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March 24, 2008

The Week in Quotes

March 17-23

by Alex Carnevale

BIG IN JAPAN

"The people are just so friendly, so respectful. We could learn a lot from them as far as how to treat each other."
--A's second baseman Mark Ellis, on his team's trip to Japan to open the 2008 campaign against the Red Sox.

"Tickets are so hard to get to the Red Sox games back home; that's why we came here."
--A's owner Lew Wolff (Mychael Urban, MLB.com)

"The farther you bow down shows more respect."
--Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis (Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports)

"Wow. I've gotta get a picture of this."
--A's first baseman Daric Barton, on seeing multiple batting cages on the field along with other unique Japanese pre-game drills.

"It was different. It was the local flavor. I'm not sure we knew what to expect, but with all those things--they were beating and yelling and singing--it was a good experience. They were enthusiastic, and it was a good baseball game to watch."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona

DO NOT LET A-ROD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROMOTION

"I guess they give away $10,000 bucks for being star of the game here. I was like, 'Give me a million yen. I'll take a million yen.' That's what someone was telling me. They have a star of the game and a runner-up."
--Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew, after hitting a grand slam in an exhibition game.

"I hit a pitch down and away, a slider or a fastball."
--Drew, on his grand slam.

"That's kind of neat. All the relievers went out with Hideki instead of him following everyone else. That's kind of neat."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on reliever Hideki Okajima

"It's a pretty cool experience pitching over here. The biggest thing I had to get used to was the cheering going on during their at-bats. It was pretty cool."
--Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield

LIKE CON AIR BUT WITHOUT THE HANDCUFFS

"I'm going to play the whole trip. My plan is to slow play the shit out of them, and take all their money."
--Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, on his poker-related plans for the flight out to Japan.

"I don't read books."
--Papelbon

"I'm just going to have to borrow."
--Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash, on watching movies on the flight there and back.

"I plan on sleeping on the plane, but they want me to stay up. I could go onto a plane fully rested and go right to sleep. It's going to be a challenge to stay awake."
--Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury

"He stinks. I feel like the Houston Rockets."
--Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, on Terry Francona's evolving cribbage game.

"Probably two or three [games]. They go pretty quick. He shuffles pretty fast and tries to rig the deck, so I try to slow him down. You've got to slow the game down. If the game speeds up on you, you're going to stink. I'm up, probably 30 or 40 games. He'll say he's up, but that's just to tell you guys that he's good. He stinks."
--Pedroia

ON CHRISTMAS HE TRACKED BATTED-BALL DATA UNTIL IT WAS TIME TO OPEN PRESENTS

"Once baseball season starts, it doesn't really matter what day it is. Saturday, Sunday, Monday. When we have a game, we wake up and play it. I celebrated Easter Sunday by catching up on a little bit of sleep and then watching Oakland play whoever they played."
--Francona, on his holiday weekend.

"We're in a different city, but it could just as well be San Francisco. I came to the ballpark. I wake up, and I'm going to the ballpark."
--Francona

"Not now. I'd love to some day. Not when we have baseball games. I wouldn't see it. I would just be thinking, 'Hey, I've got to get to the ballpark.' That's just the way it is. My wife gave up; she knows."
--Francona, on visiting Japan as a tourist. (Ian Browne, MLB.com)

"There's usually kids by the dugout and I'll usually sign till somebody hits me with a ball. It never fails. It's about five minutes, some parent throws one. The guards tell them, 'As soon as you throw it he's going to leave.' Somebody always does it. If I'm getting tired, I can make eye contact, and somebody will flip one. I can kind of deke them into flipping one, and I can go."
--Francona, on his pre-game routine.

"I usually go to the dugout around 6:30 or so. Depends who's on our club. In '04, I started to leave early, because 20 [minutes] of 7:00, Johnny Damon was naked, then 5 [minutes] after 7:00, he's on second, fully clothed."
--Francona (Gordon Edes, Boston Globe)

ONE TRIP TO CHUCK E. CHEESE LATER, HE'S THE LIFE OF THE CLUBHOUSE

"He's been fantastic. He's finally starting to loosen up a bit. He was pretty serious for a while there. We couldn't get too many smiles out of him."
--Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on new outfielder Delmon Young.

"He's been a great person to be around. He's a sponge. I can see nothing but great things for him."
--Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra

"All I had to go on was what I had heard, and he's been nothing like what I'd heard. He's been a great teammate. He's the first guy, when he's not playing, to get off the bench and give you a high-five. I don't see how anybody said what they said about him unless he's the greatest actor in the world. He's a great teammate."
--Twins veteran Michael Cuddyer

"I said, 'Way to hit, but you've got to kill that guy.' You talk about mentors and all that stuff, but you know what? You've got to listen. You've got to be able to accept it, and he's been great with that."
--Cuddyer

"It's been cool here. You've got an MVP and a batting champ. Gardy's a great guy, fun to be around. Cuddy has taken me under his wing. It's a great environment. All they expect out of me is to come play baseball and have fun."
--Young (Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

SOUNDS LIKE THEY'VE BECOME THE BEST OF FRIENDS, DOESN'T IT?

"To say I wasn't cognizant of it wouldn't be fair. But the way he's treated me and the way our offseason unfolded, it was very fortunate. It seemed like we were making the moves he was happy about, and it seemed to buy me a little capital early, which was important."
--Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, on being accepted by manager Tony La Russa.

"It's something we're very thrilled about. He embodies everything we look for in a player-his talent, his personality."
--Mozeliak, on a new deal with starter Adam Wainwright.

"I wouldn't say he's the biggest surprise. There were a lot of people advocating for him prior to the Rule 5 draft, so I guess what it's really done is allow me to trust a few more people that I might have doubted in the past. It's been real encouraging to see what we've got."
--Mozeliak, on Rule 5 pick Brian Barton. (R.B. Fallstrom, Belleville News Democrat)

"They're doing to St. Louis what Angelos did to Baltimore. They're ruining the tradition."
--anonymous scout (Jon Heyman, SI.com)

THE YANKEES HAVE THEIR WEAPON X

"We'll just have to wait and see. He has been a good starter when he has been out there."
--Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on oft-injured starter Carl Pavano.

"In the game against the Twins, he was dominant. Then something happened with the elbow, and that's when we lost him for the season. When he's healthy, he can be an effective starting pitcher."
--Cashman

"Having a healthy Carl Pavano pitching down the stretch in July, August, and September will benefit the Yankees."
--Pavano's agent Tom O'Connell

"His DL stints have been excessive. That's not something he wished on himself or us. It just happened. But he works as hard as anyone. He wants to contribute as much as anyone."
--Cashman (Murray Chass, New York Times)

JIM LEYLAND: MAN OF GENERALITIES

"Up here, you have to command two pitches, and a lot of the time three. If you're not commanding one, you have problems. Again, I'm not talking about him in particular. I'm talking in general."
--Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on Dontrelle Willis.

"I'm not upset, but I'm not going to sugarcoat it or lie to anybody. It's as simple as A-B-C, you can't pitch like that."
--Leyland

"And I want to make it perfectly clear, there's nothing wrong with a funky delivery. Sometimes that's what makes you effective. Along those lines, I've always liked different looks in our bullpen."
--Leyland

"The order of the rotation doesn't mean anything to me. I've started everywhere in the rotation. On my day to pitch, I'm No. 1 on that day."
--Tigers starter Dontrelle Willis (Tom Gage, Detroit News)

THE REST

"Every time we don't play good, I let them know right away. That's how we're going to do it this year. I don't like how they play the last couple of games, and I say it in the paper, and then I have a meeting."
--White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on his managerial style. (Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune)

"They're not stupid. They know. They know I can play and I'm ready. That's it. I'm going to get the two options, then I'm going to get a four-year deal. I'm just going to go and get it."
--Manny Ramirez on his future in Boston. (Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe)

"I'm going to get to 600 [homers]. Why not? The sky's the limit. There's no limit."
--Manny Ramirez, on milestones.

"What difference does it make to me? By the time he's arbitration-eligible I'm going to be sitting in the stands holding a radar gun [as a scout]."
--anonymous GM of ten years ago. The Rays have to decide this week whether or not to start Evan Longoria's arbitration clock by keeping him with the big club. (Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune)

"I threw a lot of innings in October last year. I threw a lot of innings in '03, [and] '04 wasn't exactly a healthy year for me. I'm not saying that this year is going to be like that, but you got to prepare a little bit different because you don't have that full offseason to work it out. I think [the shorter offseason] definitely could have played a role in [the back injury]. ... This is such a freak deal for me, because I've never had any back issues at all."
--Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett (Maureen Mullen, New York Times)

"The American League spoils you a little. Not that managing in the American League is easy, but this is certainly different. I'll have to have somebody poke me in the rear end when I have a pitcher that's going to hit."
--Joe Torre, Dodgers manager, on life in the National League. (John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle)

"I've heard managers say, 'I feel like I've got to do something to win the game. I've got to send this runner or do this.' You can almost hear them saying, 'I want to play a part in winning this game.' Well, I don't have to play a part in winning the game. I want our players to win the game."
--Phillies general manager Charlie Manuel (Jim Salisbury, Philadelphia Inquirer)

"It shows how much this team cares about one another and the people who are involved from the traveling secretary to the video guy to the trainer to the clubhouse people. We believed what we were standing up for was the right thing."
--Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, on the team sticking up for its coaches and other personnel when it came to compensation for their trip to Japan. (Ian Browne, MLB.com)

"We got a gift bag. Inside was a ball, a T-shirt, two Snickers bars, a bottle of wine imported from California, a stuffed animal, and a box of tea. I must have missed the money."
--Padres reliever Heath Bell, on the proceeds from his team's trip to China.

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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