July 14, 2008
The Week in Quotes
Week of July 7-13
TAKE IT FROM ME/PITCHERS JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND
"If some of the players didn't like the move, well, it's easy to do. Just tell Ozuna to stay here and get them to get the [bleep] out of here and go to the minor leagues."
"You don't want to see that happen and I certainly didn't want to see that happen on the account of my move. There's always potential for stuff like that, but we have some older guys that have been around and we feel like the ball is rolling down the hill right now. The vibe here is not a negative one. The vibe here is we can overcome almost every obstacle."
THE FUTURE HAS NO DESIRE TO GO TO BEIJING
"They're not in business to help us. They're in business to win. Especially teams that are on the bubble. They're not going to let you have David Price. There are some guys I'd love to have, but it ain't gonna happen."
"'Don't try to be Superman,' is basically what he was saying. Enjoy yourself. Don't try to take out the catcher or flip over the fence in foul territory to try to catch a ball. Play hard, but don't do anything crazy."
"[Hector] Rondon, he hadn't pitched above Kinston in A-ball, and he comes in today throwing nice and easy about 95. And we're like, 'Whoaaah, we could've saved this guy for later.' That's a pretty good arm right there."
"Last year, too many people came here and I said, 'No, no, no. I can't speak.' This year I have to do it. In the big leagues, you do it every single day. I try to know more."
"When we get the morning news, we don't look at the headlines. We see the transactions to make sure guys didn't get called up."
YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO GIVE HIM A REASON TO DEAL YOU, HUSTON
"It's more an indication that we've got a lot of guys injured and we're selling, not buying. That said, since the beginning of the year, we've exceeded expectations, and for the guys remaining, we're going to work to continue to do that."
"We've got to trust that the team knows what it's doing, and Billy has
proven himself time and time again."
"We feel like we're playing good baseball and we have a shot. None of us feels like this move is going to keep us from making the playoffs."
HE HAS ALSO ASKED US TO REFER TO HIM AS ML RATHER THAN AS MATT LAPORTA
"He's a very good teammate and a good worker who's dedicated and committed to baseball. And he has very good raw power. He mis-hits balls out of the ballpark."
"That guy is the mayor of Akron. When the rest of us strike out, we get booed. When he strikes out, he gets golf claps."
"When you're on Wall Street or working on big transactions, you learn tolerance for risk. Sometimes people think of risk as a bad word. As long as you weigh it carefully, risk is necessary in order for your decisions to work out. You just want to set it up to where the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks."
"That is why Cleveland stands out. Mark (Shapiro) has the complete support of his ownership, so he is comfortable finishing last if it means he can be proactive in moving players and positioning for the future. That is why I absolutely believe Casey Blake and Paul Byrd will both be traded, also."
"The Delmon trade really started our transformation because of the areas we were able to address. The first two years, knowing we couldn't compete, was just collecting as many players as we could irrespective of fit. The pendulum shifted this offseason, and the emphasis became much more about constructing a 25-man roster."
FOCUSING ON WHAT'S IMPORTANT: FAN VOTING!
"It's a distraction. But it's worth it. ... I was doing five, six, seven [interviews] a day and at the same time trying to figure out how to play baseball. It was kind of tough. You go out there and you want to do so well to make sure that [fans] go vote for you. It's kind of hard, because you put so much pressure on yourself."
"We wanted to show Corey we were behind him. It's a big moment for him, and we wanted to show him we're glad he made it. It's a credit to the league and the fans for noticing what he's doing."
HE IS FUELED BY YOUR HATRED OF HIM
"I'm not trying to finagle anything; I don't have a strategy. What gets me going is the feeling slighted I get. I don't feel respected on the field. I feel I get bad calls. Fans see what's on ESPN, they see what's written in the paper, and it's never anything good."
"They have their image that they made of me, and that's what it is. They don't want it to change. I'm that guy. You got your Terrell Owens in football, you've got your Ron Artest in basketball, you've got your Milton Bradley in baseball."
"If it was a white guy in his situation, what would they be saying?"
"We all know it's there."
"It'd be silly for anybody to say that race doesn't play an issue. It would be a naïve outlook."
"If somebody out there doesn't believe there's a God, or doesn't believe God can make a difference, you've got two prime examples right here."
IS HE UNAWARE HIS TEAM WON NINE IN A ROW?
"It's going to be hard with me and Ryan out. I mean, they're playing well right now, but how long can they go without both of us? The injury that Ryan has, we never know when he's going to come back. I saw a guy walk off the field with a concussion and he hasn't been back yet-three years ago. And now with me just one thing after another, who knows when I'm going to come back?"
"I certainly think so. The most important thing he has brought to the table is to change the mentality. He's helped us rediscover our identity as a team. Jerry's making us feel like we're the greatest players in the world."
"It's nice to get that kind of support. He told us in his first meeting, 'If you're right, I'll get your back. If you're wrong, you're on your own.'"
"He's got a good sense of the pulse of the team. He's an excellent motivator, and as far as going out there and playing, he has a plan for us. He communicates that plan well with us, but we have to go out there and execute. Lately we've been executing as a whole, and it shows in the win-loss column."
"He's a great guy. Love him as a person, as a player. Great guy, great guy. I think he's a great, great player. A player no one really talks about, but he always does his job. Driving in 80, 90, 100 runs, hits 25, 30 home runs, plays hard."
UP FOR GOOD...
"He hasn't been through a lot of adversity, and that's not taking anything away from him. Sometimes you learn from going through adversity. For example, for me, my workouts come from going through all my injuries. I didn't want to be injured because this is what I wanted to do for a long time and this is what pays my bills."
"There's a reason why very few people come to this level and just dominate. It's very, very difficult to do on an everyday deal. It's something you have to learn. And there's not a level in the minor leagues that teaches you how to win. Each level teaches you something different, but none of them teaches you the one thing you have to have and that is how to win."
"Last year he started to understand the challenge that it was going (to be) to take the ball every fifth day. The learning curve that he is going through is one he is taking ownership of. He has learned firsthand through adversity and has been committed and trusting of the feedback given. He's doing a good job."
...DOWN FOR GOOD
"Typically, I have a very optimistic tone. In this case, it's hard to envision this getting to a point where it's going to work for us and for him."
"It doesn't sound too good."
"After the pitch to Rollins, it was pretty clear he couldn't follow all the way through. He was pulling everything. That's why I looked in there and said something."
"He was a tough man. He was a great Yankee, but probably more importantly he was a great friend. He always put others first. He played the game the right way. He got what life was about, and that was making life better for the people around you."
"Everybody gets all caught up in numbers. I'm more concerned with how can he help us win games on a day-to-day basis, and that won't show up on the stat sheet."
"That's one I actually called. I said to Dave, 'We've got two outs. How about Billy drawing a walk and then you going boom? Fortunately, it happened. That's good for us."
"I guess I can say that they have engaged us in the past and I've told them that I have too many people, maybe not too many people with the same ability, but too many people at the same spot that you have a lot of dollars committed to."
"For me, I think what matters is that the team gets the win-also, going five or six innings without any earned runs isn't that bad, is it?"
"We completely support trying to clean up the problems that have taken place, but there's no truth to any involvement regarding anyone here."
"You don't want to be in the situation where you wake up one morning and Johan Santana has won eight games all season and you owe him $150 million. That's the thing. You see a lot of guys for $150 million, but we're going to stick with what we're doing. We're going to take a lot of heat from you and everybody else, but I think you're starting to see it."
"Hank had been the best man at Ralph's wedding. Hank had been the best
man at one of Ralph's weddings."
"I just heard he had a ton of talent. And then getting a chance to see him play, you can just see that he's one of those guys that uses talent."
"I don't think we have to commit to future lineups. The issue that's just as big is getting Gary back in his game and grinding it out just isn't doing it. There are times to grind it out and see if a guy's going to get on track and there's times to get off the treadmill. We're at that point now with Gary. We're not getting Gary to where he should be."
"Watching me hit and run is like watching Manute Bol shoot a three-pointer; it's not a pleasant sight."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.