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February 9, 2009
The Week in Quotes
A GOD FALLS TO EARTH
"We are disturbed by the allegations contained in the Sports Illustrated news story which was posted online this morning. Because the survey testing that took place in 2003 was intended to be non-disciplinary and anonymous, we can not make any comment on the accuracy of this report as it pertains to the player named. Based on the results of the 2003 tests, Major League Baseball was able to institute a mandatory random-testing program with penalties in 2004. Major League Baseball and the Players Association have improved the drug-testing program on several occasions so that it is now the toughest program in professional sports. The program bans stimulants, such as amphetamines, as well as steroids. Any allegation of tipping that took place under prior iterations of the program is of grave concern to Major League Baseball, as such behavior would constitute a serious breach of our agreement. Under Commissioner Selig's leadership, Major League Baseball remains fully committed to the elimination of the use of performance-enhancing substances from baseball. As the Commissioner has said, we will continue to do everything within our power to eliminate the use of such drugs and to protect the integrity of the program."
"I think in the climate that we have today, you don't have much shock anymore. Obviously, Alex probably is the best player in baseball. This has always been a special talent, and the guy has been putting up Hall of Fame numbers since the day he showed up in the big leagues. It saddens me. I've been in the game for almost 40 years and it hurts a little bit, if in fact this is true."
"Alex is the best player in the game. People gravitate towards negativity with him because that's the only way you hold somebody down who's that good."
"His legacy, now, is gone. He'll just play it out. Now he's a worker. Do your job, collect your paycheck, and when you're finished playing, go away. That's what it is."
BUCK, YOU POOR LITTLE MICROMANAGER
"In the locker room there is a lot of down-time, and a lot of stuff gets talked about. It would not be completely honest to say you don't ask questions about players, but mainly people you are playing against or guys you might acquire."
"If he did it, he's got to flat-out admit it, like Giambi. Just come out and say, 'I did it. I'm sorry. I lied.'"
"Looking up at what he's done and his career, I think it's going to affect him. He has the ability at times to tune it out, but he's in a huge media market there in New York. It's going to be a huge story."
"This is going to be relentless. Alex lets little things bother him, and this is definitely not a little thing. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. This is going to be weighing on his mind. This is not going to go just one day. ... If he did it, he's got to face the music. But I feel sorry for what's ahead of him."
IT'S A GOOD THING MOST OF HIS PLAYERS CAN'T READ
"If I'd written the book and talked about ... what happened on the baseball field, it'd be a yawn. Yeah, I may have walked the line a little bit, but I, in my opinion, didn't violate anything. I wanted to give the flavor of the decision-making, and what went into it."
"As far as being invited back, that's certainly not my decision. Whether you want to retire my number, or invite me back for a day, or whatever it is, I can't worry about that. My 12 years in New York were very, very special, the fans were very special, and it's something I will take with me wherever I go and into retirement."
"Joe's done nothing wrong, in my eyes. He's been a father figure to me, so I don't think he can do any wrong."
"It's probably going to be a little reminder to [Torre] moving forward that the media can take this stuff and blow it up to where it suddenly does become a big deal."
"It's a lucky bounce here or there that changes it. If we win the World Series, we're not even sitting here talking a lot about what we're talking about now."
"I really don't. For me to try to qualify something that I don't feel needs to be explained, then I'm saying to myself, I probably shouldn't have done this. And I don't feel that way."
"Tom was around all the time ... we talked all the time about miscellaneous stuff. The stuff he put together could have been spread out over a season or more. We talked a lot about different things. He used quite a bit of it here with Joe."
OUTSIDE OF THE DEREK JETER VOODOO DOLL, I SAW NOTHING UNUSUAL
"I never saw any friction between those two players whatsoever. I never did. I thought, for two superstars at the level that they're supposed to perform at, the kind of people they're supposed to be, the way they're supposed to carry themselves as professional athletes and human beings, I never saw any problem at all. I sat in the same clubhouse, rode the same bus, the same planes-all those things. They sat one row from each other on the airplane. I never saw an issue with those two guys. I don't know if people were hoping it was there, or people were looking for something to talk about, I have no idea. But I never experienced any of it."
"There was not one player on those teams that said those words, never. If we heard it, it was just [Borzello] messing with Alex, and Alex would be right there and he'd be laughing about it. It was never out of disrespect at all. ... It was never said behind his back by any teammate."
"I don't care how talented you are or how much money you make, this is Jeter's ballclub. I think what he tried to do was be close to Derek, and to try to-I don't want to say imitate him-but just try to get a feel of what the personality is supposed to be on this ballclub."
DON'T SECOND GUESS YOURSELF, MIKE, YOU WERE HILARIOUS
"I probably could have approached that better than I did. We're talking about another professional athlete, somebody that has to do the same job that I do. I probably could have done that better."
"I didn't mean to take any stabs at him, I was just making a factual comment."
"I can't put into words how important Mo has been to me as an individual player. ...my accomplishments would not be near what they are, and our team accomplishments as a team would not be what they are, without him pitching the ninth inning."
THEY'D LIKE TO SIGN THE MIDGES OF LAKE ERIE TO A LONG-TERM DEAL
"Our sales right now are very much in flux. We are hopeful they will pick up as we get closer to spring training and the reality of a new baseball season is upon us."
"But there is a sense of caution, and an understanding of what this could mean if it continues."
"We were fortunate to be one of the teams that had some flexibility this offseason. We discussed waiting, but at the time we made the deal in mid-December we thought it was the best option for improving our team."
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW I FEEL, DON'T ASK ME, JUST READ JON HEYMAN
"Ned and I are talking, and we continue to talk. But I'm not talking about any of the transactional behavior that goes on."
"The attendance, even in Los Angeles-because they were averaging around 41,000 or 42,000-it went up to 48,000 or 49,000 the minute he got there. I mean, the very day he got there it went up 6,000. And you're talking about $50 or $60 a head. You're talking about millions of dollars coming to the franchise, the merchandising, and the TV ratings there, which is important for clubs, much like the impact Alex Rodriguez had with the YES Network when he came, which is very meaningful. ... The local cable network in LA went from a 14 share to a 27 share."
"I don't know. This is what I call a methodical market. With Oliver, with Teixeira, with Derek Lowe, these players ended up with market contracts. But it's been something where there's been a greater examination and focus by the teams-a little more patience before they acted. Teams were unsure whether to move in December, or move in January. Now they're starting to get closer to spring training, they have more definition about their franchises, some of their concerns about, 'Where's my season-ticket base?' But you also have to remember, too, that baseball has had record revenues for seven or eight years in a row. There's a lot of hay in the barn for these guys. They just want to make sure they use their wealth and their success in an appropriate way."
"Bradley got a good contract; Ibaņez got a good contract. The contract that blocked the market for corner outfielders was Burrell."
"Talent doesn't have a wristwatch."
"Revenue sharing is not meant for an owner to improve his financial standing."
"Maybe Frank McCourt can raise it to $28 million or $30 million for one year. If he did that and Ramirez walked away, all you can do is shake your head and know you did all you can do."
THEY'RE JUST GOING TO WAIT UNTIL CITIGROUP GOES COMPLETELY BANKRUPT TO SCUTTLE THE DEAL
"Superficially, I understand [the public's reaction]. But the reality is, the TARP recipients were companies the federal government thought were vital to our economy. To continue doing business, they still need to advertise."
"Citi is fully committed to their contract. We're fully committed to them. There's no change in status whatsoever."
"At Citigroup, 50,000 people will lose their jobs. Yet in the boardroom of Citigroup, spending $400 million to put a name on a stadium seems like a good idea."
THEO MISSES HIM EVERY SINGLE DAY
"He would have complemented the core we have here well, no doubt about that. We haven't yet developed a legitimate power hitter internally, but I think we will. It would have been nice, and that was the rationale for our interest, that he would have fit into our club for the long haul."
"We didn't offer him the most money. As it turned out, there was a club that offered more money than we did, and they got the player... I always assume that if the Yankees want a player, they'll get him."
"I thought it was a good sign by the Yankees. Mark did really well for himself, and we'll have to try to figure out how to get him out for the next eight years."
"It's unfair to say that before the season starts. If 'Tek needs rest, that's my responsibility, to know that he needs rest. But that's like saying you're going to pinch-hit for a guy in February. I really don't want to. That's like saying a guy is going to have a tough year before the year starts."
"What I know is that the economy is a factor. There are clubs that want to go with young players and give them a chance. The result is that a significant level of players is still available. [Young players] are cheaper."
"You are way, way too far ahead there. I have to look at how the Dow Jones did today and see the general state of the economy before we start committing large sums of money out there."
"You'd have to prove that [a concerted, orchestrated effort] was the only reason this was going on. So lotsa luck. In this economy? Lotsa luck."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.