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March 27, 2006

The Week in Quotes

March 20-26

by John Erhardt and Paul Swydan

WELL WHAT IF THE YANKEES CAN'T HANDLE THIS, JOHNNY?

"I bought a house that I could not afford at the time, in Boston because they said, `We're going to keep you, we'll get something done real soon.' This was right after we won the World Series [in 2004]. Obviously, that never happened. After they didn't come to me during the [2005] season, my loyalty to them wasn't there anymore either. I felt the loyalty from them was gone."
--Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon, reacting to the Bronson Arroyo trade (Hartford Courant)

"The biggest thing that enticed me about the Yankees is knowing that Derek Jeter is going to be here five more years, [Alex Rodriguez] is going to be here five more years, Jorge Posada's going to be here. Bernie Williams is going to be here as long as he wants. I believe they're going to make a big effort to sign Gary Sheffield. Jason Giambi is here three more years. That core is something that enticed me a lot. The core in Boston, unfortunately, is coming to an end."
--Damon, on the Yankees' core

"They have their plans, and they have their computers, and they believe that's right. Unfortunately, computers don't judge a person's heart."
--Damon

"Getting along with the younger kids and helping them along, unfortunately, computers don't [evaluate] that. As important as I was to that team, Billy Mueller was just as important. Kevin Millar was just as important. Certain players have numbers that might be sexy, but what's lost is when you get a good core of guys, it goes under the radar."
--Damon

"DON'T KID YOURSELF, JIMMY. IF A COW EVER GOT THE CHANCE, HE'D EAT YOU AND EVERYONE YOU CARE ABOUT!"

"I said all along I'd rather pitch out of the pen here than start somewhere else. I still feel that way right now. But it's good knowing that I'll get 33-35 starts and not have to worry about being left out of the rotation. Still doesn't change the fact that I want to play in this uniform."
--new Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, on leaving Boston (Boston Globe)

"Probably when I turn on the TV and see the Red Sox playing, you know, and I'll be playing someplace else. You know, it's tough, man, but what are you going to do. All you can do is go pitch. I got three years until I'm a free agent so I'm going to pitch and see where you end up."
--Arroyo, on how long it will take until the trade sinks in

"The conversation almost exact was 'I'm not signing this deal to end up in Tampa Bay in two weeks.' And they said to me, 'There's no deal for you on the table right now and we don't foresee trading you in the near future.' Those were the exact words. Near future is relevant to whatever you think. Obviously, there was no guarantee. But in my mind, this is pretty soon. But um, you know, they told me there was no guarantee, and I knew that. But I figured it would probably be further down the road if that happened, pitching bad around the All-Star break or whatever. But it was a move they had to make now. I think they felt like you know, if I went into the bullpen they wouldn't be able to move me for a guy as good as Wily Mo or that I'd have as much value if was pitching out of the pen."
--Arroyo, on the conversation he had when he signed his deal in the offseason

"It's one of those scenarios you feel will never happen to you. Nobody thinks they're going to be the one, whatever, to get in a car wreck to have their, you know, their kids killed in a plane crash, whatever, you don't think those things are going to happen to you. And I didn't think that I'd be traded. So."
--Arroyo

"I hate hitting, I hate bunting, I hate learning the signs, I hate sliding. Getting yanked out of games when it's your at-bat and it's the sixth inning, second and third. But I've been there before. I'll go pitch for three years, become a free agent and see where I end up."
--Arroyo, on going back to the National League

"I'll probably end up hanging out with [Kevin] Youkilis' parents a lot."
--Arroyo, on what he'll do in Cincinnati

THERE'LL BE TIME ENOUGH FOR COUNTIN' WHEN THE DEALIN'S DONE

"What led me to this (decision) was the tremendous amount of pain that I just couldn't deal with anymore."
--Houston Astro Jeff Bagwell, on his decision to start the season on the disabled list, a decision that may lead to his retiring (Houston Chronicle)

"I said I wasn't going to embarrass myself... I felt like this was a joke."
--Bagwell, on his performance this spring

"I think that you can't measure his contributions to the organization. Obviously, in my opinion, he's a Hall of Famer for what he's done on the field. He's also a Hall of Famer for the impact that he has had off the field in the clubhouse."
--Fellow Astro Lance Berkman on Jeff Bagwell

"You've heard of re-insurance. There's a lot of other companies that are involved in it. So it's just something that we have to work through the process here. It will not be easy, because we made it more complicated in allowing him to do the playoffs (last season). I clearly said he earned the right to be in the playoffs, earned the right to be in the World Series. Remember he said how meaningful that was to him? I knew that, so we made it more complicated by that. We made it more complicated by allowing him to come to spring training, so we have to deal with that."
--Astros owner Drayton McLane, discussing the insurance policy on Jeff Bagwell

"I can't imagine what the Houston Astros would have been the past 15 years without Jeff Bagwell on this ballclub. He made the Houston Astros what they are today."
--Astros manager Phil Garner on Bagwell's impact (ESPN.com)

"We talked two or three days ago, and he talked about how he was letting people down. I said, 'Who do you think you're letting down? Your wife? Your kids? Me? Your teammates?' I said, 'No one has tried harder to do what you can do under difficult circumstances. So no one is going to feel you've let them down.' But Jeff talked about how the other infielders, when they were warming up before innings, had all moved to the inside of the grass so he wouldn't have to throw the ball so far across the infield. And he said, 'That's not what I want.' We've said all along that all Jeff wanted was a chance to show what he could or couldn't do -- on the field. He didn't want doctors or insurance companies to say that. He wanted that chance. And at least the Astros gave him that chance."
--Bagwell's agent Barry Axelrod on Bagwell's decision (ESPN.com)

EXPAND MY BRAIN, LEARNING JUICE!

"I think you'll know I'm telling the truth here: I was not a user. I was not a steroid guy. If you see me, I'm body by booze."
--former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace, on steroids (Chicago Sun-Times)

"It's not just Barry [Bonds]. There were a lot of guys doing it. I saw it with my own eyes. It was pitchers, it was catchers, it was outfielders, it was infielders. There was a lot of it going around. Shoot, looking back on it, I had it offered to me many times."
--Grace

"Those are the red-flag guys, the guys that just made the sudden big, big jumps. Guys that showed up at the beginning of their career at 170 pounds and left at the end of their career at 235 pounds. A body can't get that way naturally; it has to be enhanced with something. Sammy's just one of the guys of many that are red-flag guys. Do we have proof? Nope. But you certainly have suspicions."
--Grace, on the speculation that McGwire and Sosa used steroids

"There's a lot of guys that are not playing anymore, that are not even good players anymore, ever since they started testing for steroids. There's a lot of guys, just all of a sudden their recovery time is a little more than it used to be. And all of a sudden they're hitting those same balls they used to hit -- and it's not just Sammy; there's a lot of guys -- those balls that used to go in the second deck are being caught at the track."
--Grace, on Sosa and Palmeiro being out of the game

"I'm also a big believer in 'to each his own.' I don't worry about what the guy eats for dinner. I don't really worry about what his off-the-field relationships are. That's none of my business. If a guy wants to do it and if a guy is willing to pay the price later on in his life, then do it."
--Grace

"In a word, 'no.'"
--Grace, on whether he'd vote for Sosa for the Hall of Fame

"HE'S NOT AN IDIOT. HE'S A GENIUS. AND THAT'S AS FAR FROM IDIOT AS YOU CAN GET…WITHOUT REACHING MADNESS"

"If he refuses to play and he goes home, and the Commissioner accepts our request to place [him] on the disqualified list, he would not become a free agent."
--Nationals GM Jim Bowden, on Alfonso Soriano refusing to take the field to play left field (MLB.com)

"I think Alfonso thought it through and understood all the circumstances that were involved, as did the agent, Diego Bentz. At the end of the day, Alfonso wanted to do what was best for the team. It's not his preference to play left field, but he has decided to make a personal sacrifice to help this franchise put the best team on the field, and that's what he is doing."
--Bowden, on Soriano finally agreeing to play the outfield

"Obviously, if we knew what his position was, we would not have traded for him. We took a risk, and that's part of life. We didn't think it would play out this way. It's unfortunate that it did. But do we think we have a better lineup after the trade than before? Yes."
--Bowden

"I'm disappointed, because I not like people to think I'm the bad guy. If I'm the bad guy, it's okay that people think that. But now, I'm not a bad guy. They put me in a situation where I look like a bad guy, but everybody knows who put me in this situation."
--Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano, about the controversy surrounding his refusal to move from second base (Washington Post)

"Number one, you have to want to be there. You have to want to do it. That's number one. And I think if you do that and you're willing to work to get better, [you will]. I think he's a good enough athlete to be able to do it in time and be a pretty good outfielder."
--Nationals manager Frank Robinson

"Sometimes, I stand in the left field like [I'm not] playing. I don't know. A lot of people say that I'm going to hit much better because I don't have the pressure [of second base]. But I like that pressure, because that keeps me in the game."
--Soriano

THE REST

"Did Kris get the short end of the stick with the Mets? I think that he signed with the Mets in his free-agent year, and that's where he wanted to stay and then they traded him. But who knows? He's got an opportunity now to work with the No. 1 pitching coach in baseball. So did he get the short end of the stick? Not really."
--Anna Benson, on her husband Kris' trade to Baltimore, and getting to work with Leo Mazzone (New York Times)

"I have to improve by just working hard. Go to the cage and work, see a lot of video. I don't think about home runs. I told myself in winter ball, just make contact. If I make contact, I know it's going to be a homer."
--new Red Sox outfielder Wily Mo Pena (Boston Globe)

"He might end up being one of the greatest players to wear the pinstripes."
--ESPN announcer John Kruk, on the Yankees' Robinson Cano (ESPN)

"With two strikes, I'd swing at anything: in the dirt, up, everywhere."
--Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, on his hacktastic year in 2005 (New York Times)

"I think the guys aren't challenging the catchers as much today and putting pressure on teams and filling up the basepaths. It's so much into guys hitting home runs. You're getting all these power home runs, and it's eliminating the little guys from doing the running because they don't want to take the power out of the game."
New York Mets new Special Instructor Rickey Henderson on the state of base running in Major League Baseball (New York Times)

"He is a nerd, but a nice nerd. It's a good thing he was born to hit or he would have been the kid in grade school who gets his lunch money taken away from him every day."
--Reds first baseman Adam Dunn, on the departed Sean Casey (The Journal News)

"It was fun. It was a little more nerve-wracking than the NCAA selection bracket and who is getting in-with the runs scored, the runs scored against, the tie-breakers, the 14 innings. It was way too much math. You lose to this team, beat this team, but lose... ah, whatever."
--Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., on the complicated WBC advancing rules

"What does he have, 13 at-bats? I only have 10."
--Giants' prospect Derin McMains on why Barry Bonds has edged him out for the spring training HR lead. (San Francisco Chronicle)

If you have a quotation you'd like to submit, email John, and be sure to include the URL where you found it.

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

Related Content:  ESPN New York,  The Who

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Fantasy Article Fantasy Focus: NL Spri... (03/27)

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