A minor league announcer has an on-air tirade about replacement umpiring and a blown call, Cory Lidle is brutally honest about Barry Bonds, there's a brawl in an A's-Angels game, and more.
"There's no score in the game, they clearly struck out Scott on a checked swing that appeared to be in the dirt, but when [batter Luke] Scott started to trot to first, [catcher Jamie] Burke had already flipped the ball to the home plate umpire, and was on the way to the dugout and they couldn't retrieve the ball and the umpire was hanging on to it. I think once the umpire gets involved in the play, by catching the ball, the inning is over. If the umpire blew the call, then the inning is over, folks." --KEBC radio announcer Jim Byers, during the Oklahoma-Round Rock game on May 3rd, when umpires blew a dropped strike call (KEBC)
Some Mets come to Omar Minaya's rescue amid allegations he only wants Latino players, Bud Selig says "nay" to an MLB-sanctioned celebration of Bonds passing Ruth, the White Sox/Angels get into it again, and Greg Maddux is smart.
"When you are a first, there will be some people that are uncomfortable with the fact that you are a first, and they will try to create non-baseball issues if they have the opportunity. I just see that as people that are uncomfortable with the fact that there's a Hispanic in a position of authority. ... It is what it is." --Mets GM Omar Minaya, on his perceived Latin-heavy roster (Sacramento Bee)
Eric Byrnes and Bill Lee are strange birds, Jeffrey Maier (remember him?) is in the news again, and MLB has quickly renounced Forbes' most recent financial figures.
"That really stuck out and bothered me. To hear that something that happened when you are 12 would be the highlight of your life seems a little bit harsh. While I won't say that was the sole motivation shaping who I am today, I will say that it did sort of get to me. One more stick. One more stick to throw into the fire. It kind of pushed me into a competitive nature." --Wesleyan student Jeff Maier, who turned a fly ball into a home run in 1996 for the Yankees, on Tony Kornheiser saying that his life had peaked at 12 (Boston Globe)
The Nationals start to fall apart, Jason Isringhausen may get coddled a bit, steroids are still in the news, and Leo Mazzone has his work cut out for him.
"We're not going to sit here and watch another 10 games like the 10 games we've already had. We have to right the ship. They have to right the ship. And if they don't, then we can release guys, we can trade guys. We'll do what it takes to get better." --Nationals' GM Jim Bowden, on the team's early struggles (Washington Post)
A few closers are in the news because of their music preferences, and two others are in the news because of a job switch. Also: Tommy Lasorda's fed up with all the cheating, and the Devil Rays might not be so Devilish any more.
"I know Mariano's got it. Lord forbid, the Earth should crumble if two people have it." --Mets closer Billy Wagner, on entering the game to Metallica's "Enter Sandman." Yankee fans were outraged on talk radio shows, insisting Rivera be the only one to use the song (New York Daily News)
Steroids are still in the news, spring training is over, baseball is still talking about closers, and Eddie Guardado is a prankster.
"I never specifically mentioned Sammy (Sosa) as a steroid user, but he's definitely a red-flag guy in an era when a lot of guys were abusing steroids. He looked the part and acted the part, and now that there's testing, he got smaller, he can't hit it out of the park, and he's out of work." --former Cub Mark Grace, clarifying comments he made last week about Sammy Sosa (Arlington Heights Daily Herald)
Johnny Damon and Bronson Arroyo both react to Arroyo's trade, Jeff Bagwell's shoulder is in the news again, and the Nationals may have a left fielder.
"I bought a house that I could not afford at the time, in Boston because they said, `We're going to keep you, we'll get something done real soon.' This was right after we won the World Series [in 2004]. Obviously, that never happened. After they didn't come to me during the  season, my loyalty to them wasn't there anymore either. I felt the loyalty from them was gone." --Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon, reacting to the Bronson Arroyo trade (Hartford Courant)
Baseball says goodbye to Kirby Puckett, David Wells doesn't think much of Bud Selig, Carl Everett sounds off about his former team, and Tony Womack feels slighted.
"This is a sad day for the Minnesota Twins, Major League Baseball and baseball fans everywhere. Eloise and I loved Kirby deeply. Kirby's impact on the Twins organization, State of Minnesota and Upper Midwest is significant and goes well beyond his role in helping the Twins win two World Championships. A tremendous teammate, Kirby will always be remembered for his never-ending hustle, infectious personality, trademark smile and commitment to the community. There will never be another 'Puck'." --Twins owner Carl Pohlad, on former Twin Kirby Puckett's passing away on Monday (MLB.com)
Tony La Russa wonders about the manager's role in a championship season, Barry Bonds puts a dress on, the Marlins lose to a pitching machine, and Johnny Damon promises not to go after Jason Varitek in a brawl.
"The machine was outstanding." --Marlins' minor league pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal, on a pitching machine that recorded five strikeouts in an intrasquad game (Palm Beach Post)
The Boss predicts a World Series win, Frank Thomas gets into it with Kenny Williams, Jim Rice wonders what a Hall of Famer is, and Billy Wagner reflects on Philadelphia.
"Every time the Yankees go to Spring Training, you have to be thinking World Series. It's not a disrespect to any other team, but I think it's just the understanding of the pressure that goes along with playing here." --Yankees manager Joe Torre (MLB.com)
Ozzie Guillen is in the news again, Barry Bonds retracts a retirement threat, players deal with arbitration, and spring training has finally arrived.
"Alex was kissing Latino people's (butts). He knew he wasn't going to play for the Dominicans; he's not a Dominican!" --White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in Sports Illustrated, on Alex Rodriguez's initial desire to play for the Dominican team in the WBC (New York Daily News)