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August 18, 2008

The Week in Quotes

August 11-17

by Alex Carnevale

THEY'RE FIVE GAMES OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS, HANK

"No team I've ever seen in baseball has been decimated like this. It would kill any team. Imagine the Red Sox without [Josh] Beckett and [Jon] Lester. Pitching is 70 percent of the game. Wang won 19 games two straight years. Chamberlain became the most dominating pitcher in baseball. You can't lose two guys like that."
- Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner

"I'm more familiar with comments like, 'This is the time to show what we're made of' or 'Champions are built on overcoming adversity like this.' I was a little surprised by it. I'm not criticizing Hank. But it seems like it would be more Steinbrenner-like if he were to challenge them."
-Former Yankee media relations director Marty Appel

"I'm not writing off this season. They're trying hard to win. There's only so much you can do. They're not supermen."
-Steinbrenner

"If we don't make it this year, I'm not going to explode."
-Steinbrenner, likely disappointing potentially already-disappointed Yankee fans.

"We're going to win it next year. If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we'll do that. We'll do whatever we need to do. Next year we'll be extremely dangerous."
-Steinbrenner (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)

"It has to start today. We have to do everything right to win. We have to pitch, we have to play defense, we have to base-run. We have to hit with runners in scoring position and work the starter and try to knock them out early. There's no magic potion to it. We have to play good baseball."
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

OLYMPIC GLORY

"They have these little soda biscuits inside, these little crackers, and we were just sitting there eating crackers the whole time. Every time you would think you would run out, they would bring more. I don't know where they get them from, but that's truly what we did, we just ate crackers for four hours."
-US pitcher Jeremy Cummings, on what his team did in the rain delay during Team USA's game against the Netherlands.

"Everybody's crammed in there; we just talked and let the hours go by I guess. Team bonding."
-US pitcher Stephen Strasburg

"In my wildest imagination, I didn't think they would throw at my player's coconut."
-USA Olympic team manager Davey Johnson, on a Cuban pitcher throwing at Jayson Nix' head. (Ben Shpigel, The New York Times)

"During the second rain delay I was handed an appendix to the rules. It was then that we learned if there was a delay of 90 minutes or more that the game can be called. It wasn't signed. I don't know if we could have gotten back in the game, but with the bases loaded and no outs, I can't say that we would not have put any runs on the board."
-Dutch Manager Robert Eenhoorn, on rule confusion in his team's 7-0 loss. (Dan Steinberg, Washington Post)

THIS COUNTS AS HARMONY IN DODGERLAND

"Vin Scully talks too much."
- Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent, on Vin Scully's argument that batting in front of Manny Ramirez was helping Kent.

"Listen, I'm so tired of talking about this stuff. It diminishes my whole career and all the hard work. I take it as an insult. I'm 40. You don't get better when you are 40."
-Kent

"It's so pathetic. You guys write about things happening in a week's time. That's why we don't like you. Baseball is a six-month game."
-Kent

"I've been here four years, and I have never seen Vin Scully down here in the clubhouse. How does Vin Scully know me? How does Vin Scully know Derek Lowe?"
-Kent

"I think it's helped him. Jeff is a good enough hitter in his own right, and being a good hitter he has the patience to take advantage of a pitcher who doesn't want to walk the guy who bats ahead of Manny."
- Dodgers manager Joe Torre

"Everyone says I'm hitting now because some guy says so on TV?"
-Kent

"I'm learning a lot from Manny. He's always talking about what the pitcher is doing. Hey, he's one of the best right-handed hitters in the game. Who better to listen to? He talks about baseball all the time. I try to learn from people that have been there and done that. They know what it takes to succeed."
- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, on the influence of left fielder Manny Ramirez.

"It's not a joke. It's his philosophy. It works."
-Kemp, on "go deep in the count," which Ramirez has been known to chant in the clubhouse. (T.J. Simers, Los Angeles Times)

RANDY HENDRICKS IS AN EVIL BASTARD...RIGHT?

"The minute Brian Matusz signed with Baltimore, I called Randy Hendricks and said Brian Matusz, the fourth player taken in the country, the first [pitcher] taken in the country, just signed with Baltimore. We are prepared to do a deal within that framework if you want to talk about a Matusz deal. He responded via e-mail that he had no interest in the Matusz deal, and he had no interest in a deal below Matusz."
- Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, on negotiations with the ninth overall selection, right-hander Aaron Crow.

"Their final offer was not a major league contract. They had previously offered a major league contract at a much lower total number. They were the only team that let the difference of several hundred thousand dollars get in the way of signing their top pick."
-Crow's agent, Randy Hendricks

"We went with the market. When Castro signed at $2.075 [million], we reacted and we moved. When Matusz signed, we reacted and we moved. When Gordon Beckham signed, we reacted and we moved. We did not stick with, 'Well, that's the way it was coming in.' Because last year all those guys got $1.8 to $2.1 [million]. When Beckham got $2.6 and Matusz got $3.2, we went right with whatever the market was."
-Bowden

"I did call the father last night after our $3.5 [million] was rejected. We sent an email to Aaron and I made a phone call to the dad prior to 12 just to say, 'I just want to make sure that you're aware that you all rejected $3.5 [million] and we hope you reconsider because we really want you a National... We also had a conversation-and it did get them upset-but we wanted to make sure that when we did get the $9 million offer, one of our scouts did contact the dad just to let him know, you're really at $9 million here with a day to go."
-Bowden

"We just want to get the best players. When it was our turn to pick, it was clear that Aaron Crow was the player we wanted to take. We have no regrets over taking him. We only regret that we weren't able to sign him. We just wanted to sign him."
-Bowden (Chico Harlan, Washington Post)

DRAFT DEADLINE SHENANIGANS

"We greatly appreciate the faith Pedro and his family have placed in the Pirates organization."
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly on the $6 million deal given to first rounder Pedro Alvarez.

"It became clear that Tanner's financial expectations were not in line with the risks presented by Tanner's current status as a pitcher in the early stages of a rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, Tanner's rehabilitation program timeline changed dramatically from what his representative presented to us prior to the draft. Had Tanner been able to demonstrate that he was fully recovered, we are confident that we could have found common ground."
- Pirates general manager Neil Huntington (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"Stay relaxed and don't panic. They'll get something done. And even if they don't, you'll still be playing baseball. Hey, it's an honor and a privilege to know him and to go to his home in the winter and hit in his batting cage."
- Reds first-rounder Yonder Alonso, on Alex Rodriguez' advice to him before he signed with the Reds. (Hal McCoy, Dayton Daily News)

"I guess I'd categorize it as somewhat troubling. The market, unfortunately, forces you to be very aggressive if you want to be competitive. But at the end of the day, I feel great about the player."
- Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on signing first rounder Eric Hosmer. (Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star)

IT MADE ME THINK THAT IF WE HAD JUST FED OUR PLAYERS, I'D STILL BE THE MANAGER

"I was really impressed with the way things were run down there. They have nice uniforms, they fed the kids well, there's good talent and they've really got some nice things going on. I realize (the big leagues) are down the road, but they've got skill and athleticism down there. They're working with these kids every day, teaching bunt plays, rundowns, cutoffs and relays. When they come to the United States, they'll have an idea what's going on."
- Former Mariners manager John McLaren, on visiting the Mariners' Venezuelan academy.

"They're asking for the ranch. They want you to take on their contracts and give you prospects. It's one or the other, and they want both."
-Anonymous front office executive, on negotiating with the Mariners (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)

"Maybe the 88 wins last year didn't make as much sense as we thought. We won 88 games and then we added [Erik] Bedard and [Carlos] Silva and thought that would put us on our way. But maybe we over-achieved. Because of the run differential, the 88 wins didn't make a lot of sense, but we still had 88 wins. We thought things would be better."
-McLaren (Kirby Arnold, Everett Herald)

ENCOURAGING NEWS FROM DETROIT

"It felt like my arm exploded, and I thought my career was completely over."
- Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya

"I think it's great news that we got... He blew up scar tissue. It wasn't an elbow, shoulder, or anything like that. From my standpoint, that's great, great news."
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland

"It didn't affect me at all. I think it's pretty lame. I give it all I've got... pitching hurt... people just don't know what we go through."
-Zumaya, on being booed. (Jon Paul Morosi, Detroit Free Press)

THE REST

"This should be a dramatic illustration that we are serious about cementing the long-term success of this franchise through amateur scouting and player development."
- Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino, on the record amount of money spent by the Red Sox in this year's amateur draft.

"In a few years, Melky will be playing in some independent league. Or in the Mexican League."
-Anonymous scout, on Scranton outfielder Melky Cabrera (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)

"I think you always want to improve all your stats. You want to get better each year, in all categories. If you do that, you'll have a long career. That's always the focus for me. I don't think I'm a power guy. I just consider myself a good ballplayer who goes out each day and gives a hard effort."
- Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis (Jeff Goldberg, Hartford Courant)

"The decision to have a Tony bobblehead/Tony Pena Jr. promotion was made back in February and March. When you think about the Royals situation back then, Tony was coming off a very good year and was regarded around the league as one of the top defensive shortstops in baseball. There was really no way of anticipating that he wouldn't be the regular starter now. And when we plan these promotions and carry them out, it's not really performance-based."
- Royals vice president of sales and marketing Mark Tilson, who apparently failed to take warning from a similar ill-fated Rays promotion involving Jason Tyner earlier in the decade. (Jeffrey Flanagan, Kansas City Star)

"With Crawford and Longoria going down simultaneously, I thought I'd make one last vain attempt to reach out to Tampa Bay, and to no avail. That's because Major League Baseball has been successful in their pursuit in blackballing Barry out of the game."
- Barry Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris

"I mean, listen, it's [Hamilton's] year, and why not have him hit a grand slam right there and really screw up ours?"
- Rays manager Joe Maddon, on walking Josh Hamilton to load the bases last night.

"When the guy's AL manager of the year like he's going to be, things go your way."
- Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd, on Maddon's decision to put Hamilton on and pitch to him. (Chicago Tribune)

"To have my number retired next to yours is not only fitting, but truly an honor. We stood next to each other for so many years. We had a great ride. Now we stand side-by-side forever, my friend."
-Former Astro Craig Biggio, on having his number retired next to Jeff Bagwell's. (Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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