April 28, 2008
The Week in Quotes
ART HOWE WILL BE OUR EMERGENCY CATCHER
"The fans are pissed. I'd be pissed."
"I thought we came in here and handled ourselves well. Things might have unraveled a little bit today, but before that I thought we handled ourselves well."
"When you look over your shoulder, you're going to get caught. My focus is straight ahead. So if I get tapped on the shoulder I'll look back then. Other than that I'm looking straight ahead."
"When a team struggles, you have to look to leadership to turn it around. The expectation of ownership is that we get things turned around. That's on Ron. That's on me. It's on everybody that wears a 'T.' I'm not going to put the blame on any one man."
"I like the exchange of ideas. We all are unhappy with the performance to date and want to get this team turned around."
"Tom has been through a lot of different situations. He understands the ebbs and flows of the season."
A TRADITION OF NOT PUTTING FANS IN A POSITION TO SUCCEED
"We don't sit back and tell our fans to wait for a year or two. We want to win now."
"This is the toughest lineup I've ever had to make up."
"It's just weird. I think it would make it a lot easier if we had a set lineup."
"I don't think a set lineup is important. If that's a concern for players, my concern is they're not really concentrating on the right thing."
WE'RE HAVING THESE REALLY HUGE MIRRORS FLOWN IN TO CHAVEZ RAVINE
"This is more reminiscent of my first year there. We were underdogs. I remember George telling me in June, 'Are you doing this with mirrors?' We didn't have home run hitters. It drove him nuts because he liked to beat everybody by 10 runs, but we were playing solid baseball."
"In New York, you know how it is. Everything is blown up 100 times over. If we had a start like this in New York, it wouldn't be fun. It's not fun now, but it would be a lot worse."
"I bite my tongue because I get chewed out when I say 'wild card,' because that means you're not thinking of winning the division. If you concentrate on your record, you'll be where you're supposed to be."
"Certainly not every ball club has the resources the Yankees have. The revenue they generate, and George has always been that guy who would get you what you needed. I'm convinced that the McCourts certainly have winning in mind. They didn't bring me out here without trying to win."
THIS IS GONNA BE AS BIG AS "THE SECRET"
"I can't tell you what it was. But I think I found something that I wish I would have found four or five years earlier in my career."
"I don't know for certain. It's going to take me another four or five starts to find out for sure. But if it does, I might be able to pitch another five years."
"I didn't have great velocity today, but I was still able to throw the ball by people and they knew fastball was coming."
I NEED PERMISSION FROM MY GM TO BOUNCE HIM FROM THE ROTATION
"You guys ask me these questions before we have a chance to talk as a group and to my general manager, but I liked what I saw today. Four out of the five innings, he was very good. You guys are asking me to make decisions without talking to anybody."
"He's in our rotation. I don't mean to get irritated, but we talk as a group, as an organization. We talk about what's best for all of our pieces, and we've been in here two minutes. I'm just saying that he's in our rotation today."
"They picked the right guy. He's a Yankee. You got to have a Yankee in that job, someone who understands what you're going to get with the owner and the media. That job ain't for me. I can tell you that for sure."
WHEN WOMEN ASK HIM FOR HIS NUMBER, HE WRITES DOWN "125...OR MORE"
"More than anything, pitch count-wise, it's how you get to the number. Do you throw 50 in the first inning and cruise after that? Do you throw 12 in each inning? Do you have guys on base grinding the entire time? Mentally, it's where you fatigue more than anything."
"We don't get caught up in that pitch-count stuff. I think it's overplayed. It's a measure of conditioning. You watch the game sometimes, a guy is worn out after 70 or 80. Some days, it'll get up around 130, 140. But this is April, and you don't want to."
You've always got a little bit left. There's always a little bit left in the tank."
HIS CLOSEST PECOTA COMPARABLE IS A SUPPOSITORY
"If we need a Band-Aid, if we're having trouble in the order, he's the guy I go to. He likes to be the guy who's gonna patch that hole for me wherever it is. If I'm having trouble, I stick him in there."
"The way they get up there and take their at-bats, you have to be careful with them, because they're hacking. Up and down that lineup, they swing."
"We don't have a 40 home run guy, but I think that helps us. We don't rely on our three and four hitters to do the job--we rely on everybody in our lineup. A lot of teams stray away from that now."
"It's all about hitting pitches that you can make good contact on. That's one of the things they preach here: control the zone. Know which pitches to hit, and which pitches are strikes."
MARVIN MILLER WITH A PLUS-PLUS FASTBALL
"Would I change my mind? Sure, if the numbers sounded right to me. But I'm heading into arbitration next year, and that could change the way everybody looks at things. There are a lot of guys who have signed deals and then their talent or ability goes beyond what they signed for. How much could Josh Beckett get right now? See what I mean?"
"Some of the recent contracts signed are completely pro-management. They completely favor the team. Look at Evan Longoria's deal, and between all the options he's tied up through age 31. I have no idea why you'd do something like that when you have a player who has the potential to win the Rookie of the Year award."
"I understand security and peace of mind for the player, but before he's even played a game in the majors?"
"Might have cost himself $40 million over the length of the contract. I can't understand it. If he's the player everyone thinks he's going to be, there will be many regrets."
OZZIE'S DARK SECRET-HE CHECKS HIS PLAYERS' ZONE RATINGS
"I have some fans saying he has pictures of me doing something wrong."
"I think Uribe's the best second baseman we have-that's it. We're not losing games because of him. We're not hitting as a team right now. Why are people picking on Uribe when he's just helping us to win games the way he plays defense? If I don't think Uribe's helping us win games, believe me he's not going to be there. I guarantee it."
"I want to win, and I think that's the best guy we have right now-right now-to do it. Maybe in a couple of days, I change my mind. Maybe I'll find somebody who can hit better than him. I don't think I'm going to find somebody who's going to play better defense."
"You have to understand, Uribe gave me a ring. I get frustrated with Uribe, yes, because we see him day in and day out, especially last year when we were losing and he was giving up at-bats and I don't think he was preparing and I thought he was overweight. But this year this kid did everything we asked him to do to perform. And he performed real well. He's not hitting? Well, a few players on my team aren't hitting."
"I'm going to tell people out there, I will play Uribe as long as I want to play him, not who they want me to play. I'm the manager of this ballclub, and I want to put the best guys out there, the ones that are best for the club, not the one they want to see."
HE'D LOVE TO SUCK THEIR YOUNG BLOOD, BUT FEEDING SEASON'S NOT FOR A FEW MONTHS
"The thing about it, though, is you don't want to stunt their progress and growth. It's very tempting to think only of today vs. thinking what's right for them and us in the long run, for years to come. A month can be worth years in terms of experience and confidence."
"Need is not the issue right now. The issue is we've got guys here that have done the job and are about to do the job. You're telling me Adam Dunn is not going to hit 40 home runs? You're telling me [Ken Griffey Jr.] isn't going to hit 30 home runs, no matter how they've started? Is three weeks enough to say that they're ready for here?
"I'm dying for them to get here. I really am. I'm excited for when they get here. But sometimes you have to sit on your hands and let them play. It's best for them."
"I had a few people come up to me and just say, 'You know, hey, sorry about the way that last game went. Appreciate what you brought to the Mets, what you brought to the team.' And I think that's, you know, that's all you can ask for."
"I fought for an hour to keep my job. I did not see this coming at all. I still think it's a gold mine. That's what hurts so much, not to see the job through to the end and bring that winner to Cincinnati. I've had visions of being in the clubhouse with champagne being poured all over everybody."
"They came up from behind two of my players. ... I wish I could have taken them in the back room myself. I would have beaten the snot out of both of them."
"Derek Jeter has everything in his life. He's got money, he's got rings. He's not married. He lives in New York. At the All-Star Game, I looked around to see if he's got anything I don't like. Whoa. The perfect man. Too bad I don't have a daughter."
"I've never thrown the way Joba throws. I've never had that ability. But 18 years later, I'm still standing here. So I figured something out."
"I told Manny, 'You're the closest thing to Yogi Berra in the modern era that we have.' Manny looked at me and said, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'When I hear you talk, every player knows exactly what you mean but you say it in a manner that's unique to you.'"
"No. Theo [Epstein] and I have talked, and knowing the type of players he wants in return, it's not something we're willing to do right now."
"He's always getting hit by a pitch at the right spot. I like it. This kid gives you everything he has every at-bat. I haven't seen him waste one at-bat yet."
"My body felt good today. I'm pleased. This is the reason I'm playing, because I feel I can do these kind of games when I'm healthy. That's why I'm still playing because I still enjoy being competitive, I still enjoy going out and doing that. I'm 44 years old. I still enjoy going and grabbing a bat and trying to put the ball in play. I still enjoy the competition of trying to get a hitter out."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.