OPEN-AIR BASEBALL IN MINNESOTA: WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
"The best part is that it's outside."
—Twins fan Calvin Dauner at the opening of Target Field.
"I'm overwhelmed by what I see. It's so much better than I expected. When we walked in I said, 'The best is that it's ours. I don't have to get in my car and drive six hours."'
—Calvin's father Scot Dauner.
"We learned a little bit about the wall, how the ball is carrying. It could be different when we get back. It's one of those things where you learn as you go. The biggest thing for us will just be being comfortable—knowing how to get here and where our lockers are at. All of those other things away from the field that can end up making a difference, too."
—Twins first baseman Justin Morneau on how Target Field will play.
"I didn't feel any puddles, not one. I didn't feel any water out there at all running. No sloshing, nothing. It was as if it never rained."
—Michael Cuddyer on the quick draining field. (SI.com)
JUST MAKE SURE HE DOESN'T SWEAR YOU UNDER OATH
"I'm going to be talking to him in the cage. I'm going to be warming him up. I'm going to take a picture with him, if he'll let me. It'll be exciting."
—Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez on receiving the ceremonial first pitch from U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Being an African-American person, I'm excited just to meet him. He basically broke down the barrier. It's over-gratifying just to meet him and be in the same room with the man."
—Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan on meeting the president.
"Last year, I kind of struggled Opening Day. It was new to me. I tried to do too much, I think. This time around, it's going to be exciting. It's home. I'll go out there and throw as if it's a regular game—which it is, you know?"
—Nationals opening day starter John Lannan (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
IT'S NOT EXACTLY EXTENDING JOE MAUER, BUT IT STILL FEELS GOOD
"It just means that we're going to try to win. [The Blue Jays and ownership have] pretty savvy business people and they obviously know what takes to win in the Canadian market. I don't think they'd do this for any other reason but to put a champion out on the field."
—Blue Jays outfielder Adam Lind upon signing a four-year, $18-million dollar contract.
"We've talked about committing to a core group of young players to be a part of a championship team this year and beyond. Usually it's a position player, but it's notable that today we're sitting next to a starting pitcher."
—Rangers general manager Jon Daniels upon signing pitcher Scott Feldman to a contract extension through 2012.
"Adam Lind is a hard-working player, a good person, a smart baseball player. The more I've been around Adam, I've been really amazed with his baseball intellect, his intelligence, the things that he observes."
—Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos on locking up Lind.
"Scott Feldman came through our system, he's going through a few different styles and different roles, now he's our Opening Day pitcher, and we think he'll be a big part of our team for years to come."
DUSTY MARCHES ON TO ANOTHER VICTIM
"Neither Walt nor I have ever had a player that didn't have any professional experience, but he's special. He's a different young man. He's poised and disciplined. His pitch selection, his control, his command are far beyond his years."
—Reds manager Dusty Baker on last year's first round pick Mike Leake making the team's rotation.
"We're very confident in his ability to pitch at a high level. He demonstrated that this spring. We drafted him with the idea he was going to be a guy that would get to the big leagues quick. We didn't figure it would be this quick."
—Reds general manager Walt Jocketty
"I had the inner confidence that it was going to happen. I had to just keep it in me and not let anyone else see that I was thinking that. It's a quiet confidence I have that I try not to let people see. I go about my business."
—Reds starter Mike Leake (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
"I think it's messed up. They're going to go on 50 at-bats after three years of what I've done here? It's ridiculous. A lot of other guys have had bad springs. This is a joke. The fact is, this team has no power and they've just released a guy who [averaged 28 homers] the last three years. That's amazing."
—free agent outfielder Jack Cust, on his release by the Oakland A's. (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)
"Nothing strangulates a sports club more than having older players on long contracts, because once they stop performing, they become immovable. And as they become older, the risk of injury becomes exponential. It’s less costly to bring [on] a young player. If it doesn’t work, you can go and find the next guy, and the next guy. The downside risk is lower, and the upside much higher. It’s almost like he is managing a mutual fund.”
—Athletics general manager Billy Beane on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Simon Kuper, Financial Times)
"I'm not going to become more driven by Tex making it. I'm happy for Tex; he's one of my closest friends. But if I need somebody else's success to motivate me, I don't deserve to win a World Series. It's got to come from within me."
—Rangers third baseman Michael Young on Mark Teixeira's world championship in 2009. (Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News)
"The numbers don’t show how good I felt out there. It was one bad inning, and you can get over it and you are ready to start the season."
—Mets starter Jonathon Niese on his last outing of the spring. (Mike Puma, New York Post)
“If the injuries are not critical, and we don’t have people that underperform, then I don’t think there’s a reason that we shouldn’t be capable of winning 92 games. I just feel like it is a reasonable figure. … I don’t believe I’m just pulling a figure out of the sky."
—Rangers president Nolan Ryan, on his team's chances. (SI.com)
"If I was a pitcher, I wouldn't have any idea what to do. I'd throw four pitches in the dirt, hoping he would swing at three of them. And Albert wouldn't, which is why they had to give Matt Holliday $100 million to hit behind him."
—Cuddyer offering his advice on how to attack Albert Pujols. (Patrick Reusse, Sacramento Bee)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.