September 14, 2009
The Week in Quotes
OZZIE CONTAINS MULTITUDES
"What have I seen from Rios? A lot of outs. The only batting ninth guy making $5 million was me. This motherf--- is making $10, $12, $14 million, he ain't going to be batting ninth. I'm going to make sure he earns his money. But right now I have to put him there because he's struggling. Next year, if we have Rios batting ninth we're in deep shit, once again."
"I mean, you're not going to take anything away from the pitching staffs that we've faced, but we've been facing some pitchers this year it's like, 'Who the [expletive] is this guy? They don't even belong in the [expletive] big leagues, and they just kicked our ass.' I'm not going to lie to anybody. I know who beat us, and I know who should beat us. We've faced some guys where they've called him up, faced us, and get him back to [expletive] Double A, get the [expletive] out of here. That's how bad we've been."
"On February 15 or whatever day it is I report, I'll be in as good of shape as anybody and be ready to pitch and expect nothing less than what I've done in years, which is giving my team a chance to win and work 200-plus innings. That's where I stand."
"I put J.D. [Jermaine Dye] down at six, and it didn't help. And when this team doesn't score, this team looks very, very, very bad. Very slow, no energy, but it's not because we don't have that, it's because we're not hitting. When we hit it's like, 'Oh, OK here we go.'"
WHAT KIND OF JOKER CHOOSES COLLEGE OVER THE AL WEST?
"We were very disappointed that we made a miscalculation in what it would take to sign our number one draft pick. His slot was $1.8 million. We were prepared to pay up to $4 million, which would have been the third-highest bonus ever given to a high school player. That was something we thought he would agree to do."
"We were disappointed that the family insisted on $6 million. The Texas Rangers were not willing to do that. It had nothing to do with MLB restrictions. There is a clear misimpression we didn't sign Matt Purke because MLB wouldn't let us-that's not true. We didn't because of Tom Hicks, Nolan Ryan, and Jon Daniels. We were not willing to go to $6 million."
"As far as Kevin Millwood is concerned, we never gave any consideration to that. We need him to be one of our leaders down the stretch. There have not been any thoughts or discussions with MLB about Kevin's contract for next year, nor will there be. We expect Kevin to be in the rotation next year and have a strong finish to his contract."
"No. Why? That's an odd question."
"That's not going to happen. I would never do that to him. I don't believe it's anything that anybody is thinking about."
YOU CAN START BY LETTING SOMEONE ELSE READ THE NAMES YOU CAN'T PRONOUNCE
"We need to change the draft. I understand it won't be easy. But I also think it's imperative. It's imperative for the health of the game. I feel very strongly about that. ... The draft from time to time has wavered from (its original purpose). The draft should be to level the playing field. Everybody knows that. There ought to be a spirit of fairness. We need to do that. I have a lot of faith in the clubs' ability to draft. But those are two major changes (slotting and the worldwide draft) that I believe, for the health of the sport, must happen."
"Are there other tweaks on the economics? Yes, there is other work to be done. We're doing a lot of studying on it. I know I've been spending a lot of time by myself just going over things."
"Well, I like the unbalanced schedule. I'm the father of that, I guess. We went to divisional play in 1969. I always said-and I believe-that you ought to win in the division. There were a lot of complaints about the balanced schedule, by the way, and I had no complaints when we went back to an unbalanced schedule (in 2001). You can't play more games outside your division than in. Then you've got to ask yourself, 'Why did you go to divisional play in the first place?' But there are things we'll look at. As you go on in time, you see things that happen that you didn't predict. It's up to us to try to change that."
CALL US WHEN HE HAS 4,000
"What can you say? I'm tickled for him. When you start saying names like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, guys like that, it's pretty amazing. Back in the beginning, I had no idea he'd be doing things Gehrig did. Anything Lou Gehrig did was out of sight for anybody. Even with his abbreviated numbers, a guy who played every day like that. It's tough to do that anymore. Players rarely stay with one team for their careers."
"This kid came with his 'A' personality all the time. His competitiveness just never stopped. That's something you have to admire."
"I was on second base, and he came over and said, 'If you played us 162 games, you'd hit over .500.' I've had some success against the Yankees; that's a team I've enjoyed playing against. Anyway, he asked me how I was doing. Then he said, 'No matter what happens, stay positive.' Then he said it again. From that day on, he'd come over and talk to me like I was a veteran, a peer... There was another time we were facing Mike Mussina in New York. I stayed on a cutter and hit it to right field. He came over and said, 'Nice swing. Not a lot of hitters would have stayed on it that long.' Something like that means a lot to a young guy."
"I still don't see Derek playing anywhere but shortstop. He's in tremendous shape, he's got great legs and he moves well. I project Derek being a shortstop from the first day until he's done."
HIS HALL OF FAME SPEECH WILL BE DELIVERED AS 200 SEPARATE HAIKUS
"One thing I was preparing for was for Junior not to get the 200-hit ball because he would write silly things on it. But he did get the ball, and he did write silly things on it."
"When I break a record, I never feel satisfaction. I strongly feel expectation from Japan and my records are things that I feel Japan [believes] they must have. I always want to feel satisfaction, but when I accomplish a record, I only feel relief."
"I believe you [US media] guys have seen the situation here with the [Japanese] media and the expectation. I think you can tell that. For me, it has not allowed me to not accomplish [the record]. That is why I feel this way."
"The answer to that, I would say, is no. I can't give you an example of something we would do differently. I think we have to fairly give Jason Heyward a chance to be Jason Heyward. I think he is his own person, with his own personal makeup... with the similarity that they're both hometown guys."
"We can try to prepare Jason Heyward for what's coming. I think one of the things that we have going for us is Jason is a very level-headed kid. I think he's able to handle just about anything. That's not to infer that Jeff [Francoeur] wasn't. I just don't know that we can manage it to the degree that we would like."
"We definitely feel that, with all respect to McCann and those guys, that Jason can be the face of that organization in the future. He wants to give back to the community. I think with the percentage of African-Americans in the major leagues now being low, that definitely is important to Jason. Obviously being in Atlanta, I think it will help. If you look at him and you have the likes of Hank Aaron, Terry Pendleton, and David Justice before him, he's the up-and-coming prospect."
Evidently, he was carried at one year in all his records up until the point we were notified. It's not an Astros mistake, but something from his background. It's not a big deal to me at this point in time. He's still a premium closer. Adding that extra year to his age at this point of time is of no great consequence."
"I never doubted he was hurt. The only thing I had a problem with was his work ethic. If you're hurting, you can still go outside and run. You can still attend meetings. You can help young kids on how to pitch certain guys. You can be on time. That's all. He didn't go to meetings. He didn't do anything."
"An [sic] 'One Baseball' column last week by Tyler Kepner, the Times' Yankees beat writer, confirmed the newspaper's new journalism. In a previous analysis, Kepner had used the unusable (for reporters) word 'I.' In his more recent column he confirmed that the Times was no longer playing by its long valued standards. Kepner seemed to go out of his way to use 'I' to show that he could. In his first sentence, he wrote parenthetically, 'I wish I remembered who.' The sentence added nothing to the column; the column would not have suffered without it. At least two editors read that sentence and left it in the column, demonstrating the freedom Times reporters now have in the decline and fall of a once-great newspaper."
"I feel like I've been throwing the ball real well-it's just a little discomfort. It gets tight on me the day after I throw."
"The day I become mediocre on a regular basis, I'm probably going to ride off into the sunset. Because I don't have fun playing the game at the level I'm playing at now."
"He wants to be liked, and he gets along so well with his teammates because he doesn't say anything negative to them. It's as if he validates them, a player of his state saying only positive things to them, so they must belong here."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.