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February 12, 2007

The Week in Quotes

February 5-12

by Alex Carnevale

HE JUST PLAYS 'CARELESS WHISPER' AGAIN AND AGAIN…HE'S INCONSOLABLE

"I heard somewhere that they had invited me to spring training, I guess."
--former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams (Peter Botte, New York Daily News)

"The option to go to spring training to see what would happen, I don't think at this moment is something I want to consider. ...I'm working out, but I think the way it looks right now, it doesn't seem like I'm going to be playing with that team this year."
--Williams

"It's just a part of the game. They have a responsibility to make decisions for the benefit of the club. And I guess in their mind they have their way of thinking."
--Williams

"I have to do what's best for me and my family. And they have a responsibility to the fans to do the best they think for the team. . . . I think I know what they have on their minds, based on the way they have handled this situation."
--Williams

"I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR I DON'T COMMENT ON CHILDREN'S BOOKS IN OTHER ORGANIZATIONS."

"I think there are people in this organization that people are anxious to go in with and see what they've got. Those will be the more interesting stories -- who Alberto Gonzalez is, who Ross Ohlendorf is, Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan, people like that; the new guys."
--Yankees GM Brian Cashman

"I am an employee. If Joe says take out the garbage, I take out the garbage."
--Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, signing his kids' book, Out of the Ballpark.

"There's no questions asked and no attitude. ... I'm very old school when it comes to that. I've never been a person to question authority."
--A-Rod

THE LAST THREE YEARS HAVE BEEN KIND OF A BLUR, GIVE HIM A BREAK

"Here's what bothers me. You get M.L.B. and DirecTV marshaling their forces to go out and make money while cutting out fans. In my judgment, more fans watching games strengthens baseball."
--U.S. Senator John Kerry, on MLB moving the Extra Innings package to DirecTV.

"There's a whole movement toward fans being screwed by consolidation which raises prices and reduces options."
--Kerry

"The F.C.C. doesn't have the right to say, 'You can't do this,' but they have levers that affect this business."
--Kerry

"Since I found out about the baseball deal, I've asked my antitrust people to do research to confirm my preliminary judgment that it's an antitrust violation. But I don't think I'll be able to stop it."
--U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (Richard Sandomir, New York Times)

WELCOME MY SON. WELCOME TO THE MACHINE

"In our database, we can compare - if I was to say to you, I want to compare Babe Ruth to Ty Cobb to Matt Holliday, I could have that information for you in a matter of probably two minutes. Our database goes back to 1871."
--agent Scott Boras (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)

"I did a radio interview today with a punk kid. He's really a young man, he tried to come after me about the fact that Jeff Weaver was signing a contract with Seattle and that he didn't sign with St. Louis. I said, 'The Cardinals made a judgment about the guy, that they felt he wasn't worth it, and there were four or five other teams who felt he was worth a great deal more, what's new about that?' 'Well, Jeff is all about the money.' Why isn't it that the St. Louis owner isn't all about the money? Their franchise increased by triple-fold, and fact is Jeff Weaver, with his last 16 starts with team, he had about a 3.70 ERA and won huge games for him. This is no different than Derek Lowe (in 2004). Derek Lowe had that kind of year, he had a high ERA, he came out of it and pitched great in postseason, the last part of the season, he did well."
--Boras

"To have that disposal of all this and house that in a building where it's comfortable -- the demands on these people, they are here 17, 18 hours a day. We feed them breakfast, lunch and dinner so they don't have to worry about packing anything. We try to do everything in their lives to make it palatable…This job is a joy."
--Boras, on his employees.

THE SCOTT BORAS EDITION OF CRIBS WOULD BE AT LEAST TV-14

"Prince Fielder is one of our clients. He came here and gave me one of the biggest compliments he could give about the building. He said, 'I feel like I'm in the locker room,' because he was in the kitchen. I said, 'Exactly.'"
--Boras

"I kept on telling Jason, 'You're special, you are a leader, you are someone who has that sense of commitment.' This man could not catch. And he took a racquetball, a thousand a day, to improve his hands, he was so driven. I'm sitting there at the draft and I couldn't get anybody to pay him what I knew was his value. I said [to Varitek], 'Do you want to fight the battle?' And, [he said], 'Of course.'"
--Boras, on his longtime client Jason Varitek.

"A law professor of mine, who wrote 12 books on the subject of labor law, a very bright guy, said to me, 'I'm watching what you do here, you're going to be very good at what you do, so remember this -- if you're really good at what you do as a lawyer, 90 percent of what's said about you will be negative.' And you know what, that's just about right, just about right."
--Boras

WE HOPE TO HAVE OUR TIME TRAVEL DEVICE OPERATIONAL BY THE END OF THE MONTH. JUST PART OF WHAT WE PROVIDE OUR CLIENTS

"Unfortunately Abraham Lincoln never visited Japan and its baseball system. We've got to make sure there's a process that's brought about that's respectful of the Japanese system. In the Japanese system, there's never been an advocate that really did anything that related to player rights. It was really just club rights. It remains that way."
--Boras

"For me, the contract that speaks the loudest about this isn't Dice-K's, it's [Yankees pitcher Kei] Igawa's contract. I do not understand how a player can receive less than the posting fee. When that happened, that just said that there's something very, very wrong with this system because the player really has to receive his right's value because it's his life, it's his talent."
--Boras

"When the club receives more than the player, you know it's a system that will end up disserving everyone."
--Boras

SPEAKING OF JAPANESE PITCHERS, MY BEST FRIEND HAPPENS TO BE ONE

"A player like Dice-K coming here, we really gave him counsel about what he needs to do to get acclimated, which is a huge part of this. Our goal is we want a Japanese pitcher to come here and spend 15 years in this league. Most of them come here and are successful for two, three years and are hurt. We believe that is a challenge, a big hurdle to overcome because the model is not good. About 10 pitchers have come here, it's just not good. They've been good for a short period of time and they're done."
--agent Scott Boras, on Matsuzaka

"It's a testament to his delivery that he didn't blow out after that game. You put that on a lot of guys and it's the end or the beginning of the end."
--Red Sox vice president for international scouting Craig Shipley, on Matsuzaka's 17-inning complete game in Japan.

"Some people think it's a worthwhile price to pay. It's like the life of the cherry blossom, short but glorious."
--Japanese baseball writer Robert Whiting, on performances like Matsuzaka's.

"Manager Motonori Watanabe expected me to throw from beginning to end."
--Red Sox hurler Daisuke Matsuzaka, on that game (Jack Curry, New York Times)

"I think John Henry is doing a heck of a job for them. They certainly have spent a lot of money to bring a ball club there. A hundred and three million is a lot of money. [Daisuke Matsuzaka] is going to have to win an awful lot of ballgames to earn that kind of money…I wish they had done something last year at the trading deadline."
--Dominic DiMaggio, 90, on the Red Sox. (Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe)

R.I.P. HANK BAUER

"He pinned me to the wall of the dugout one day and said, 'Don't mess with my money.'"
--former Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford, on what Hank Bauer told him after Bauer thought he was fooling around too much. Bauer was a .277/.346/.439 career hitter in the bigs.

"He was tough. Thank God he wasn't mean."
--former Yankees hurler Don Larsen, on Bauer.

"My first year with the Yankees in 1954 we won 103 games and lost the pennant. And Hank would say I was a jinx. I said, 'I hit .340, what do you want me to do?'"
--former Yankee OF Bill Skowron, who was a .282/.332/.459 career hitter. Skowron and Bauer became best friends on the memorabilia circuit.

"I hit .300 three years in a row and never got a raise. They said, 'You don't want to play, stay home.' I had to pay bills. You know I made half a million dollars in 17 years and I was in 8 World Series."
--"Moose" Skowron (Mike and the Mad Dog, WFAN.com)

PERHAPS THEY CAN EXPLAIN HOW MUCH MONEY THEY MADE WHILE PAYING HIM $472,000 LAST YEAR

"We have tried to contact him and we were told he couldn't be here for personal reasons or whatever the case was. Hopefully, when we see him, he will explain to us and the fans why he wasn't."
--team president David Samson, on Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera not attending the team's FanFest.

"It's very disappointing. [Owner Jeffrey Loria] and the rest of us are very disappointed that he's not here with every one of his teammates. All the players are here except Miguel."
--Samson

''We're being fair. It's a lot of money either way. There's no ill feelings on our end. The player has his rights."
--Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, on the arbitration process. The two sides are $700,000 apart. (Barry Jackson, Miami Herald)

YOUR MATH IS UNASSAILABLE, SIR

"I look at Dunn and Burrell and I go, 'My God, if these guys cut their strikeouts down to 75 or 80, they put the ball in play 85 or 90 more times a year.' That's at least 15 more home runs a year and at least 35 more RBIs a year."
--former Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt, he of the 1883 career strikeouts.

"[They] tick me off. Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn, because they strike out so much."
--Mike Schmidt

"Now I know that if I had choked up on the bat with two strikes and hadn't been so aggressive and gave in to the pitcher, I wouldn't have struck out so much. And that's what guys like Dunn and Burrell have to realize."
--Schmidt

"How do I know this? Because when I played, pitchers wanted me up there with the game on the line. They'd rather face me than a guy behind me like Greg Luzinski, who would put the ball in play."
--Schmidt. Luzinski recorded 1495 strikeouts in his major league career.

"I mean, why would Dunn and Burrell watch what Pujols does and not want to be like him, as good as he is? When their careers are over, they are going to wonder how much they left on the table, how much they left on the field. If only they had choked up with two strikes, spread their stances out. What they are doing now is not great, it is mediocrity."
--Schmidt (Hal McCoy, Cox News Service)

THE REST

"I view all of these individuals, if they've got talent, as long-term assets. You've got to treat them as such, make sure you're careful. You try not to have anything come at the expense of the long-term asset for short-term gains."
--Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on his farm system.

"You have to be careful about rushing players to the big leagues, bringing 'em up too early, having their first failure occur at the major-league level as opposed to somewhere in the minor leagues."
--Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky (FoxSports.com)

"He was the most unconventional hitter I ever faced."
--former Yankees pitcher David Cone on Vladimir Guerrero. (Mike and the Mad Dog, WFAN)

"If I don't hear about it, I think about it more than once a day myself. It's hard to believe it happened. I didn't know it was a perfect game until somebody told me in the clubhouse."
--Don Larsen, about his World Series perfect game.

"That'd have been a home run in any park today…I saw Mickey run, he could run like a deer. I said, 'I was safe again.'"
--Don Larsen, on a ball hit by Gil Hodges in his World Series perfect game, caught by Mantle.

"You know how much I love John, and John and I have been friends for almost 30 years. I have the world of respect for John. He has his views. I think I know what he means by saying, 'In this city in particular, something like this can't be viewed outside of that prism.' I understand that feeling. But I'm glad he made it very clear that he didn't think the motivation was racist. I'm glad John came to my defense if anyone had a different view."
--Nationals president Stan Kasten, on John Thompson's comments that Frank Robinson's dismissal was racially motivated, but that Stan himself was not a racist.

"I think it's the biggest scandal since the Black Sox scandal…they don't get that way eating Wheaties or cheeseburgers."
--former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent, on the steroids scandal. (WFAN.com)

"We asked him a few extra questions as a little extra test. He knew everything."
--Chester Moyer, official who administered Albert Pujols' citizenship test. Originally born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the greatest hitter on the planet is now a U.S. citizen.

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here. You can also find his Football Outsiders work here.

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