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May 27, 2008
The Week in Quotes
OF COURSE, DON ZIMMER WASN'T MUCH OF A MANAGER, BUT I GOT THE POINT
"We should be good enough to be challenging the Angels in our division. I'm an easy target and I'm not going to make any excuses. As it's gotten this bad, all I can think of is what (Don) Zimmer said to me, 'You wanted to manage. Well, manage!'"
"In my 23 years, I have never ever seen anything like this. We saw it the other way in 2001. I mean, you have to ask yourself, 'How did the Mariners win 116 games that season with that roster, compared to this roster?' This is just as inexplicable the other way."
"We're not devastated to the point where we are giving in, but it's a very, very, very frustrating time right now. They are no fun to watch, and are playing bad, bad, bad baseball. But they do care and they're playing hard."
"I'm sleeping pretty well."
"That has been one of our problems, advancing baserunners. We thought out of spring training we would be one of the best fielding ball clubs in the American League."
YES, BUT WILL YOU BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR IT?
"I don't take it personally, but I take it to heart. The buck stops here. We all had a lot of high expectations for this team. The key is that the year is not over. It's time for somebody to step up and for us to get us back in striking distance by the All-Star break. I feel responsible for this."
"Nobody's suffering more than the guys in this room and the guys out on that field. I believe we're the ones suffering the most."
"We would be hard pressed to make deals this far before the [July 31] deadline for anybody that would be better than what we have."
"Their positions are secure. They are not to be blamed for what's going on."
"The best teams take care of the stuff in the clubhouse. They make demands of each other, and I'm not sure we have that going on. I know the popular refrain during a period like this... the manager becomes a topic. But it's not a topic for us. We're looking for the players to step up and play like they can, not like they want to."
LET'S STAY ON MESSAGE... WHAT WAS THAT MESSAGE AGAIN?
"Obviously, when all this stuff is going on around me, when he shows
up, 'Why is he here?' I'm comfortable around Omar and I told him he should come on more road trips, be around the team. I don't feel any different about him being here."
"I'm just so hell-bent on winning the game right now, whether Omar is here or not--whether they support me or not. I'll go down to the last day trying to win a ballgame. That's why I'm here, that's why I came here. A lot of stuff is out of my hands."
"He's one of the best guys in the game. I love Willie. We are the ones to play. He don't play. He has to make the decisions. We're the ones performing in the field."
"I thought I saw him in the back sharpening his machete. I don't know if that feels too good. He saw me coming, so he kind of slipped it in his back pocket. I don't know if that made me feel better."
"But that being said, and I've kept quiet for such a long time, but for the people out there listening, just go in the dictionary and look up 'unconscious' and you'll find a picture of Gary Carter. I know that's strong, but it just happens too many times and it's just, you're walking around unconscious."
CONTRITION, THAT INFAMOUS SLUMP-BUSTER
"I don't believe he doesn't care, but he's going to have to be contrite and play better. Look how we've done, and if we had him hitting [for power] like he did a year ago, we're really going well."
"He's 31, not 40 and at the end of his career. He should be close to his prime, but right now mechanically he has no chance to hit. He could be the fittest guy in America, but shifting his body the way he is while trying to hit, it ain't going to work."
"We felt we needed a middle-of-the-order bat and Gold Glove in center field. So far we've gotten the center fielder."
A TEMPER TANTRUM IS MORE ENTERTAINING THAN FOUR GUYS LOOKING AT A MONITOR
"The times are such that our fans are used to seeing all the high technology, and they're used to seeing the other sports that use these systems to make determinations, and the fans are clamoring for all the sports to look at that."
"I'm certainly not in favor of turning it into four robots out there. These [umpires] have got personalities out there. I've been overall really pleased with the demeanors of the umpires in my perception of them wanting to get plays right."
"The commissioner is not a fan of it. He calls instant replay umpires getting together and trying to get the call right. That is instant replay, in his estimation."
THE COMMISSIONER HAS HIS MIND ON THE IMPORTANT STUFF
"Improving pace of game is an important goal that will be emphasized. Clubs and fans share the common objective of seeing a game that is played as sharply and crisply as possible. We have reminded our staff and our umpires to enforce the rules in order to achieve the progress we need in this area."
"I guess I'm fired, then, because I missed that one. They're just trying to reinvent the game. I used to get called all the time [in New York]. We were warned all the time. Not that you don't take the warnings seriously, but we had a ballclub that made the other team change pitchers a lot and made the other teams throw more pitches than anybody. It was one of those things we were punished for."
"It's coming from the league. We know that and we were warned. We all have different opinions. What we don't want is to start getting into arguments over non-baseball calls."
"I think that's a little ridiculous. We don't want J.D. to take a swing and throw his bat in the stands and hit some kid or some older lady or something. It's kind of a ridiculous rule. I don't know who invented it, but they need to clean it up."
'PLAYING HARD TO GET': THE LONG-AWAITED SEQUEL TO MONEYBALL
"No, very rarely when it's one of our high profile guys is it a situation where we'll solicit a deal. If you start doing that, whether someone admits it or not, it's going to diminish value by you being the aggressor."
"In Danny's case, and to Arizona's credit, he was someone they always wanted. And Josh (Byrnes) started poking around a little bit at the end of the year last year. In truth, the process hadn't been decided. I wasn't completely convinced that if we had come back completely healthy that sticking with the current roster and seeing what we had was an option. That being said, we actually waited for clubs to come to us figuring that the clubs who came to us would understand the value of the player and would be serious about doing business. We weren't out there soliciting things at all. The clubs that were serious, we would talk to them. In Arizona's case and to their credit, they had done their homework and checked in early so we were pretty far along in the process once we decided to go ahead and make the move."
"We really don't have any other choice to do this."
"I was colored. I was Negro. I was 'Nigra.' I was African-American. I was black. I was multicultural."
"Stay back. This is what Sid's been waiting for all night."
"Going on the last four years, nothing makes any sense. My understanding is we needed a left-handed bat in the lineup, and I was the odd man out. Does that make any sense? We'll see what happens the next couple of days."
"We're bad, there's no question about it. There comes a point in time where we can't just say it's early. I haven't seen any signs the last couple of weeks that leads me to believe, or our fans to believe, that we're going to turn this thing around. It's up to the guys in the clubhouse. I'm certainly not going to watch this for another four months."
"I think the Yankees are going through a lot of things. It might bother them for a minute. But I have nothing to do with it. I did it with MLB and State Farm. I had no control over that."
"We heard he had some issues with command. I thought he would have trouble getting the breaking ball over. But for the most part, it was there. He threw strikes. He made quite an impression."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.