September 8, 2008
The Week in Quotes
SHOULD WE BE AFRAID HE'S USING A GAMBLING ANALOGY?
"I'm not ready to concede anything. But my main thing is, we're not going to put all of our chips on 'Red 79.' We're not going to put all our chips on 2009, because we put all of our chips on 2008 and it didn't work out."
"If I have my way, the plan will be that we're not going to make a splash in 2009. We want the ability to contend on a continuing, year-by-year-by-year basis."
"The people I talk to, all of them are surprised our record is as poor as it is this year. But they tell me, 'Part of your reputation the last few years is that you put all your eggs in one basket, thinking that you're closer than you are. Is that still the case?"
"It's my view that this is not just a tweaking, and we'll be there competing [for a title]. I feel that we need to do this on a fundamental basis."
HE EVEN LOOKS LIKE A TORTOISE, AND HE'S WINNING THE RACE
"I told [Ethier] to just bear with me. I also told him how proud I am for how far he's come, and just bear with me while I get a feel for how long it's going to take. It can't take a month. We have to make up our minds in smaller increments."
"Over the last 16 games, we're .500. It's one of those Dramamine trips. Strap yourself in, because that's what's going to happen this time of year."
"In Andruw's case, I want to see more of what I've seen some of. Keep in mind, if you go back to the start, Andruw was a huge part because of what he brings to the table, and I'm not about to ignore that. We signed the guy for a reason: his experience, being on championship clubs. But he's struggling. That's where the dilemma is for who gets most of the action. If I saw no progress it would be an easier decision to make."
"A lot of times when I was in Tampa, I was really angry, because I'm away from my team, and I'm down there not getting the support that you feel you need to be successful."
"You know people are doubting you that should be helping you. You know people are kicking you when you're down, and they should be picking you up. That's the nature of this environment."
"I wish I had been smart enough to just get it right. Say something, make sure something was taken care of, instead of just keeping pitching and thinking it was going to get better."
"When they reported I had rotator cuff tendonitis, I actually had a stress fracture in my humerus bone. It wasn't rotator cuff tendonitis. It was just misdiagnosed until I got to Dr. Andrews."
A LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND
"They had to go through all that red tape; that's why I had to go get all these opinions. It was crazy. And I had to walk around with my heart in my throat: 'Are you serious? You're messing with my career here.' You think I wanted to have Tommy John surgery? But I knew I needed it, and I knew I could come back from it. That's why I was all for it."
"I would have been back seven weeks earlier this year. That would have been a considerable amount of time to help the team."
"That doesn't mean the ligament was gone yet. Bone chips usually mean there's an unstable ligament, but that doesn't mean you can't pitch another 10 years without having Tommy John."
"Obviously, his stuff now is not that good, but he's going out there and competing, he's going after guys. There are guys with way better stuff than he has that don't go after people like that. The guy's got heart and he wants to win. I'll take that any day."
"I haven't gone into an offseason upbeat and feeling good about myself since I've been here. I want an offseason where I know that when I pick up the ball, I'm going to feel good."
VIVA THE SCORING REVOLUTION
"There could be possible reviews to see if there's a better way of doing it where there's not all the pressure put on one individual."
"I thought of it before this play. It's not just because of this. There's... too many changes, and too many people involved."
"It was not a very good explanation in my mind, because, number one, the ball was not spinning, the ball was rolling. There's a huge difference."
"It's a lot easier for a left-handed pitcher to go to the third-base line and make that throw than a right-handed pitcher. The explanation didn't cover it for me, but, again, it's water under the bridge and it's all said and done."
IS HIS BUDDY LA RUSSA AVAILABLE?
"I hope I sign an extension shortly. I don't know if that's going to happen or not. I want to manage a few more years, and I want to manage the Tigers. Is that going to happen? I have no idea. That will be up to somebody else. I have a contract for next year. I don't even know if I'm going to be here next year. We could all get fired. But do I want to manage? Yes. And I want to manage the Tigers."
"I think our model is fine. We just need it tweaked. We need to get [Joel] Zumaya back, we need to get [Jeremy] Bonderman back, we need to see what we've got in Willis, and I think we'll be pretty damn good. I think we'll be real good."
"We kind of jumped back and went, 'Oh, wow, we've got all these expectations.' And all of a sudden, if you're not careful, you can start that, 'Oh, it's not me! It's not me! It's not me!'
"That's not to be critical of somebody else. The players aren't dumb. They're smart. You couldn't expect those guys to fill in for Rodney or Zumaya. They're not capable of that. And if I know that, and you know that-which you do -then the players know that. It's reality."
"I know Justin Verlander is not an excuse-maker. But I don't want the perception that he is. I had a nice conversation with him yesterday. I told him, 'It doesn't matter what I think, you don't want the perception from the fans or the media that you are an excuse-maker. Sometimes you have to cut it off.'"
"You need to have the ability every once in a while to say, 'I stunk,' not that the strike zone was tight. You have to say, 'You know what? I was horseshit.' It's OK, because we're all horseshit from time to time. It's good to admit that you're horseshit sometimes. You turn the page and try to move on. Diversionary tactics are not good."
"It's no time to be tired. There's a freshness here [in Seattle] because it's cool. When you have that cool air, your body feels different."
"I looked up once and I saw 69 or 68 in the sixth or seventh-it might have been seventh-and I was thinking 'Man, I threw more pitches than that.' I had some quick innings, some ground balls. [I] wasn't trying to strike a lot of guys out, just trying to throw the ball down in the zone and get some ground balls."
"I said a lot of stuff because I was frustrated and angry. We'll see when September is over. If I'm the starting catcher, yeah, I'd come back. You never know. We'll see what happens."
"There's probably 800 players in the big leagues, and the odds of me being involved were probably 2-1. It's funny. Somehow I find myself in those situations all the time. It was just nice to get the right call and get a fair ruling."
"You knew it almost had to be a home run to end it, because it didn't seem like anybody was getting anything going. We knew if someone got just one good pitch to hit, maybe we could hit a home run and that would be it."
"We knew Minnesota had lost. The bottom line is to worry about our own business, and we've done a good job of doing that."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.