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February 23, 2009

The Week in Quotes

February 16-22

by Alex Carnevale

HE WAS USING POLAND SPRING

"I'm not sure what the benefit was. I will say this, when you take any substance or anything, especially in baseball, it's half mental and half physical. If you take this glass of water and you say I'm going to be a better baseball player, if you believe it, you probably will be. So, I certainly felt more energy, but it's hard to say. Hard to say."
-Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, on the effects that steroid use had on his performance.

"I knew I wasn't taking Tic Tacs. I knew it was something that could perhaps be wrong."
-Rodriguez, during his press conference on Monday.

"I love you and I look forward to putting this day behind us and having an amazing season. Because it will be the best season of our lives."
-Rodriguez, to his teammates, who attended the press conference.

"I told this to the players: we're sitting there watching Rodriguez yesterday ... and my son finally turned to me and he says, 'Daddy, this guy is stupid.' That probably says it all."
-Diamondbacks executive Ken Kendrick, on the Rodriguez press conference.

TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK, BRIAN

"I like the fact more when he says he was stupid, not young and naive."
-Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, speaking to the media after A-Rod.

"It was a bad decision that may cost him on so many levels."
-Cashman

"The one thing he could have said was the fact he chose to do this to make himself better ... at what he does on the baseball field. That's the truth."
-Cashman, on what A-Rod left out.

"I don't think Alex is very good at communicating ... whether it's about talking about your game and the impact you had on it after hitting a home run or if he had a tough game at the park, let the team down. Anybody that's been in that clubhouse when he's trying to talk about success or failure on the baseball diamond knows that is something he is not very good at."
-Cashman

"We have nine years of Alex remaining and we want it to be nine terrific years. He is a huge investment. This is an asset that's currently in crisis, and we will do everything we can to protect this asset and move forward with this asset. If this is Humpty Dumpty, we have to put him back together again."
-Cashman

SOME OF US WERE FOCUSING ON BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, AND YET YOU DON'T HEAR AS MUCH ABOUT THAT

"One thing that's irritating and really upsets me a lot is when you hear people say that everybody did it. Everybody wasn't doing it."
-Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on the prevalence of steroid use.

"For a week here, I have been looking for people to blame, and I keep looking at myself at the end of the day. I never saw any other player do it. And I really didn't get involved in any other conversations or heard anything. This is about me, and I'm the one that screwed up, no one else."
-Rodriguez

"As far as all the details, I didn't want to speak from a position of non-factual. I felt I was putting myself out there already with saying the truth. And over the last nine days, I've sat down with my cousin and we've had several conversations-here are the facts, nine days later. I wasn't prepared to say that when I sat down with Peter. Because I really didn't remember, it was a long, long time ago."
-Rodriguez, on why he hadn't told half of the things that he said last Monday to Peter Gammons in their interview.

ARGUABLY STEROIDS HURT HIS STATISTICS

"The one thing that I can lay my pillow at night is I entered this game when I was 18. I had my best year when I was 20, and then I had my other best year when I was in 2007. That foul pole to foul pole is pretty good. I understand the questions and the doubt, and I laid my bed. I'm going to have to sit on it."
-Rodriguez

"As far as Katie [Couric], I reached out to her about 10 days ago. Look, when you are in denial and you're not being honest with yourself it's hard to be honest with Katie. That was a part of me."
-Rodriguez

"I thought since I hadn't heard about it for five years that there was a chance it was OK."
-Rodriguez

SWEET ABSOLUTION

"He told me he certainly didn't mean to infer that there was anything going on in the Texas Rangers clubhouse that was any different than any clubhouse in baseball. And I know that's the truth."
-Rangers owner Tom Hicks, on his conversation with Alex Rodriguez.

"I think we'll peel off an onion and get more and more truth over time. And we'll find out when he started and how long he used and whether it's the same as he says now, or changes his story down the line. We'll just wait and see. … My intuition and my stomach tells me this is just getting started."
-Hicks, on Alex's press conference.

"[He] kind of threw the Texas Rangers under the bus, and he said that wasn't his intention at all."
-Hicks, describing what A-Rod told him.

"He needs to tell young people all the details about the mistakes he made. He had a God-given talent that was good enough to be the best player in baseball anyway."
-Hicks (Stephen Hawkings, Yahoo! Sports)

THEY KEEP SAYING I WAS THE COMMISSIONER AT THIS TIME-IF I WAS, I DON'T RECALL IT

"I don't want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn't care about it. That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I'm sensitive to the criticism. The reason I'm so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we've come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible."
-MLB commissioner Bud Selig, on the "Steroid Era."

"I'm not sure I would have done anything differently. A lot of people say we should have done this or that, and I understand that. They ask me, 'How could you not know?' and I guess in the retrospect of history, that's not an unfair question. But we learned and we've done something about it. When I look back at where we were in '98 and where we are today, I'm proud of the progress we've made."
-Selig

"They all told me none of them ever saw it in the clubhouses, and that their players never spoke about it. Sandy Alderson, as good a baseball man as you'll find, was convinced it was the bat. Others were convinced it was the ball. So a lot of people didn't know."
-Selig, on what other people in Major League Baseball told him about the "Steroid Era."

"On HGH, I'm as frustrated as anyone. Right now, we're funding a program at UCLA with Dr. Don Catlin to come up with a test, any test that's reliable."
-Selig

"Let's just say I'm going to monitor that situation closely. I honestly don't know how anyone could have done more than we've already done."
-Selig, on his approach to future penalties. (Wallace Matthews, Newsday)

IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO USE THE FORCE TO DESTROY HANK STEINBRENNER, BUT LARRY HOLDS BACK

"I do have to fight that darker instinct in me. We have a peaceful and more tranquil training camp these days."
-Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, on gloating about the Yankees' A-Rod problem.

"I try to focus on what we have going here, and not so much the problems that they have down there."
-Lucchino

"I think often of the old baseball cliché that the best deals are the deals you don't make. Not only would A-Rod be a member of the Red Sox presumably, and Manny Ramirez would have been gone, given the success he had in '04 and '07, Jon Lester would have been gone, given the success he's had and his future. Another cliché: it's better to be lucky than good."
-Lucchino (Dennis & Callahan, WEEI.com)

I NO LONGER KNOW HIS NAME

"I received confirmation from MLB yesterday, formally, that the player that we thought was Esmailyn Gonzalez was not. He has some other name, and I'm not exactly sure how to refer to him, so for now I'll just call him "the player to be named later." But his birthday is November 1985. And he's not Esmailyn Gonzalez, 19, he's someone else. I think he will go by Carlos Alvarez, but I'm not sure. And he's 23."
-Nationals president Stan Kasten, on the age fraud that turned Esmailyn Gonzalez, prospect, into Esmailyn Gonzalez, organizational fodder. The Nats signed him for $1.6 million.

"You know, to say I'm disappointed doesn't begin to describe how I feel. I'm angry. I am very angry. We've been defrauded, and make no mistake-this wasn't a college kid with a fake ID that came in and did this. This was a deliberate, premeditated fraud with a lot more to this story, and we are going to get to the bottom of it. There were many, many people involved in this premeditated fraud."
-Kasten

"Within maybe two weeks or three weeks, right in the early stage of the transition, we did not yet own the team, Jim [Bowden] came to me and said his staff had seen this kid, they thought he was special, they thought he would command a premier bonus, and what was our appetite for that. And, obviously none of us had ever seen the kid or heard of the kid. But he described him, the staff described him, and we said, 'Yeah, we want to be aggressive, we'd back you on something like that if that's what everyone feels like.'"
-Kasten, on how it happened.

"So we did support their recommendation, and we went ahead and signed him on the first day we were able to, which was July 2. And that day is significant because that's the date in the year that MLB lets you sign kids born in that year. And this is important-all the MLB procedures were followed. MLB undertakes the responsibility to verify ages and names. After 9/11 they set up an office in the Dominican Republic to do all that. It's still kind of bad down there in terms of identities, but it used to be much, much worse."
-Kasten

THE 'LARRY BOWA WAS MEAN TO ME' CLUB GROWS BY ONE MORE VICTIM

"There were a few people I didn't get along with on the coaching staff that don't respect people. I mean, me and Joe got along fine. I just feel like nobody had my back there. You're in the clubhouse and you have players coming up to you saying coaches are saying this to them about you."
-Red Sox starter Brad Penny, on the coaching staff of his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Is this the same Penny that never went to meetings, that came late, left early, was never in shape, always had an excuse when things didn't go right, didn't help the young kids at all? Coaches get on players when they're lazy and don't work. I think he should worry about getting hitters out in the American League East, and not worry about me."
-Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa

"I'll write about it in my next book."
-Dodgers manager Joe Torre (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)

IT TAKES ONE TO REMOVE ONE

"The doctor saw me and he said we'll see how it feels in the morning. If it wasn't any better, he wanted me to have surgery. I thought, 'Whoaaa.' So I went on my own to the pharmacy, got some tweezers, came home, and pulled it out myself. Let me tell you, I cried. I had one tough hour. But I got it out."
-Royals outfielder Jose Guillen, on removing his ingrown toenail.

"I reached in there [with the tweezers], and poked around until I got the end of it. Then I counted one, two, three, and just pulled. ... Oh, my God. It came out, but tears were running down my cheeks."
-Guillen, on extracting his ingrown toenail.

"I can put pressure on it. It's not painful anymore. We'll see how it grows out now. Hopefully, this won't bother me, and it won't hold me back or anything like that."
-Guillen (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

PUTTING THE ILLOGICAL ICHIRO HATE BEHIND THEM

"It's a tough issue. I never would have thought going in... how could that be? But it's very hard to really identify what the problem is. Some people say it's jealousy. I really don't think players are jealous. What are you jealous of? Everybody is making big money, everyone is having nice careers. There's superstars, and there's stars, and there's regulars, and there's bench players, and there's journeymen. Everyone kind of gravitates to their level."
-Former Mariners interim manager Jim Riggleman, on clubhouse anger towards Ichiro.

"I experienced it, and I still don't have a total feel of why there was a group on the club that just wasn't going to warm up to him. He is a guy that's going to do his thing... but the things that are regimented by the team, he's always there. It's just that he does a lot of things on his own. It's extra work, it's his preparation. He's by himself when he does all that. He doesn't really say a lot to the other players. I think it's a style of play. I think people feel he's not playing the game the way we play it here in America. He's not bunting enough early, he's not running as much as we'd like or whatever. They look at it as he's being selfish, and I don't know that's what it is."
-Riggleman

"I think everyone is going to take a deep breath over the winter. I think everyone probably went home and said, 'You know what, I need to get past that. I need to do my job.' Silva, I see he came in 30 pounds lighter. He must have gone home and said, 'Hey, I've got to stop bitching about Ichiro and get my ass in gear here.'"
-Riggleman (Larry Stone, Seattle Times)

THE LARGE MARKET CLUBS WILL BE DECIDING THIS AS WELL

"I think we all agree that competitive balance is an issue and if there was a way to put together an enlightened form of a salary cap, I think everybody among the ownership parties would support it. I think it's quite possible to put together a partnership between the players and owners going forward. I think it's something that should be at least explored."
-Red Sox owner John Henry

"Along with a few other teams, we're basically baseball's stimulus package."
-Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner

"I think we've seen [an offseason] when the Yankees have spent like the US Congress."
-Larry Lucchino

"As long as we're doing that and giving all this money to other teams in revenue sharing, a staggering amount, we should be able to spend on salaries what we want to. Because of revenue sharing and because of the popularity nationwide, the Yankees are critical to baseball."
-Steinbrenner

THE REST

"Whatever, he needs to perform. It's just the right thing to do. He has [233] home runs the last six years. How can I wear number 44 and let him wear another number? No way. It's the proper thing to do. It happens all the time. If Barry Bonds came in and I wore 25, I would have to give it up."
-Nationals outfielder Lastings Milledge, on giving his number to incoming first baseman Adam Dunn. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

"If you stop playing, people are going to forget about you, no matter who you are."
-Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo (Ian Browne, MLB.com)

"In 1993, 16 years ago, I bought a Ken Griffey Jr. jersey. This is one of my treasures to this day. He has always been a hero to me, and being able to play with him is like a dream come true. Now we share a dream, and that dream is to work hard together and win a World Series."
-Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, on the return of Ken Griffey Jr. to Seattle.

"You see Walt Disney commercials on all the time trying to get people to go to their theme parks. People can't afford it. That's it. So yes, attendance is going to be down. Not only here, but around the whole continental US. And it's going to hurt everybody, not just baseball. It already is."
-Diamondbacks starter Doug Davis (Bill McManaman, Arizona Republic)

"It's nice to go to Subway and get a sandwich now."
-Rays left fielder Carl Crawford, on the respect newly accorded him in the Tampa Bay area. (Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times)

"It was a little annoying and frustrating for the fact that things could've been resolved a little earlier. But I guess sometimes it takes putting on suits and calling each other's bluffs."
-Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, on his arbitration process.

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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