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June 9, 2008

The Week in Quotes

June 2-8

by Alex Carnevale

SHOW 'EM WHO'S BRANCH RICKEY, BOSS

"I just felt like our bullpen was our strength. I think it still could be, but when you move a guy like that, everyone's trying to find a role. Everyone's trying to replace a guy who was possibly the best in that role. I remember the teams the Yankees won (championships) with, if they were winning after five innings, it was pretty much game over."
--Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon, on moving Joba Chamberlain to the starting rotation.

"I love Johnny Damon as a player and a person, and he's really doing the job right now. But let's be honest here, he's not Branch Rickey. Johnny is a player, and as players, they all need to let the brain trust do the thinking and do the talking."
--Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner

"I think so much of the media and a lot of fans are really missing the point on Joba, I really do. Everyone's worried about the eighth inning, and I agree it's important, but shit, we haven't even been getting to the eighth inning most (games)."
--Steinbrenner

"I think even (Chien-Ming) Wang's slump shows how fragile starting pitching can be. We'll get Wang straightened out and Joba will help us get our starting pitching in order, and then we'll concentrate on doing something about the bullpen."
--Steinbrenner

"Every baseball expert I've talked to or read (their quotes) agrees with us, that Joba was wasting away out there (in the pen). The kid is 22, and he's going to have a long and productive career. We believe, as do all the experts, that it's going to be at the front of our rotation for the next 10 years or so. Pitching, that's the only way to build."
--Steinbrenner (Peter Botte, New York Daily News)

"A lot of mistakes have been made over the last seven years. We got our hands full, but Brian and I are on the same page."
--Steinbrenner (Kevin Kernan, New York Post)

THURSDAY NIGHT'S ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTING, GET A LITTLE ACTION IN

"Anyone find a full moon tonight? Crazy stuff going on, just a crazy night at the park. It happens sometimes."
--Red Sox first baseman Sean Casey, on the Thursday night brawl between the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I just think it's such a big deal right now because it happened against the Yankees and against Boston, the two big media (markets). I definitely don't want that reputation of a fighter, but I want the reputation of being a good teammate. That's most of the feedback that I've been getting--that I might be a little bit of a loose cannon, but at the same time I'm doing it for the right reasons. I didn't do any of this because of stuff that happened to me, it's all for stuff that happened to my teammates. I lead the franchise in being hit by pitches (33 times), and I've never charged (the mound)."
--Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes, on his role in the altercation.

"I charged the mound. I feigned it like I was going to go to first base, just to get Navarro off me a little bit, and just charged the mound. He tried to hit me with a haymaker; he missed. I threw a punch; I pretty much missed. And the rest, went down to the ground… like the scratches on my face were people trying to scratch like we were playing football or something, like little girls, trying to scratch out my eyes. I move one hand down, scratch me right here."
--Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp, after charging James Shields.

"After that, people were trying to pull my hair like little girls. Instead of throwing some real punches or something like that… I'm down on the ground, I mean the fight's pretty much over baseball-term wise. You wanna come in late, and throw some extra blows and get your little blows in, that's cool. I'll cover up. It's all good, trying to pull some hair. It's all right."
--Crisp

"He didn't try to hit me in the head so that's good. He didn't like try to kill me."
--Crisp (Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times)

THIS BEEF GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO A FRACAS AT YOUKILIS' SEDER LAST YEAR

"I think they were just exchanging some views on things. We had a lot of testosterone going tonight. It was kind of a hectic night. Sometimes those things happen. It wasn't really a big deal, it won't be a big deal, it happens. We'll get by that one. In fact, it's been handled and we'll move on from that one."
--Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on an intra-team altercation between Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez in the Red Sox dugout during that same Thursday game.

"It all happened because Manny complained about Youkilis' habit of throwing bats, helmets, and other objects in the dugout when he has a bad at-bat, something that has become a constant practice... There was a meeting where the team let Youkilis know that many of his teammates were tired of his explosive reactions for each bad plate appearance. It became very bothersome… more so when the team is winning and it's in first place. There's not much room for individualistic attitudes."
--Anonymous source, on what the fight was about. (Enrique Rojas, ESPN.com)

"You have to ask them. I was eating next to Youkilis and said I don't want to know. I saw Manny. He was speaking in Spanish."
--Coco Crisp

"I don't exactly what happened because I was on the field. There was a misunderstanding. Manny is a veteran guy who has been here and knows how to handle stuff. I don't know what happened. It happens. Even brothers fight and everything gets back to normal after awhile. You see each other every day, there's a lot of frustration."
--Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo

"Don't worry about it."
--Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez, on the shoving match.(Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe)

RELOCATE THIS TEAM TO OKLAHOMA CITY, TOO, WHILE YOU'RE AT IT

"We're gonna do this a little different. We're playing our [expletive] off every day and got nothing to show for it. I'm tired of [expletive] losing, I'm tired of getting my [expletive] beat, and so have those guys. We gotta change this [expletive expletive] around and get after it. And only we can do it. The fans are [expletive] off, and I'm [expletive] off, and the players are [expletive] off. And that's the way it is. There's no [expletive] easy way out of this, can't feel sorry for ourself, we gotta [expletive] buckle it up and get after it. I'm tired of [expletive] losing this, [expletive] every night we bust our [expletive]. It's gotta be a total team [expletive] effort to turn this thing around, and that's it."
--Mariners manager John McLaren, lashing out at his team.

"I have a tough time pinpointing this thing. We've turned over every rock to correct this thing. Unfortunately, we've also turned over every rock to lose."
--Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi

"If you look at us offensively, I think the one thing that works against us is getting runners in with less than two outs. This is an ongoing process and something that we talk about all the time. You can talk about it all you want to, it's just something we need to do a better job."
--McLaren

"We've put Cairo out there and to be honest, he's energized us."
--McLaren

"I like to put the game in motion. I like guys running, putting pressure on the defense. And I like power, too. There's a mixture of it, and when you've got nothing--neither one of them going--we're watching paint dry."
--McLaren (Danny O'Neil, Seattle Times)

"Is everybody pissed off about losing? No question. But everybody's talking about our (questionable) chemistry. ... The chemistry is unbelievable on our team. Everybody gets along, and I'm not just blowing smoke. ... It's the truth."
--Mariners closer J.J. Putz

"Who plays the game? He put together a team that everyone across the country thought would be a contender."
--Putz, on his team's general manager.

THEY WANT HIM TO GET WELL, BUT THEY ALSO WANT ENDY CHAVEZ TO STOP OPS-ING 543

"I felt like I had a heartbeat in my head and I just didn't feel right. When he came to ask me if I could hit, I said, 'No, I'm not going to do it.'"
--Mets right fielder Ryan Church, who is suffering from post-concussion syndrome.

"I was smarter about it this time around. I learned from last time and I'm not going to let that happen again. I'm glad that I stood up and said no, I can't do it."
--Church

"I feel like we've handled everything the proper way. All you can do is confer with the doctors. They're the ones who are the experts on this. You communicate with the player and he's been straight and honest with us how he feels. We're very sensitive to how he feels. That's all we can do."
--Mets manager Willie Randolph

"Something like concussions is not really well known in baseball, so you feel for him and want to make sure he's OK. That's why we constantly communicate with him. We get input from him because he's the only one who knows how he feels. He has no headaches. He has no vision problems, no dizziness. Those are basic things you want to hear about and he hasn't said anything about that. We just go by how he's feeling. I just take him for what he said and trust what he says to me. I never had this before."
--Randolph (David Lennon, Newsday)

FRESH BLOOD

"When you come across this kind of talent, it stands out. He has a 'wow' factor, and it doesn't take a keen judge of talent to see it."
--Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on third overall pick in the first year player draft, first baseman Eric Hosmer. (Rick Dean, The Capitol-Journal)

"Some people are a little scared away by (agent Scott) Boras, but I'm not. One thing you can say about Boras and his people, is they're pretty damn good scouts, too. They always seem to come up with top talent to represent, every year. We don't shy away from his guys, because he usually signs and represents some of the best ones. ... So we look forward to getting him in the fold with our other young pitchers as soon as we can."
--Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, on drafting Boras client Gerrit Cole (Peter Botte, New York Daily News)

"I've always kind of been a Boston fan. But I definitely appreciate being drafted by (the A's). And, I mean, with any other team, too, I would have been really appreciative."
--A's 38th-round draft choice Bobby Crocker (I.A. Stewart, Register-Pajaronian)

"I'd catch Friday and Saturday and would pitch Sunday. It got to the point where I couldn't even throw to the bases anymore because I was tired. The best thing for me to do was to (transfer)."
--The Cubs' seventh-round draft choice, catcher Luis Flores, on his experience playing for the University of Houston before he transferred. (Steve Holley, Scout.com)

"To even be mentioned in the same sentence with guys like Chipper and Mark Teixeira is overwhelming. I've always looked up to Chipper and, more recently, to Mark Teixeira. A lot of people say I act like Chipper, that I swing like him, that I even talk like him. But it's nothing I try to do. I'm just a fan of his. Those guys just seem like team guys to me, and that's what I am. I try to put the team first."
--Rangers first-round draft pick, South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak (Evan Grant, The Dallas Morning News)

"You try to think outside the box to maximize your drafts. In college, you'll see a lot of kids who can catch but can't hit. That's why a number of big league catchers were converted guys. That's an avenue we've tried to explore."
--Dodgers scouting director Logan White (ESPN.com)

"When you can get a reliever with a power arm who's on a relatively short course to the major leagues, it makes it very, very attractive. I think we all know that strong bullpens make it a lot easier for starting staffs."
--Bob Fontaine, director of Mariners scouting, on selecting reliever Josh Fields with his team's first-round draft choice.

"I think I saw Ryan Perry more this spring than I saw my wife, Janet. We were on him, and we stayed on him."
--David Chadd, Tigers vice president of amateur scouting, on his team's first-round draft pick. (Jon Paul Morosi, Detroit Free Press)

HIS SIGNING BONUS IS WORTH MORE THAN YOUR LIFE

"I respect whoever they pick. I understand they don't have too much catching down in the system. I'm not upset or anything like that. The only thing that really hurt my feelings was when he said my clock was running down."
--Giants catcher Benji Molina, on his team's selection of Gerald Posey with the fifth overall pick in the first-year player draft.

"It hurt my feelings because I came here to work hard every single day. I give them everything I have. I've got to talk to him first and see what he meant before I say anything else. I'd like to know, because if I'm not in their plans for the future, then what am I doing here?"
--Molina

"I was discussing strictly the contractual obligation with the player. This has nothing to do with Bengie's performance on the field. He is having an All-Star season, but when free agency is in play there is uncertainty on both sides."
--Giants general manager Brian Sabean (Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle)

THE REST

"I know the Phillies hate him. I think some teams think he's superpimp. You know how some guys act on the field? He has this way of turning off people."
--Marlins catcher Matt Treanor, on Marlins starter Scott Olsen. (Amy K. Nelson, ESPN.com)

"I was just trying to do my best Josh Hamilton impression."
--Rangers outfielder David Murphy, after homering off Matt Garza in Sunday's game against the Rays. (ESPN.com)

"Maybe today, he started to finally realize that being frustrated doesn't help, it doesn't get you anywhere in this game. People will have slumps as long as the game is played. But [you] have to keep digging in like he showed he can do today. With what he came back from to do what he did in the [seventh], sure, that can certainly be a growing-up situation."
--Dodgers manager Joe Torre, on center fielder Matt Kemp. (Peter Pascarelli, ESPN.com)

"I always yearned for a team full of young kids so I could teach them how to play."
--Reds manager Dusty Baker (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com)

"It's over now. I love and respect Ed Montague. That's the great thing about baseball. We just talked. It's over, done with and we'll play tomorrow. ... I took a good at-bat. You can't do any more than that."
--Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, on being called out checking his swing on Friday. (Peter Abraham, The News Journal)

"I'm embarrassed. I was ready to come to (Petco Park) at 1 o'clock because I thought the game was at 4."
--Mets catcher Ramon Castro, after arriving late to a game against the Padres. (International Herald Tribune)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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The Week in Quotes: Ma... (06/02)
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