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June 25, 2007

The Week in Quotes

June 18-25

by Alex Carnevale

"I'M A BELIEVER/I COULDN'T LEAVE HER IF I TRIED"

"Buddy likes him. Buddy is an authoritative guy, and I trust his ability to manage people. I'm a big believer that this is a game of relationships, and if you have a trust factor between Milton and Buddy, you could have something good."
--Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on the near acquistion of A's outfielder Milton Bradley.

"The reports we got from all around baseball were basically like this: Milton plays hard. He's a tremendous competitor. And he has some anger-management issues. Well, sure, we could walk away from that. But if Buddy Bell tells me he can get the most of that player, well, I trust him to do that. That's why we made the move."
--Moore

"You never know who is going to become available. And as an organization, we have to be open to every avenue. Does it make us better if we simply rule out players because of their reputation? I have people I trust in the game telling me that Milton isn't a bad guy. I have a manager who says Milton isn't a bad guy. I don't know Milton Bradley. But I know that he's someone our baseball people have targeted - someone who could help our team. Is he high-maintenance? I don't know. Probably. Sure. But I'm not afraid of high-maintenance players. There are some very good players all around baseball who are high-maintenance."
--Moore

"Our guys gotta know that, hey, we're not scoring any runs, and we're not going to stand for that. I'm not going to just sit and watch us not get people in from third. We're not going to just sit on our hands here. I don't want anyone on this team thinking, 'Oh, we're just developing and learning at the big leagues.' No, we're playing to win. There's a sense of urgency. Hey, I don't have the stomach to watch our team not score runs all year. I just don't. I can't watch us have bad at-bats night after night. We've gotta get better every way we can."
--Moore (Joe Posnanski, Kansas City Star)

LANDING SPOT FOR MILTON?

"I certainly appreciate the efforts of the guys who were on the field busting it."
--John Smoltz, Braves starter, in a series of comments that Braves third baseman Chipper Jones believed were directed at him.

"He made his point through the media, now I'm going to make mine through the media. If he doesn't want to handle it man-to-man, fine."
--Chipper Jones

"I'll play the rest of the games this year and do what I can. Somebody I know better not miss a start, though."
--Jones

"I don't know. You guys interviewed him last night, how'd y'all take it? I'd be stupid if I didn't take it the same way."
--Jones, on how he interpreted Smoltz' comments.

"He assured me that he wasn't singling me out. And that was pretty much it."
--Chipper Jones, after responding in kind, on their meeting.

"It's not going to go any farther than what it's gone. I think we're both a little embarrassed that it got outside this clubhouse. It shouldn't have. I should have squashed it yesterday. ... Even if I did think that it was directed at me, which yesterday obviously I did, I still shouldn't have discussed that with you guys. It wasn't a good example set forth by either one of us. It should have been on me to get to the root of it right way. No better way to do that and go straight to the horse's mouth."
--Jones (ESPN.com)

"If anybody questions whether or not somebody is hurt, you're questioning their heart, their integrity, their dignity. Most people don't react to having their heart questioned. I can assure you at no time in my career have I missed a game where I feel I can go out there and do a better job than anybody else on the team at third base."
--Jones

"HE COULD THROW THAT SPEEDBALL BY YOU/MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A FOOL"

"First of all, the team and the kind of players that we had back then... I would say we don't have the players we have now that we had then. We didn't have the superstar players that we have right now, but those players were determined. They were veterans and knew how to play the game. "
--Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, on the championship teams of the '90s versus the 2007 Yankees.

"We wanted to win and we wanted it all. Those guys back then, they wanted to win it all. I won't say that we don't want to win (now), but we have to find a way. We have to do things different. We have to do the little things. Somebody has to sacrifice for the other one to do something. (Scott) Brosius, (Paul) O'Neill, they came to the team to play. They were special players. I'm not saying that our guys don't come to play. I'm not saying that. But those guys were separate. They were big time, they were clutch. They were there. It's hard to find players like that. We have more players, more superstars, but it's not like the guys we had before."
--Rivera (Jennifer Royle, YESNetwork.com)

"It's like the head to a body. If you don't have the head the body won't move. That's Mr. Torre to us. Mr. Torre has done a tremendous job. And I don't understand the criticism. Nobody says anything now because we're winning."
--Rivera

IS SOMEONE GETTING ALL THIS? HE IS OUR NOSTRADAMUS

"A lot of them look black on the outside but they are not black on the inside. I can tell there are a lot of fake brothers (in baseball)."
--Tigers right fielder Gary Sheffield

"What black players fail to realize is each player sticks up for its own race. Whites stick up for whites, Mexicans stick up for Mexicans. We're the only ones who don't."
--Sheffield

"If you walk around with a bunch of athletes. and follow them ... a bunch of them are fakes. I'm not backing down. I'm going to say it. If someone asks a direct question, I'll answer it."
--Gary Sheffield

"Blacks are being frozen out of the sport now."
--Sheffield (Mike Freeman, CBS Sportsline)

"I would order every Major League baseball team to invest as much money in the inner cities as they do in the Dominican. That's where you start."
--Sheffield, on what he would do if named commissioner.

PEOPLE SKILLS

"A lot of my friends think that I don't like people. The reality is I do like people--I just need time to myself to work. So I tend to turn off my cellphone."
--Bill James

"We think we have a good organization, and we thought we had a good organization last August when we couldn't win a game to save our soul."
--Bill James, on his employer, the Boston Red Sox.

"People think they understand how to win in baseball much more than they really do. The scouts see a lot of things that I can't see. And some of the things they see I have learned to see. But some of the things they see I can't see at all. And I'm not suggesting it's not real, it's just that I can't see it. There is no reason for there to be a conflict. The conflict exists only when people think they know more than they do."
--James (Dan Ackman, The Wall Street Journal)

IT AIN'T BRAGGING IF YOU CAN BACK IT UP

"Very similar to Muhammad Ali. Nobody in his corner had any idea he was gonna Rope-A-Dope against George Foreman. I wonder if he even knew what he was gonna do until he did it. Pedro would leave the bullpen, where he threw one or two curveballs, and end up with 10 punchouts. Eight of them were curveballs. He's like Beethoven. How can you be one of the greatest composers and you're deaf?"
--Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, on Pedro Martinez.

"At the end of the concert, everybody felt they had a big hug from Springsteen. They left as if they'd been at a spiritual revival. When the sprinklers went on [at Shea], I sat in the dugout for a while. People didn't want to leave. They would have lit a match to try to bring him back if they could. He has such a gift of touching people ... like Ali."
--Peterson

"The range of what he can put on that canvas is phenomenal. Pedro can go from Picasso to Van Gogh."
--Peterson (Steve Serby, New York Post)

SO THIS IS WHAT 31-44 FEELS LIKE

"I [expletive] hate this. And you can put that in the paper. I [expletive] hate losing. I hate when the team doesn't bring out its full potential. And if they fine me, fine me. I don't care. Because this is getting stupid. We're better than what we're showing."
--Pirates starter Ian Snell, on his team's performance against the Angels.

"That team that beat us is good. I think they're the best in baseball. But the point is we let the first game of this series get away from us, we let another one get away in Seattle, another one at home ... and it's stupid."
--Snell

"There are things that are getting talked about in here that wouldn't be getting talked about if we were winning. When you lose, everything gets magnified and you start questioning yourself, questioning each other, wondering why this play was or wasn't made, whether we should have bunted here or there. It's stuff that never should come up."
--Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, on the Pirates' losing ways.

"They didn't hit the ball that hard, but they run the bases so well. I mean, that team does every little thing just perfectly."
--Snell (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

FIRST CHANGE-WE WILL REFER TO IT AS THE PIRANHA WAY

"I think it's important to try to develop a team that has a character and identity. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. It wasn't too long ago that Ozzie Guillen in a post-game interview [after playing the Twins]...he called them 'those little piranhas,' they just keep nipping at you. They come at you. They come at you. And the Twins liked that slogan so much they used it as their marketing campaign the next season. That's the type of team I hope that we can develop here, a team that has an identity."
--New O's GM Andy McPhail

"I think one of the greatest benefits I have is that I probably know Peter in a baseball context as well as anybody in the game. We were in prison together in that conference room in 2002 for summer and to some degree 2006. You get to know somebody over that period of time and you get to know them in the context of baseball. I think that's one of the reasons that Peter wanted to talk to me. I think Peter has a level of comfort with me as a human being and he's seen me in a totally different environment."
--MacPhail

"I don't think I'm walking in cold, but I do think that I know I'm not the smartest bird in the woods, that's for sure, but I do know this-that I don't know enough to give you an intelligent answer yet. There are a lot of people here who have seen a lot more games and could give you a better answer. So that is one where I have to get up to speed to give you a good answer."
--MacPhail

THOSE CHAMPIONSHIP YEARS WERE GREAT. WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY?

"We kept winning and he kept picking me up, all the way through the playoffs. Same time, quarter to two every afternoon. He'd get us both Seven Ups, we'd jump in the same car, same places, same everything. And it worked."
--Mariners outfielder Jay Buhner

"He stood up and fought to keep potential free agents like myself here. He said let's do everything in our power to keep this together. Then lo and behold, when all was said and done, it was him that left. That was a little strange."
--Buhner

"It wasn't a contractual deal like A-Rod. There was no animosity or bitterness. He wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps. The heritage of the Big Red Machine was intriguing to him."
--Buhner, on Griffey's departure from Seattle.

"You look back now and that was the start of a whole new chapter. Randy left, Junior left, A-Rod left, I retired. You look back at those great years and there's nothing attached to that anymore. People don't want to let those good times end."
--Buhner (Greg Johns, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

BRING EDGAR AND RANDY BACK TOO!

"If I heard that he'll come back to Seattle, I would gladly give up my position of center field to him."
--Ichiro, on the tasty interleague meeting that returned Ken Griffey to Seattle.

"He was already a star when I was a student in Japan. Ever since then, he's always been my favorite player. To be able to play on the ballfield with that guy is something that makes me very happy. It's actually a dream come true for me. I don't think there's anybody else in Major League Baseball that plays with as much grace and beauty as he does."
--Ichiro, on Griffey. (Jerry Brewer, Seattle Times)

THE REST

"I wasn't even in the mood to be here. There's nothing wrong, it's just how it is. I've been in the major leagues for 12 years, and if a major league ballplayer tells you they want to be in the ballpark every day they're lying to you because it's not true. Sometimes you come to the park because you have to. That's how I [felt Wednesday] and that's how I felt the last three or four days. There's more important things than baseball to us. I have a family and I have kids and sometimes I want to be with them. I just hope this season goes fast so I can be with them."
--Red Sox starter Julian Tavarez, on missing his children during the season. (Jeff Goldberg, Hartford Courant)

"'I want you to have my baby' and he follows that up with 'Can I be your first baby daddy?'"
--Elijah Dukes' ex-wife NeShea Gilbert, on his pickup line. Dukes was placed on the temporarily inactive list for threats allegedly made to his ex-wife.

"He's a good teammate, and he's out here as a cheerleader and the whole thing. He's going to help us more than pitching every five days."
--Joe Torre, on Roger Clemens.

"I think (it's) the weather and I feel more comfortable with the team and the city here in Chicago, so I got my swing back and that's most important."
--Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano, on his hot month. (Rick Gano, Yahoo.com)

"I think they got it right. One thing, we didn't lose the game because of that. ... This weekend they played better than we did, they made the plays, they pitched right, they had clutch hitting and we didn't. ... If those guys keep playing the way they did against us this weekend, they have a chance."
--White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on an interference call that reversed a double play against the Cubs.

"You can't blame him. It was a messed-up play that you don't see very often. Uribe is not known for trying to cheat or get in somebody's way, but it happens. He got two outs and he ended up getting no outs and that's why Ozzie said, 'You're just going to have to run me.'"
--umpire Joe West, on his meeting of the minds with Guillen.

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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