HE WANTED TO WIN AT MILKSHAKES
"We often visited the ice cream parlor in the center of our small town. Each of us would order a milkshake, although I could seldom finish mine. George would insist I take the remainder of the milkshake home. This was accompanied by a lecture from him on the evils of wastefulness."
—Mary Jane Schriver, childhood friend of George Steinbrenner.
"I really wish I could've managed for him. He was a great owner who only wanted to win. That's why I wish I could've worked for him. Through the years, every time I'd win a division title or a championship he'd send me a telegram saying stuff like, ‘You're a genius.' I've kept all of 'em, but the one I especially got a kick out of was when he said: ‘How in the hell did you win with Jose Oquendo in right field when I can't win with Dave Winfield in right field?' "
—Whitey Herzog, former Yankee farmhand and major league manager.
"One day, he fired me for flirting with an employee. But as George often did, a few weeks later he hired me back. He was one of, if not the most, impressive guys I've ever met."
—Former Ohio legislator Pat Sweeney, on working for Steinbrenner. (Brent Larkin, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"I could tell, he was hurt. I felt badly for him. I knew I wasn't gonna see him for a while. I remember hearing a couple of names that he was thinking about choosing for a GM, so I called him and I told him about two names that I thought, 'if you want a real, sincere baseball person, and you want a big name…' – Don Drysdale, and Don Sutton. He called back one time and he said, 'Gene, I remember those two names, we've been kicking those names around that you mentioned before, but we keep coming back to one name.' I said, 'OK.' He said, 'Well aren't you gonna ask who?' I said, 'Well, who?' He said, 'You!'"
—Yankees adviser Gene Michael, on George's reaction to his ban from baseball. (Steve Serby, New York Post)
IF DAVE WINFIELD CAN FORGIVE…
"Ten years after I left, not a spoken word, not an olive branch, nothing. But in around 2000, 2001, I don’t recall the circumstances that brought us together, but we got together in New York City and we talked and laid things out on the table that had never been said before. He apologized to me for the things that he did. It’s almost like you see a curtain drawn back, a veil lifted, just a complete change. And our relationship changed from then on, and we got to know each other real well. I know that over the years, he admired me, he respected me and he liked me. And I did the same with him."
—Former Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield, on how his relationship with Steinbrenner changed after George hired Howie Spira to dig up dirt on him.
"They should have let him pass from being part of the notoriety into the obscurity of old age."
—Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, on Steinbrenner's last years.
"I guess every generation, every moment has the right man for that time, and he was that man. He definitely had the wherewithal to do it as well as the inner desire or makeup… to pretty much bring this organization back to where it had been years before. I think every generation has a need, and when that need arises, the right man shows up. And he was the right man for that moment."
—Rays manager Joe Maddon
"The one thing that really sticks out is whenever there seems to be a problem or a disaster, he seemed to be first and writing the biggest check. I think that’s pretty cool."
—Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on the passing of Steinbrenner. (Peter Abraham, Boston Globe)
HE KNOWS THIS PART DOESN'T COUNT, RIGHT?
"As much as I wanted to win it, in my heart I wanted Papi to win. I wanted him to win because of what he went through early in the season, and because he is a father figure to me. He's always cared for me, always been there no matter what."
—Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, on David Ortiz's victory in the Home Run Derby on Monday.
"I don't want one year. Why should I return for one year and go through the same shit I'm going through now, just because it's my last year? No. I like to be left alone when I'm playing baseball. I know how to clean my shit up."
—Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, on the prospect of playing out the final year of his contract in 2011, which is the Red Sox' team option.
"David is like a brother of mine. If I see him struggling, I have to make that call. If I’m struggling, he'll call me — ‘What the hell’s wrong with you, boy?’ — so I just called him."
—Angels center fielder Torii Hunter
"He's going through tough times right now. But I know he's going to come back in the second half and do what he gets paid to do — hit bombs."
—Ramirez (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)
AVOID FALLING IN WITH TIM LINCECUM AT ALL COSTS
"It's hard to not see the papers and rumors about me and other teams. I think about it. I find myself talking with guys on other teams more — like the Giants. I want to make sure they like me."
—Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, on how he is handling trade rumors. (John Shea, SFGate.com)
"We'd strongly like to make a move, but not just cosmetic. It has to improve the ballclub, and we can do that in the next 15 days. We're not limited to one or the other. We're looking on multiple fronts and have the resources to add multiple parts."
—Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, on his team's plan at the deadline. (Dan Hayes, North County Times)
"If we had Cliff Lee, we wouldn't have Roy Halladay. It's pretty simple. Time and circumstance dictate some of the things you can and cannot do. We just felt like we were in a position to be able to hold one guy and not hold on to the other guy. We had to put ourselves in a position not to leave our club and our organization with the cupboard bare. By moving all of this talent from our organization, it just made it very difficult to continue doing business long-term."
—Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., on the thinking behind dealing Cliff Lee before the season. (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)
STEP TWO IN ATLANTA'S LONG TERM PLAN TO GIVE THE AMERICAN LEAGUE THEIR SHORTSTOPS
"When we looked at it, we said, 'Well, we're either going to go off of three years of track record that Yunel Escobar has showed as a young man, or the three months that he's performed so far.' It's a fresh start for him — a new organization. We did a lot of homework and we feel like this is going to be an environment for him to really thrive."
—Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, on acquiring Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves.
"He's an outstanding defensive shortstop, and he's having a very good offensive season. We think he can improve our run production. He immediately leads our team in home runs."
—Braves general manager Frank Wren on the trade that sent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, reliever Tim Collins, and infielder Tyler Pastornicky to Atlanta.
"We feel that Yunel Escobar will absolutely turn it around. There's certainly an element of risk there, but we feel he has a very good opportunity to turn it around. I think if Yunel Escobar was doing what he did in the past, he's not available to us and this trade does not present itself."
—Anthopoulos (Charles Odom, Associated Press)
OZZIE'S STRICTLY INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING A PROGRAM FOR THE TEEN MARKET
"It's not my show. The way it sounds is I want to be more on TV, I want to be a star. … I don't. I'm on TV every day. I talk to the media every day. I don't need a show for people to know who I am, what I do. I was upset because I don't want people thinking, 'OK, he's worried about his f—— image more than the team.' I don't need a show for people to know me."
—White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on the MLB Network reality series The Club.
"I just called the PR department and told them, 'Listen, can you tell people it's not my show?' If it was 'The Ozzie Guillen Show,' I would be making money off of this. Later on, it will be better because people will find out what the show really is about."
"Hopefully it comes off pretty well and I don't get made fun of too much. It's something I'll take with me to my grave and always remember, just because so many years of hard work brought me there."
—White Sox reliever Sergio Santos, on crying in the premiere of the show.
"There are a lot of interesting things I didn't even know about — like, I've never been in the draft room, how they pick players, how they talk. But the thing about it is when [the outside media] talks about it being 'The Ozzie Show.' Hmmm, really? I'm the guy that appeared the least on there."
—Guillen (Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun-Times)
"I wasn't really struggling. They put balls in play, found holes and made things happen. I felt I threw the ball pretty well. It was just one of those days."
—Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, on giving up seven runs on 10 hits in a loss on July 16th. (ESPN.com)
"I think it's kind of fun to play the heel. Not everything has to be friendly, and we take it seriously whenever we go there. It's not just a game to us — it's our job. When I first was called up in 2007, they won [the division title] on our field, and I still remember that now. I remember them looking at the scoreboard and Cubs fans cheering, everybody in the stands wearing blue. I still remember that, and it meant a lot to me. I guess I probably should let it go, but I'm not an easy forgiver."
—Reds first baseman Joey Votto on his comments about teaming up with Chicago Cub Marlon Byrd on the All-Star team. (C. Trent Rosecrans, CBS Sportsline)
"You can go back and look at every interview I’ve ever done. I’ve always said that I don’t consider myself a home run hitter. I have hit home runs, so it’s hard to say that. It’s more about driving in runs than hitting home runs. If I drove in 100 runs and hit one home run, I mean, I don’t know if I’d be content, but I’d be more … say, satisfied. Obviously you could do better. There;s always more there, but it's about being productive."
—Mets left fielder Jason Bay, on his .418 slugging percentage so far in 2010. (Steve Popper, The Record)
"What is a balk? It is really one of the more ambiguous rules in the game. In honesty, the ones that have been called against us weren't balks and the ones that weren't called [by opposing teams] were. That's the point that we need to get clarified, because it's really an ambiguous rule."
—Rays manager Joe Maddon (Bill Chastain, MLB.com)
"Bengie is a really great big-league player, and unfortunately, people seem to dwell on his lack of speed. Everyone in the big leagues has a weakness, and that just happens to be his."
—Rangers third baseman Michael Young, on new teammate Bengie Molina. (Quinn Roberts, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.