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February 2, 2009

The Week in Quotes

January 26-February 1

by Alex Carnevale

BOOMER WILL PUNCH THAT 68-YEAR-OLD PUNK RIGHT IN THE FACE

"What we do as athletes, that's our problem and our business. And a lot of guys have come out and destroyed that. That's why they don't have any friends. ... People just don't do it, and that's what Joe did. When you break the code, you're a punk. If he broke the code, he's a punk, absolutely."
-Former Yankee pitcher David Wells, on Joe Torre and Tom Verducci's tell-all about his years as manager of the New York Yankees.

"The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to."
-Dodgers manager Joe Torre, in The Yankee Years.

"Joe ran his thing, he called guys out from time to time. But it's just something you do indoors. He says you'll never hear anything from him in the media or in the paper. And that was BS."
-Wells, on Torre writing a tell-all book.

"Knowing Boomer-I mean Boomer and I would go at it, you know, one-on-one. But we had our Safe At Home Dinner in New York in November. And Boomer and I ran into each other, actually, on our last trip to San Diego. And he said-I said, I want you to come to our dinner, because we're honoring the '98 team at our Safe At Home Dinner in New York. And he says, well, I don't like you, or something to that effect. He says, but I'll go. Yes, I mean that's the kind of relationship we have."
-Torre, in response to Wells' comments.

"He's always saying, 'Boomer being Boomer.' Well, this is Joe being Joe."
-Wells

"New York was the best four years of my career, period ... as far as playing and having a great time. But I've always said from day one, if you weren't Joe's boy, he could care less about you. Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad manager. I just thought he's a bad individual, because of the fact that he didn't treat everybody the same."
-Wells, on how Torre treated him.

"In my book, I didn't dog anybody. I made some jokes, but I didn't really attack any one person. He's pissing a lot of New Yorkers off. He's going to have to deal with that. Maybe when he goes into Shea Stadium, maybe all the Yankee fans want to go over there and rile it up for him."
-Wells, on his book, Perfect I'm Not.

DID HE READ HIS OWN BOOK?

"Joe Torre does not rip anybody in the book. The book really needs to be read in context. Anybody who knows Joe, especially during his time in New York, knows he's a very honest man, and he is very honest in the pages of this book. People also know Joe Torre doesn't go around ripping people, and he doesn't do that in the pages of this book."
-Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci

"The A-fraud thing was more of a joking-type thing. I know Larry Bowa used to take him out to hit ground balls after he had a-maybe a bad night or had made an error-an error. And he says who is it today, is it A-Rod or A-Fraud, you know? And it was right there in front of him. It wasn't like anything was said behind his back."
-Torre, on Larry King Live.

"He needs the game. He needs all of those statistics. He needs every record imaginable. And he needs people to make a fuss over him. And he's always going to put up numbers because he's too good. It means a lot to him, and good for him."
-Torre, on A-Rod, in The Yankee Years.

"He laughed at the stuff because he is so beyond all of that. Personally he feels like he's in a great space in his life, and felt very comfortable last year in the clubhouse and with his relationship with his teammates."
-A source close to A-Rod

"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."
-Torre, on what would happen if he saw A-Rod.

"It's a last-ditch effort, given [Torre's] diminishing profile. It's one final act of desperation. He probably realized that he made the single biggest mistake of his career leaving the team. Our general feeling on this thing is, is this really the spirit of collaboration that's really the hallmark of a manager? And the obvious answer is, it isn't. I wonder how his current team would feel about the possibilities of another Torre exposé."
-A source close to A-Rod (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)

THIS FROM THE GUY WHO CALLS THE DL 'THE 15-DAY PAVANO'

"Joe has started something that a lot of people are going to have to answer to. Joe's going to have to answer to it too, but it won't be as bad for him, because he's with the Dodgers now. But it's going to be bad for the guys he left behind."
-Former Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina, on the book.

"It's not just what goes on in the clubhouse, it's sitting on the bus, or if you're out having lunch. As a ballplayer you need to know who you have to watch out for, and who you can trust. First and foremost, you should be able to trust your manager."
-Mussina

"It is almost 40 years later. Why in the world anyone is still talking about the sanctity of the clubhouse is beyond me. Baseball and the Yankees should feel lucky that this book is generating so much attention in January."
-Former Yankee and Ball Four author Jim Bouton

"I mean, people knew that Brown was out there, and that Randy was ornery all the time. And Pavano is whoever he is. But if you're their manager, you can't go out and write about them like that."
-Mussina (Bob Klapisch, The Record)

"There is no job hitting a ball with a stick unless a lot of people are convinced it's important."
-Bouton (Andy Martino, New York Daily News)

WHAT STATS EXACTLY TOLD CASHMAN TO SIGN KEVIN BROWN AND CARL PAVANO?

"Do yourself a favor: never forget there's a heartbeat in this game."
-What Joe Torre told general manager Brian Cashman, from The Yankee Years.

"The Red Sox are the greatest example of why I believe the currency of intellect became the coin of the realm in the revenue-sharing era. I don't want to discount the financial advantages they have over most every team but the Yankees. But brains and money make for a powerful combination."
-Tom Verducci (Alex Belth, SportsIllustrated.com)

"We better win this year. or else a few of us will need to find new jobs.
-Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon (Peter Kerasotis, Florida Today)

WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

"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."
-Former Yankee pitcher Carl Pavano

"I'm not blowing my arm out for this organization."
-What Carl Pavano said to Yankees bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan, from The Yankee Years.

"Pav, this organization gave you $40 million and has been patient with you. What I want to know is, for what organization would you be willing to risk blowing out your arm?"
-What Torre asked Pavano

"I will let President Obama handle the next four years."
-Torre, to Larry King on Friday night.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT HAL WAS THE BRAINS OF THE OPERATION

"From a technical standpoint, I'm the control person. This is a family business, and if we disagree, then chances are we're probably not going to do what we disagree on. We all need to be on the same page. Hank is much more knowledgeable about baseball than I am, so I rely on his advice."
-Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner

"Our payroll's actually going to be lower this year."
-Hal Steinbrenner

"As far as I'm concerned, my philosophy is balance. I know Hank agrees with that too. Emphasis on pitching, but balance though. A balance of good young kids and veterans. You need both."
-Hal Steinbrenner (Mike'd Up, WFAN.com)

I CAN LEAD THIS TEAM TO A LOSING RECORD

"Yeah, the bottom line is, obviously, they want to go in a different direction. Now what that means, I don't know. Are they going to win games this year? No. Obviously we know that going in. You've got to be realistic."
-Free agent Kevin Millar

"I told Dave Trembley a month and a half ago, 'Listen, I'm 37 years old. I'm ready to make that transition and do whatever I can do to help the young guys. If that means playing against left-handers, coming off the bench, whatever.' I told him I'm ready to do whatever I need to do. They decided to go in a different direction, which is surprising to me. I'm not talking about this to sell myself. I'm low risk. I'm a one-year deal. I haven't been on the disabled list in awhile. I get along with everybody."
-Millar, on why the Orioles should sign him.

"To me, when a team says that, it's a little frustrating. I mean, what direction are the Orioles going in differently? If they sign Ty Wigginton tomorrow, or they were talking about Richie Sexson early on ... those guys are great players too, but you have a guy who's already comfortable and knows the personnel inside, so what different direction would you go?"
-Millar (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun)

DOES HE THINK HIS TEAM IS STILL IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE?

"It just seemed to me, to have one team signing three free agents at those high prices, as compared to what the other 29 teams were doing, there was something wrong with the competitive balance in the league. Competitive balance has been great in baseball for the last decade or so, and we have to keep it like that. I am concerned, especially in a bad economy like this, that you have a segmenting out of the haves and the have-nots. When the gap widens between the haves and the have-nots, it throws the competitive balance out of whack."
-Brewers owner Mark Attanasio

"It wasn't so much that I am hung up on a salary cap as I would like to see competitive balance. Whether it is a salary cap or making the luxury tax payments greater, whatever you have to do to keep the competitive balance. What I don't want to do is have people think we need a handout here in Milwaukee. We don't need a handout in Milwaukee, but we do need the playing field to be level."
-Attanasio

"A lot of owners are telling me privately that they agree with me, but I don't see a lot of people speaking up on the issue. It's a free country and you can speak your mind. I really hope this is something that Major League Baseball deals with over the next couple of years. It is important to the future of the game."
-Attanasio

"It has impacted our ability and our willingness to spend money ... because you are just not sure what is going to happen in this economy. Frankly, with everything [that] is going on in this economy, I am getting a little nervous with our payroll at $80 million to $85 million. We are going to try and walk that fine line of spending money responsibly, with an emphasis on the word 'responsibly' and not on the word 'spend.'"
-Attanasio (Sporting News)

THE REST

"David Eckstein is one of the most unimpressive baseball players in the league. He's not big. He's not fast. He's not strong. He has one of the worst arms of any shortstop in the majors. But he's one of the best shortstops in the majors. He prepares more than anyone in the game."
-Braves general manager Frank Wren, on Padres shortstop David Eckstein. (Tim Cottrell, Oanow.com)

"Players' careers are really volatile, so if you're going to invest in a player in free agency-unless it's absolutely the right player-sometimes you want to look for the little valleys in their careers so you can get them on the right turn, rather than buying high. It's not an easy thing to do, and we're not going to hit on all these guys, but if we hit on one or two of them it'll be worthwhile."
-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein (Tom Caron, Boston Globe)

"I don't want to think about it. I have to serve in 2010. I want to help my team win and make the playoffs this year, then I'll think about it."
-Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, on whether he'll return to Korea for compulsory military service. (Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com)

"I speak with Manny every three days, and he tells me, 'Man, no one wants to sign me.' I'm not an agent or general manager, but I can't understand how Manny has not signed. Maybe St. Louis doesn't have the money to sign him, but he could give them a discount because St. Louis is a great city that supports its players."
-Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (Dionisio Soldevila, USA Today)

"As great as he is, and it's amazing what he does, if you start the evaluation again since I've been here, he has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished the four years before. He blew the World Series in '01. He lost the Boston series. He didn't lose it himself, but we had a chance to win in the ninth and sweep them, and he doesn't do it there. ... That's what I remember about the '04 series."
-Mike Mussina, on Mariano Rivera, from The Yankee Years.

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

4 comments have been left for this article.

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