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October 9, 2006

The Week in Quotes

October 1-8

by Alex Carnevale

HALL OF FAMER

"He brought the attention of a lot of people in this country to the Negro Leagues. He told us all how good they were and that they deserved to be recognized for what they did and their contributions, and the injustice that a lot of them had to endure because of the color of their skin."
--Frank Robinson on former Kansas City Monarchs first baseman Buck O'Neil, who died at the age of 94 (SportsIllustrated.com)

"Shed no tears for Buck. I couldn't attend Sarasota High School. That hurt. I couldn't attend the University of Florida. That hurt. But not going into the Hall of Fame, that ain't going to hurt me that much, no. Before, I wouldn't even have a chance. But this time I had that chance."
--O'Neil, after falling one vote short of the Hall of Fame.

"He was one of the pioneers of Negro League baseball, and he was one of the guys who never let it die. He was one of the guys that made sure that people knew of all the talent that was in that league. I was quite disappointed when he wasn't inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he made it possible for the ones who were inducted into the Hall of Fame."
--Oakland third base coach Ron Washington

START SPREADING THE NEWS

"I thought that we'd play better. I thought that we'd be competitive."
--Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on what he thought before the Divisional Series against the New York Yankees (The New York Times)

"I'm surprised more than disappointed."
--Yankees manager Joe Torre

WE'LL BITE-WHY ISN'T HE PLAYING, JOE?

"You found that A-Rod hitting eighth is more important than Giambi not playing. See, that's not fair. I think the first question should have been, why isn't Giambi playing?"
--Torre, to beat reporters before the game.

"GET LOU ON THE FREAKING PHONE!!!"

"I have never heard him angrier than he was last night."
--Daily News columnist and George Steinbrenner confidant Bill Madden (WFAN.com)

"I am deeply disappointed at our being eliminated so early in the playoffs. This result is absolutely not acceptable to me nor to our great and loyal Yankee fans. I want to congratulate the Detroit Tigers organization and wish them well. Rest assured, we will go back to work immediately and try to right this sad failure and provide a championship for the Yankees, as is our goal every year."
--the missive from the desk of George Steinbrenner, as relayed by spokesman Howard Rubinstein.

"Clearly he was upset."
--Howard Rubinstein, on his boss' demeanor.

CRYING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK

"We felt pretty good about ourselves. But again, that's something for [Cashman] and I and other people to talk about. But right now, it's just... it's just tough."
--Torre, "choking back tears" (New York Daily News)

"We talked a couple days ago about how great our offense was…and three days later, it was gone."
--Designated smiler Johnny Damon

"That's pretty drastic. Joe has been awesome. You never know what's going to happen, but I think Joe should be safe. For all he's done and had to put up with, he's been incredible."
--Johnny Damon, on rumors that his third manager in four years will give way to his fourth in five years.

"Why wouldn't they be back?"
--Yankees GM Brian Cashman, on manager Joe Torre and third baseman Alex Rodriguez

WE HAD GOD AND BUD SELIG ON OUR SIDE

"Maybe in some ways the good Lord was looking after us. It was probably a little bit of a bonus for us to only have to beat the Yankees three times instead of four."
--Tigers manager Jim Leyland (The New York Times)

"I can't tell you how many times the last two games that I've been on the field and every hair on my body has stood up because they're yelling and cheering so loud. That's a pretty good feeling, when you get that adrenaline rush and your hair stands up."
--Tigers 3B Brandon Inge

"Moments in your life are greater when they're shared. Today, we shared a great Tiger moment with 40,000 people in the stands, and I don't think they'll ever forget it."
--Tigers Closer Todd Jones

AL GORE AND I HAVE SPOKEN ON THE PHONE SEVERAL TIMES

"I'm committed to being part of the solution here. I believe that I am, and I'm committed to come back next year and do it again. I look at a guy like John Elway, and I find some inspiration there."
--Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez

"Plain and simple, they dominated us. It's not like we lost by one or two runs. They actually kicked our ass."
--Rodriguez, on the Tigers.

"Maybe the good Lord is saying it's not time for me. I'm not giving up. I have to look in the mirror and make adjustments. Whatever I'm doing in the last eight or nine games, I'm going to find the problem. When we do win, that's going to make it that more gratifying."
--Rodriguez (Boston Globe)

"I can't believe they're going to get rid of Torre. I figured they'd be trying to get rid of me and A-Rod first. It's hard for me to even fathom that somebody would want to trade A-Rod, but I don't see things getting any better for him. It's going to be very difficult for him to come back. Who knows what's going to happen with me."
--Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield, on an uncertain future (USA Today).

"I think that affected the morale and psyche of the entire team, not just A-Rod. I'm not making any excuses, but everyone was wondering what was going on. It made it a real weird day. You would like to be treated with a little respect, I don't care who you play for."
--Sheffield, on Torre's bumping of A-Rod to the 8 hole.

"We were worrying about all of that stuff, and we still had a game to play. If I'm on the other side, and all of a sudden they're putting Rodriguez eighth and putting me or Jason on the bench, you wonder what's going on. Those guys [the Tigers] were asking me about it. I think it boosted their morale. It gave them confidence they didn't have."
--Sheffield

"Jim Leyland took advantage of that. He can make you believe anything. He can put a fire under your belt like you never had before in your life. Not to make excuses, but we didn't have that."
--Sheffield

"NOTHING PROFITS MORE THAN SELF-ESTEEM, GROUNDED ON WHAT IS JUST AND RIGHT"

"It wasn't going to be part of my self-esteem, whether we got through the first round or not. I'm glad we're not in the division with the Minnesota Twins. I wouldn't want to play them in a seven- or nine-game series... The short series helped us out. That's why when you get a chance, you have to close it out. We've proved that winning two games gets you nowhere."
--A's general manager Billy Beane

"I do think experience helped us a little bit. There's been times where I've discounted that. I'll always take talent over experience. But I do think it had an impact on how we prepared for the games and how we flew back from Minnesota."
--Beane

"It was a very quiet plane. Everybody was disappointed because of Mark's broken finger. But they were very business-like. Of course, that's why we brought in Loaiza: to keep everybody in check."
--Beane

"BILLY-SCUTARO'S A BEAST AND NED COLLETTI LOOKS LIKE A MORON. THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. HUGS, PAUL"

"I'm sure he's e-mailed me by now. He has so many aspects to his name that don't get noticed until situations like this. He's been invaluable for us."
--Beane, on former AGM Paul DePodesta's acquisition of Utilityman Marco Scutaro

"When I heard everyone screaming my name, I just said to myself, 'Do not strike out, please. Just make some contact.' And I hit it on the line, and that's the greatest feeling ever."
--Scutaro

"He's good for ball. He's who we call our ringer. He comes up in a money situation, nobody expects it, and he comes through over and over again. Scut has been our undercover guy, our game-winner all year long."
--Barry Zito, on Scutaro

THESE GUYS TRULY SUCK AND I'M PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THEM

"Talent-wise this is one of the least talented teams I have ever been on and participated in the playoffs. But (it's) a bunch of hard-nosed baseball players who love to play the game of baseball, and it's really showed."
--Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez, 28, who hit .241/.351/.435 in 136 games this year (Contra Costal Times)

"Listen, the 2001 team was as good as any team since 1989. We didn't get out of the first round, but that doesn't change the fact that they were an incredibly talented, dynamic group. That said, sometimes that doesn't get you deep in the postseason. Then again, we're still not deep in the postseason."
--Beane

"Inside I am dying at critics and I am having a good laugh inside, but the ultimate goal here is World Series. There is a long way to go, and like I said, in the back of my mind, if we end up short next series, that's probably going to be a worse feeling than all four of the other ones put together."
--Chavez

SOMEBODY'S BEEN WATCHING 'GOOD EATS'

"His style is very similar to the power lefties, like a Randy Johnson and those type of guys. It appeared that he was trying to pitch more like a Tommy Glavine. That's not his style. Everybody has his own style. The ingredients were always there and he just wasn't using those ingredients to make a gourmet recipe that's an Oliver Pérez recipe. He was using other ingredients to make a different recipe."
--Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, on starting pitcher Oliver Perez

"He came here with the same physical attributes that he had a couple years ago; his stuff is relatively the same. He came here with a different style of pitching. He's an Indy 500 car and he was driving a Toyota Camry. He was trying to pitch unlike his style."
--Peterson

THE POWER OF AN IDEA

"He didn't swing the bat good today, but we hope he can swing the bat better tomorrow. He's been productive. We've got to keep believing he's going to be productive."
--Cards hitting coach Hal McRae, on Cardinals 3B Scott Rolen

"You saw how it looked in September. I'm struggling right now."
--Rolen, talking about his injured shoulder. Rolen raked .296/.369/.518 with 48 doubles this season.

"I do think we've stressed so many times to the whole club that that's not the smartest way to go about it. I think you want to have players be straightforward about how they feel."
--Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, on his disappointment regarding Rolen's behavior.

"What's going to be clear to me tomorrow is what's clear today: For him to come forward finally, I don't see that it's going to get better by tomorrow. But it may get better in three days especially if there's something that can be done to alleviate the situation."
--La Russa

I DO NOT THINK THAT WORD MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS

"They had fortune on their side. I think we played better baseball, they just had more luck. We had 16 hits and, what, five runs? You shake your head and wonder why."
--Jeff Kent, the 38-year-old Dodgers second baseman, who hit .292/.385/.477 in 115 games this season.

"We had veterans step up and have great years, we had rookies step up and win jobs. We've gotten all that and won at the same time. You can be hard on the team right now, but the future is bright."
--Kent

"Now that we've got a taste of it again, we need to take it up a notch. We can't just be happy to play in the postseason, we have to expect to win in the postseason."
--Dodgers owner Frank McCourt

IT'S GREAT TO FINALLY BE IN A PLACE WHERE BAD MANAGING IS GIVEN THE CREDIT IT DESERVES

"I'd like us to pick up two things. I'd like to get a starting pitcher to take us deeper into games. And I'd like to get a bomber."
--Dodgers manager Grady Little

IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME

"We certainly meant no disrespect to Barry Bonds. He has been a great player for the Giants and a huge part of the success of our franchise. I think everyone knows I've been the one who's been about the most in his corner, through all the ups and downs. But I think we have to look at the facts now. We've had two straight seasons under .500 and our team got too old. We're going to go in a new direction. That doesn't mean we don't have interest in signing Barry Bonds, nor does it mean we'll have all this sorted out quickly."
--Peter Magowan, Giants owner

"For the last 14 years Barry has performed hard and supremely well for the San Francisco Giants organization, and those comments from Peter Magowan were hurtful and showed a total lack of recognition for the most dedicated and productive employee in the history of the franchise."
--Bonds' longtime agent Jeff Borris (SI.com)

"These comments were a little bit below the belt. I was surprised they'd fire a bullet like that our way."
--Borris

"This is a guy for whom a statue should be erected and a street named after him. That would be more befitting a player of his stature."
--Borris

"I saw where Peter Magowan said some nasty things. He wants me to take a pay cut. Well, that's OK. I don't have to play baseball anymore, brother. I'll be glad to stay home. I'm free. I feel very free."
--Giants LF Barry Bonds

NO. 1 ON A LONG, LONG LIST

"The fact the Giants have 11 free agents concerns Barry. The No. 1 agenda for Barry Bonds is not Hank Aaron's home-run record. The No. 1 agenda is putting a World Series ring on his finger. So the Giants having 11 free agents concerns him. He's concerned with the composition of the team, as he would any team he might sign with."
--Borris

"The numbers don't lie. Anybody who tries to make the claim that Barry doesn't portray the athleticism and ability to play defense is wrong. Because the numbers don't lie."
--Borris

"That's a possible scenario we wouldn't rule out."
--Borris, on Bonds possibly going to the Dodgers

THE REST

"Among the position players on our club, the single most important player to our success next year is Jhonny Peralta. I'm counting on him to be a better defender than he was this year. I'm not counting on him being any better than he was the previous year; he was a big part of a 93-win team in 2005. His inconsistent play was a contributor to a 78-win team that was a disappointment this year."
--Indians GM Mark Shapiro (Boston Globe)

"I know everybody's waiting for the home run. But he's a human being. I want Albert on any given day, any time, and in every at-bat."
--Cardinals second baseman Ron Belliard, on his teammate Albert Pujols

"I think they kept us up to date with the weather forecast, we had our own--the Internet is everywhere--you just draw up and put the radar map up and you see what's coming and it's still coming and there's two more waves coming. Although, yes, we were being updated, we saw it ourselves, the players saw it. I'm sure their players saw it. That's the way the clubhouses are set up nowadays, home and visiting, you have the radars in there and the big glob, we've all become somewhat amateur weather people but clearly [MLB's] contact is with the experts and they had multiple ones they rely on, as do we, when we're making the decision, I think the right call was made tonight."
--Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, talking about Wednesday night's rainout in fluent Stengelese (MLB.com)

"Everybody was saying he was washed up. Why? Why do you think we were trying to get him? He wasn't washed up. He had a foot problem. Now he's healthy and you see what he can do. It's scary. That's why they call him Big Hurt. He'll hurt you. And he's big, too."
--Twins CF Torii Hunter, on A's DH Frank Thomas (ESPN.com)

"Nobody goes up there trying to make an out. If you think the Yankees go up to the plate and want to make outs--you're dead wrong."
--Yankees' radio play-by-play man John Sterling, clearing up a common misconception during the Yankees' 8-3 loss to the Tigers.

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here or click here to see his Football Outsiders work.

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