November 16, 2009
The Week in Quotes
BLUEBERRY PANCAKES ARE KNOWN AS THE CASHMAN AT THE CHICAGO AIRPORT HILTON
"I never leave my room no matter where it is, anyway, so it doesn't really matter to me. It's room to room. Have you ever seen me leave these places with tans? Have you ever seen me with golf clubs?"
"Brian has his way of doing things. There are a few people around he gets input from. I'm one of those guys."
"One thing we talked about is our responsibility to the game. We'd like to spend more time during the year determining what works and what doesn't work. Obviously, we have our own self-interest in our clubs, but at some point you have to look at a broader view of what's good for the game."
"I don't want to say that I'm a quote, 'traditionalist,' because I'm in favor of it the way it is. But if you keep expanding it, it gets into areas where I'm not comfortable. Look, umpires are going to make bad calls. I just don't want to get too much into other plays. I'm happy with the way it is right now."
"I'm big on technology. I'm open to any way we can help the umpires. We want what the umpires want-to get the calls right. If the Commissioner's office and the umps' union decides we already have the best format, then this is the best format. If there's a better way, we'll discuss it and pursue it, and we'll leave it in their hands."
THESE FELLOWS MISSED THE KEGGER IN BRIAN'S ROOM
"We're listening to a lot of different things. People are talking to us about different stuff. I think we're open-minded, based on the fact that we didn't win a championship."
"We are constantly trying to find ways to make this a better meeting. We discussed various ways of meeting, including more than one time a year, including in smaller groups. We're going to continue to work with the GMs about making these meetings more forthcoming, more fruitful in discussions. When you get such a large group together in one room, sometimes the issues we talk about in a side [group] so easily are not as readily discussed."
"The big names are always going to get their money. But the second wave of free agents is really an aside to the fact that some teams are force-feeding their young players. All of a sudden there's a risk/reward to keeping some of your older players. There are more and more clubs deciding that their backup catcher, their middle-inning reliever, their utility infielder or their number five starting pitcher is going to be a young guy. Whether that's done to balance the books or to keep a nest egg of young players is up to the individual club."
"I feel very comfortable in saying there are generally a lot of conversations at these meetings, and this year there were really a lot."
AT LEAST SOMEONE IS HAVING A GOOD TIME
"So the real truth of baseball right now is a lot of teams are starting to identify their ownerships from the following perspective: that they have an ownership that's going to pay off their debt by getting the revenue sharing and money they're getting from central baseball-$80-90 million a year-and they're going to turn around and draw 1.5-2 million [fans], make $40 or $50 a head. All of a sudden, they're sitting there with $200 million in revenues and they're spending $50 million, $60 million, $70 million on players. Those are obviously owners that are going to have to be looked at."
"I'm not here to put ceilings on players. But certainly, I think the comparison of the type of players they are and the impact they could bring... . It's there for the two of them.''
"I think the most important thing about Jason Bay is that he is truly the most complete player in this free-agent class. I don't think, I know."
"I represent Matt Holliday, and I'll serve as an advocate. I don't know what criteria [Urbon] is looking at. All I can tell you is that I've been around baseball for a long time, and the reality is that Matt Holliday is a complete player."
"We've seen a number of teams that are just sitting back. We have clubs who aren't successful getting $80 million before they ever sell a ticket. The question is always going to be, in the end, what are they doing with that money? For most of them, they're paying off their debt to purchase the franchise. So they become owners, debt-free, but they have not done a lot to contribute to the success of the game. The fans have to look at it and realize that kind of revenue is available. The other part of it is I think we've proven time and time again that investment in players produces revenue streams and success points for franchises. Even in an economy where many businesses are struggling in our industry, as I said last year, we've been able to keep revenues at a record level."
HE OUTHIT NATE McLOUTH AT PLAYING DEFENSE IN CENTER FIELD
"People said I needed to work on my defense, so I was coming out early and working on it and showed what I could do. It means a lot to me. I take as much pride in my defense as my offensive game. If you can save a run and help your team win a game, it's just as big as hitting a home run or a game-winning hit."
"When I went to the Dominican, I didn't just try to work on my offense. I tried to work on my defense as well. It helps me a little bit more over there because the ground's a little bit rough and you have harder bounces, and so you've got to get used to playing those tough bounces. When it comes to a regular field, it made it seem a little easier for me."
"He had a great year. He has great range, great hands. His throwing improved. The range over there is so good that he makes all the plays. If we need to get out of an inning-if it's not a strikeout-then we say, 'Hit it to Zimmerman.'"
"Not one club mentioned anything about [defense]. I think it becomes a talking point, because it's worth talking about and dissecting and evaluating, but at the end of the day, his ability to play a consistent left field, clubs are well aware of it. I haven't heard any issue or concern about whether or not the player can play defense in a bigger park, a smaller park, an East Coast park, a West Coast park. It really wasn't an issue."
"It was something that slipped through the cracks. We had a lot of things happening last year. We came in under budget [on the overall construction of Citi Field], so why not make it right?"
"It was a lot different this time. Watching it, I was actually happy."
"It would be awfully narrow thinking of me to turn down the best offer because of the fact it came from within our division. Now, if we had strictly apples-and-apples offers for Halladay, one from Boston, one from another team, it would not be Boston. If we made a deal, we owe it to our fans to obtain the best deal possible."
"We felt like the strength of our ballclub was the starting rotation, and we wanted to continue to have that as our strength. Now we have the ability to go out and continue to mold our ballclub. Quite frankly, I don't know what it's going to look like on Opening Day, but it's starting to take form. This is the first step."
"I only spent one hour at the hotel thinking about what to do. I made the decision, stepped away from the hotel, and got into the car. Everything was planned from a few months before the tournament. I discussed the idea with a friend and made the decision to do it. Never thought about doing it during the classic. It was something that I was seeking before the Classic, but I didn't want to do it in the Classic."
"I had a good season. I can't complain about it. I hit for the cycle, I played second base for the LA Dodgers, Jackie Robinson's team. It couldn't have ended any better."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.