been like that in the two years I've been here. We've got a team in a playoff race. We've got a guy with a 30-game hitting streak. We've played our tails off. I hope they come out."
--Wagner

"The Eagles played today. Hopefully the fans will get that out of their system and come on out."
--Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, on why Philly fans haven't been coming to the ballpark

THE REST

"You always want to deliver meaningful home runs. It looked like we were going to deliver the knockout punch, but in true White Sox fashion, we kind of made it a close game."
--White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, on clinching the AL Central with a 4-2 win against the Tigers (MLB.com)

"They ask, 'How come you don't hit-and-run much?' You've got to manage to the personnel. We have some swing-and-miss guys. You don't hit-and-run with swing-and-miss guys, and you don't steal with guys that can't run."
--Cubs manager Dusty Baker (Chicago Tribune)

"Just don't ask me what I'm going to improve on. Because I ain't going to tell you."
--Baker

"I had a lot of easy opportunities with runners in scoring position and I kind of wet the bed."
--Marlins first baseman Carlos Delgado, on how he could have done more to further the team this season (Miami Herald)

"Our organization isn't broken. I don't think we need to get too much into the philosophy about what goes on at [rookie-level] Elizabethton, just because we're having trouble scoring runs in Minnesota."
--Twins GM Terry Ryan, on not panicking after many young Twins struggled to hit this year (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"I just hope the competitiveness will be in favor of us next year. I'm not fond of finishing in fifth place."
--Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney, on the changing of the guard in the AL Central

"What else do you want? He wins 10 games and then gives you the final score, too."
--Yankees manager Joe Torre, on how pitcher Aaron Small relayed the White Sox-Indians score to the dugout during Saturday's win over Boston (New York Newsday)

"Last week, everybody was talking about how Cleveland was going to kick our butts, and they did. I'm not going to say it's a great feeling because I respect the manager and I respect the players there. But I played here in the '90s and it was [tough], and I [manage] here right now and they made my summer not too happy."
--White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, after beating the Indians on Sunday (Chicago Sun-Times)

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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