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December 31, 2009
The Year in Quotes
The Highs and Lows of 2009
SOMEHOW THIS PART OF THE YANKEE VICTORY PARADE HAS FADED FROM MY MEMORIES
"I knew I wasn't taking Tic Tacs. I knew it was something that could perhaps be wrong."
"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."
"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."
"I just know that for me, you know, putting everything out there and being honest was the most important thing."
"It was such a loosey-goosey era. I'm guilty for a lot of things. I'm guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions. And to be quite honest, I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using."
IN THE END, A-ROD WAS JUST A VALUED TEAMMATE, A GREAT THIRD BASEMAN, AND A SPECTACULAR BOYFRIEND
"I used to just crush McDonald's, and I can't do that anymore. I got that from A-Rod. The one thing you can say about [him] is that he's really dedicated to his craft, and he always eats perfect. I saw him eating sweet potatoes one day and I tried it, and I wasn't hungry after, but I didn't feel too full. I was like, 'Wow, it's great to play like this.'"
"Alex used to tell me negative things about other players around the league who were suspected. So it's... I feel very betrayed."
"You know, I've always been a guy that raced my own race."
"Unless I'm just completely off base, I think there would be a hug involved. And I don't think it would be forced by either one of us."
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE CLUBHOUSE
"He's got an interpreter who's outstanding. We haven't missed a thing. Funny story. We had physicals in here the other day, and I'm in here, and he says to me, 'Where are the physicals?' And I said, 'Not here.' So I got him directions. He said, 'One problem-no gas.' No gas in the car? 'No gas.' So I gave him the keys to my car.' He's fit right in with the guys."
"He's not going to punch the clock at work and tag out and say, 'See you all tomorrow.' He's on call 24/7 as a teammate. He exemplifies the definition of teammate. It's not just from when you show up at the ballpark until when you leave. Teammate means friend to him."
"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."
"I was just sort of walking around in the dugout, and they were like, 'Hey, go get your jersey and cleats on because... if Jason gets on second, you're going to pinch-run for him. So I ran up in all in a frenzy and the first thing that came in my head was, 'Road game, we're away.' So I got down there and [Francona's] like, you got the wrong jersey on. I was like, 'Oh my God,' so I had to run back up here, put the blue one on. Finally I got back down there-obviously I got back down there an at-bat late-but I went out there anyway."
"It's kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you've got to figure, how much longer till you sink?"
"In our clubhouse, everybody makes fun of me. I'm talking about from the clubhouse kid, to every coach, Larry, Mike, Joe Torre. Every guy on the team. And I like it. I like taking it. I am not a good ragger, but I am a good receiver. That's really a compliment the guys feel that comfortable that they can actually make fun of me at any time. So did I hear A-Fraud? We joked around about a lot of things. Listen, 25 guys have 25 different nicknames. So to me there's no harm, no foul there."
THE SOUNDBYTER OF THE YEAR RETURNS FOR AN ENCORE PERFORMANCE
"We've taken some educated gambles on pitchers that are geared to build that depth now, at the right price, rather than during the season, when it's very difficult to do and you have to give up prospects."
"There's a tendency on the heels of some of those buy-low, one-year deals not working out to go in the other direction, and say we're not going to do that, we're going to avoid anyone who's coming off a bad season or anyone who's got health concerns."
"But the reality is, you sign one-year, buy-low deals for a reason, because a lot of them don't work out, but they provide you flexibility. So when they do work out, hopefully you have an option and you can keep that player for next year. If they don't work out, you move on and you have flexibility both during that season and in future years to address needs."
"How we're going to play in October, nobody can answer that. The track record of a lot of these players is that they answer the bell when it matters most. We'll see if they do or if they don't. I hope we do, but that's not based on a feeling any one person has at the end of the year. It's based on how good we are and whether we play well when it matters most."
AT THE VERY LEAST, WE KNOW 24 SCOUTS ARE PLEASED AS PUNCH
"The biggest thing that people forget is that when Toronto won the World Series, they had the highest payroll in baseball. There's a direct equivalent to that. If we're going to play in the big man's division, and we're not going to spend that money, it's going to be really hard for us to compete with those teams."
"I don't wake up every day and say, 'Oh my God, I'm holding on.' That's working in fear, and I've never done anything in fear. I'm proud of what we've done here, and if it's not good enough, it's not good enough. There's too many good things going on here that we made good decisions on to shake my confidence."
"The arrow is pointing up with this organization. It may not seem that way right now, but there's a lot to look forward to. In terms of a direction and plan and so on, I'll probably have that for you guys down the road. I can't really give you a timeline right now. We're going to sit down with Paul and Tony and Cito and the staff and get everybody's input, and we'll have a direction going forward."
"Let's say the value of our franchise is $500 million. The Yankees spent that on three players last off-season. So it doesn't matter who sits in my role, the division is not going to change, that's the reality."
HINDSIGHT AND ALL OF THAT
"Let him be around a little more and see what transpires before he makes assumptions. I've lost total respect for this guy. If he had something to say, let him say it to me. I don't have much respect for Steve Phillips."
"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."
"I'm really more worried about how I'm doing than how McCarthy is doing. I know he's had some health problems, so I wish him the best, and hopefully, he can stay healthy."
"That's all crap. Wake up and smell the coffee. If he's on national television on ESPN and throws 91 on the 22nd pitch, why would you think if he comes in in the eighth inning protecting a 4-3 lead [he'd throw 96]? Stop, he's a starter."
"I went in his office one day and I said, 'We want to get to your contract here at some point.' And he said, 'I'm not worried about it. I know when the club plays well, you get rewarded for it.'"
MY PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN ROUNDLY UNDERRATED
"We did take the loss, but I think that my pitching was not completely bad."
-Indians president Paul Dolan, on his fired manager Eric Wedge
"Dunn was the most misunderstood player I have heard about in recent memory. The way he was misconstrued was almost unbelievable. He plays banged up. He'd go out there 162 games if you'd let him... He's not a cheerleader, but if there is still such a thing as a leader by example in this game, he is it. He's a pillar in the clubhouse. He really wants to learn to be a good first baseman."
"For a guy that did a pretty good job around here, I caught a lot of shit. There was a lot of people hanging around who haven't done quite the job but don't catch the shit at all."
A GREAT YEAR FOR QUOTES IN QUEENS
"I know he did have a team meeting with them. It was not a 'you-guys-have-been-great meeting.' I know he spoke to them in a stern voice. But as far as what he was wearing, what kind of shoes he was wearing, I don't know anything about that."
"Earlier in the process, when the reports came out, I had to kind of tell myself, 'Wow, this is coming out.' And I say this because coming from Adam Rubin-OK? And Adam-you've got to understand this-Adam, for the past couple of years, has lobbied for a player development position. He has lobbied myself. He has lobbied Tony. So when these things came out, I was a little bit... I had to think about it. And I was a little bit, somewhat, 'Let's find out about this. We really have to do a thorough investigation of this.'"
"Jerry's a very smart man. He'll never just blurt anything out for the sake of blurting it out. He'll always let you know what he's thinking, and as a player that's a good thing. You always like to know where you stand."
"When you reflect back on what we've lost, then you have to feel good about where we are. When you reflect back on some of the losses we've had, then you've got to be somewhat discouraged about where you are."
"Let's be clear-we have an edge. Our edge is different from maybe other teams. There's different definitions of edge or leadership. We play the game different from other guys. Some guys are serious. Some guys are happy. Some guys are blue collar."
"Yankee Stadium is somewhat palatial-it certainly wants you to think so on the outside. It's very grandiose. The architecture at Citi Field is much more casual to me, and relaxed. But again, there's always been something much more relaxed and casual about the Mets."
IS THE MEDIA PART OF THE PROBLEM? LET'S ASK THESE PLEASANT FELLOWS
"I will also carry with me the cold, hard realization that my life has been turned upside down by a news media that prints entire stories attributed solely to anonymous sources who refuse to be identified and who are free to allege anything they choose for any purpose without fear of retribution. One can only understand the impact of false allegations, insinuations, and innuendos by the press if they themselves have been the subject of those false allegations."
"I think I always had the Yankees in my sights, and one thing that my agent and I had asked every single team is, we're not going to negotiate through the media, and we ask you not to. The Yankees were really the only team that did that. The other teams went out and told everybody their offers, and told everybody they're gonna talk to me, that they've made this call, and they made that trip, and they did that. The Yankees just kind of kept quiet. We talked with them all throughout the offseason, and when they were ready to make their final offer, it was a great offer, and my wife and I were very excited about going to New York."
"I can see already I'm going to be 'that guy' that since nothing else is going on in here, 'We're going to harp on Bradley all year and see if we can get him to snap.' I'm not going to go for it. You can't get a good story if I don't talk to [the media]. You'll make something up, like you always do."
"Are you the only one who still likes me?"
IT'S NO 'SCIENCE OF HITTING', BUT THEY MIGHT BE ONTO SOMETHING
"I told somebody in the dugout, only me could rob me. But when he went up and I saw the ball disappear, I thought he caught it. I put my head down and acted like I knew it was a home run."
"I wasn't thinking to pull the ball at all. He was throwing me off-speed inside, and I kept hooking it, so I said, 'Just stay on the outside pitch.' And when it got 3-2, I was just thinking of getting on base and trying to win this game."
"The stiffness is the beginning of the process."
"Probably the most relaxed I've been. I was on a lot of drugs during the game, [and] I don't remember a whole lot."
"It's tough, because number one, he's a position player, and you don't want him to get you out, and number two, you don't know what he's going to throw."
"If you're going to make it up here, you can't miss spots by a foot to a foot and a half and expect to have success. We're up against it right now, but he's got to pitch. If you miss, you have to miss in the right area. You certainly can't miss by a foot-and-a-half to two feet. That's ridiculous. I know it's not easy, but this is the best of the best, and only the ones who execute survive."
"I would add nothing at all. Down the line, if there's an injury, you can add something. Right now, we're fine. You tell me what we need for this team. Big bats aren't always the answer. If something is missing, please tell me, because we had the big bat last year, and we didn't win it all. The chicks-dig-the-long-ball era is over. You want athletes, guys who can play and stay healthy, and that's what we have."
SO MANY WAYS TO PLAY THE SAME GAME
"In this profession, we are all teachers at heart, and because of that we study methods and techniques of other coaches, and leaders in other fields. Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, so we all try to find something that we think will work for us to maximize the efficiency and production in our own situations. To Joe's credit, he is doing something about it. I had never thought of a billiard tournament. That's pretty good."
"A big thrill for me. I really enjoyed that. I had a nice, long talk with him. We compared notes about what we do, how we do it, how many meetings we have. He's a brilliant guy, so down-to-earth. He seems to have that star-like Brady-but he seems to have some dirtballs that really play the game right. They're winners, you know? He seems to know how to get those guys. I thought that was very interesting.""
"Asians are not as physically strong as their western rivals. Nor are they as explosive. But strength sufficient is not enough to defeat the reflexes that their players have developed; and explosiveness in itself cannot compensate for the methodology and sangfroid of their athletes."
"When you don't give the other team any runs, that is a shortcut to victory."
CHAOS IN YOUR LOCAL FRONT OFFICE
"Just a terrible idea by [Red Sox senior vice president] Sarah McKenna, that was the person who came up with this idea, very stupid of her. And if she pulls another act like that, she can go down to Pawtucket."
"I've enjoyed working with Kevin over the last six months immensely. I have great respect for him. This is not someone getting shoved out the door, but rather this is about a decision for the organization for the long-term. He's been told that he can office here, he can stay here for as long as he's comfortable being around. This is a person I care about, I've enjoyed working with, and I understand that there's a strong likelihood that he'll end up being a general manager elsewhere."
"First, I'd rather live in my world than yours ... is it sunny out today? No you're right, it is 30-something degrees, my girlfriend dumped me, and my car won't start. First, it is not that we stink (unless you ask yourself these questions in the mirror). We make decisions based on scouts, stats, and other information. If we thought [Khalil] Greene was going to hit .213 we would not, I repeat, not make the deal. Go back to your world, and I hope by midsummer you're ready to come out for air."
BUT BUD SAID THERE WAS NO RECESSION BETWEEN APRIL AND NOVEMBER!
"Our goals are no longer financial."
"As we were planning for the season, we circled this series as one of the most compelling of the year. It's a rare privilege to host a rematch of the World Series, especially against a team with local connections. Based on all the information we had, we projected full houses. It's a huge miss."
"It would be a Florida Marlins kind of story. Everything would have to go right."
"Don't get me wrong, I don't feel bad, I feel guilty. I've been thinking about it. I'm making $10 million and doing nothing. It's like I'm just taking the Dodgers' money."
THE BEST OF THE REST
"My idea, when I saw him, was to say, 'What's up?' to him. But I got nervous. You know, he has that kind of aura about him. So I got nervous and I didn't say that to him. I was a little disappointed about that."
"I am extremely disappointed that someone I had a lot of respect for would make these types of comments in his upcoming book. I wish nothing but the best for Joe Torre and my former Yankee teammates, but with that said, it does explain why I haven't received any Christmas cards from Joe the last few years."
"He was raised in a Christian home. He believes that God don't make mistakes. ... And if that door in Chicago closes for him, he thinks another one will open. It always does."
"I've had Albert Belle. I've had Carl Everett, Frank Thomas, whatever. I think from what I've learned, is that those men dealt strictly in truth."
"Um, last night, I took a couple of drinks."
"I'll remember that for the rest of my life, I'm sure. He's one of the all-time greatest players, I think. One of the more respected players, too. That's why I got a little emotional when I struck him out."
"I have a lot of guys who think I'm out of my mind because I'm taking a lot of things not on the list. I take 10 to 12 different things a day, and on the days I pitch, there's four more things. There's a caffeine drink I take from a company that Curt Schilling introduced me to in '05. I take some Korean ginseng and a few other proteins out there that are not certified. But I haven't failed any tests, so I figured I'm good."
"I knew Cuba was a good team, but particularly there was nothing I was too worried about. While I was doing the warming up, did I look so fierce? I thought I had a smile on my face, did I not?"
"If you stop playing, people are going to forget about you, no matter who you are."
Alex Carnevale is contributor to Baseball Prospectus.