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April 23, 2007

The Week in Quotes

April 16-23

by Alex Carnevale

WERE THERE OTHER GAMES BEING PLAYED THIS WEEKEND?

"You don't want to get caught up too much in the whole Yankees-Red Sox thing; it's all you see on ESPN when you watch it. I try not to worry about it too much."
--Yankees starting pitcher Jeff Karstens, who came off the DL to face the Red Sox on Saturday. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

"I enjoyed it. I was as nervous in that game as I can ever remember. And I wanted so badly for Okajima-san to come out and get a save like that. That was fun."
--Red Sox owner John Henry, on Friday's win.

"We had Masai [assistant trainer Masai Takahashi] write some things down on a card. Like, 'This guy is a pretty good hitter.'"
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on preparing for Alex Rodriguez, and what was written on a card they were preparing to send out with pitching coach John Farrell to Hideki Okajima.

IN HINDSIGHT, JOE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE SIGNED UP FOR A WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S

"He should be my biggest concern this year. This is just one of those unpredictable things that you know won't come true."
--Yankees skipper Joe Torre, on the struggles of Mariano Rivera.

"They hit good pitches. You have to give them credit."
--Mariano Rivera, on Friday's blown save.

"It's the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. We don't sit up at night to see who they're pitching."
--Torre

"Oh, yeah, I lied. What can I tell you? I didn't plan on lying, but I lied. It was just the atmosphere of that eighth inning, and the way it was developing. I felt I had to go for it there and let the ninth inning take care of itself."
--Torre, on his malicious deceit regarding whether or not he would bring Mariano Rivera into the ballgame earlier than the 9th inning on Friday. (John Harper, New York Daily News)

FINALLY, SOME GRACE FROM THE GUY WHOSE RECORD IS ABOUT TO BE BROKEN

"It's [expletive] outstanding. I'm never surprised at what a great athlete can do, and he is a great athlete. He's got a whole different look about him now. You can see it in his eyes, even on TV."
--Giants outfielder Barry Bonds, whose April high is 11 homers, on Alex Rodriguez's 12 in the first 15 games. (Nick Peters, Sacramento Bee)

"I can't relate because I can't do it."
--Derek Jeter, on the way A-Rod is hitting. Rodriguez was batting .379/.434/1.030 going into Sunday night's game.

"I hope he hits a hundred. With A-Rod's ability and talent, he has a chance to do anything he wants to do, anything he has a mind to do."
--Bonds, on A-Rod threatening his single-season record of 73. (Nick Peters, Sacramento Bee)

THOSE LONG NIGHTS WITH A LINEUP CARD UNTIL IT JUST FEELS RIGHT

"I've been telling you guys all along you make too big a deal about lineups. Sometimes I look at it and it feels right and I just do it. Anytime you've got good hitters, it doesn't really matter where you put them."
--Willie Randolph (Steve Popper, NorthJersey.com)

"Sooner than later we'll settle on set lineups. I'm not going to be switching around all summer, I'll tell you that."
--Lou Piniella, the manager of the Chicago Cubs. (Dave Van Dyck, Chicago Tribune)

"Look, the bottom line is to find lineups that are winning, and we'll stay with those. The lineup that helps us win more consistently against lefties and righties is the one we'll go with."
--Piniella

HAT TRICK

"It was one of the most exciting things I've ever had happen. Just the way the inning was going--no outs and having to bear down--having that play just come out of nowhere was very helpful and so exciting at the same point, because I [figure] I won't have another one of those anytime soon."
--Cole Hamels, on the triple play the Phillies turned during his complete game, 15 K effort on Saturday.

"It saved me probably about 10 to 15 pitches, and I wouldn't have been able to go out in the ninth inning [without it]."
--Hamels. He threw 115 pitches. (Brian Connors Manke, MLB.com)

"The joy of being out there [made a difference], just because it's baseball weather."
--Cole Hamels

WE SHALL CALL THIS MANNY NOT BEING MANNY

"This guy calls me up at least five times a week just to say hello. He calls me up for Thanksgiving. Knows my wife's Jewish-he called her up for Hanukkah. Around Christmas, I said, 'You gain any weight?' He says, 'Yeah, a few pounds. Why don't you come and run with me?' He wants me to go down to his mother's house and eat dinner when I go down to Florida. I mean, that's the kind of guy he is. Manny would love just to come here and sit. He'd hang out with my group."
--New Jersey-based Cadillac dealer Tony Averso, on Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez.

"We were in Kansas City. I reached into my pocket, and I'm, like, 'I don't have that much.' Manny says, 'How about thirty thousand?' Each of them wanted to buy a Harley."
--reporter Sheldon Ocker

"I said, 'Manny, let me ask you something. I was just wondering why you get back in the batter's box after ball four.' He said, 'I don't keep track of the balls.' He said, 'I don't keep track of the strikes, either, until I got two.' Then he said, 'Duke, I'm up there looking for a pitch I can hit. If I don't get it, I wait for the umpire to tell me to go to first. Isn't that what you're paying me to do?'"
--Dan Duquette, former Red Sox GM.

"I'm looking for a '62 or a '63 Lincoln convertible, because the one that I have now is a '67, and the '67 is too long. If I could find a '63, it would be nice, because, you know, that's the historical Kennedy car. I've been looking for one for seven months already. I can't find nothing. Everybody seems to like, you know, classic cars. Sometimes you just want to go and have one."
--Manny Ramirez

"What happened to her was that they found, like, a lot of bad blood behind her stomach. So now they're giving her some pills so they could thin the blood."
---Manny, on the health of his mother.

"For me it's hard, because I'm just focused, you know, on having good years. And after the game I like to go to my hotel. I'm not twenty-five years old anymore. I'm not a boy. I take my time and get to bed."
--Manny, who lives at the Ritz Carlton in Boston during the season. (Ben McGrath, The New Yorker)

WE SMELL A JOHN GRISHAM PAGE-TURNER WITH BURT REYNOLDS AS WALLY IN THE FILM ADAPTATION

"Could I go to court over it? Sure I could go to court over it. But the reason I didn't do that is because I didn't want to get myself blackballed out of the game."
--Briefly hired Diamondbacks manager Wally Backman, on getting nothing from the team after he was fired.

"I thought I was going to hook up with the Reds, but that didn't happen. I don't know why. Maybe someone up top didn't want me."
--Backman

"As far as I know, the Diamondbacks have told everybody that they paid me my money, two years guaranteed. From what I think and from what I've been told by some of the organizations, they thought I was still getting paid. Is that why an organization didn't take me? I don't know."
--Backman

"They always say people deserve a second chance and that's what I'm hoping for. I feel that somebody out there in an organization is finally going to step up and say this guy is supposed to be here. I love to teach. I know I'm good at what I do. And I know I'm better than 95 percent of the people out there in the organizations."
--Backman

"And if they want their product fine-tuned and performed the way they can get the most out of players, I know they'll look at me and say this is a guy we want back in organized baseball. All I can do is hope."
--Backman (Jim Baumbach, Newsday)

THE REST

"It's not really the hits that will get you back, it's the walks that get you back. From the time that I was in a bit of a slump, I don't think I drew a walk one time. That's the thing, though. If you can see pitches, you get deep in the count and get some quality at-bats. I think that's what makes you come out of a slump. When you're in a slump, you're not recognizing balls and strikes."
--Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes (Marc Lancaster, TBO.com)

"That's my life. That's my personal life. That's none of your business. How would you like it if I went to your house and took pictures of your wife?"
--Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca, when reporters asked him to identify a woman in a picture from the race track. Lo Duca owns a horse. (Kristie Ackert and Jerry Bossert, New York Daily News)

"A good third base coach is not doing his job unless he is getting guys thrown out at home plate."
--Mariners manager Mike Hargrove (Gregg Bell, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

"Yeah, I'm being more aggressive than I was last year. I think if I can steal bases at over an 80 percent clip, it's beneficial."
--Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes, bopping .313/.370/.494 so far this year. (Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic)

"You feel the energy from the dugout. People are pulling for guys and talking about the game. It's a constant, 'We're never out of it.' You can't buy that feeling. It's a group. It's hats-off to the front office that brought in a bunch of players who aren't the best on paper, but a bunch of guys they felt were going to fit in."
--Orioles infielder Kevin Millar (Roch Kubatko, Baltimore Sun)

"Cobwebs? It's more like a whole damn haunted house."
--Athletics pitcher Jay Witasick, after a friend told him, "You probably knocked out a lot of cobwebs" in his last outing.

"Billy asked me where I'm staying, and I told him I was still trying to find a place. I told him, 'I'm thinking about an extended-stay place,' and Billy said, 'You'd better get an apartment, you don't want to live out of your suitcase when you're at home. And if you keep on getting hits, you'll be fine.'"
--A's outfielder Travis Buck (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)

---

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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