BOTTOM OF THE NINTH
BEST SEASON EVER
"To talk about it on May 21 is ridiculous. I could be hit by a truck
tomorrow, then what? ‘He was on his way, but, damn, he got hit by a
—Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder, on his chances of
breaking the single-season home-run record
"Guys work out all year round now. We have personal trainers–we all do.
Guys don’t want to go on breaks. The game has changed. When we came in the
game, a second baseman was a 4-foot-2 slap-hitter. Now you have second
basemen that hit 40 home runs. I don’t know what they’re feeding these
"What I’d heard was that he was standoffish and not a good
teammate, but I found it far from the truth. I talk to him, and he’s a
great dude, way better than I thought as a person. I knew what he could
do on the field, and it’s still amazing."
—Wayne Gomes, Giants pitcher
"I’ve always liked him. Everyone has a different personality, and I
respect everybody. Everyone is not going to treat you the same, but that
doesn’t mean they disrespect you. I refrain from judging people."
—John Vander Wal, Giants outfielder
"Just look at it. I was leading national TV spots for a month. He’s barely
leading the sports. Right there says that the magnitude is a lot less. He
doesn’t have people going through his locker looking for stuff and looking
for bad things. In one sense, he’s had it a lot easier with the media,
which I thought would be more difficult. Unfortunately, he’s getting the
media but not the way I did. If I didn’t make myself accessible, I’d get
hammered. The media shies away from him."
—Mark McGwire, Cardinals infielder
"I can’t even express my feelings. I think some of them got some cheap
shots in on my rib cage. So many years of frustration, I guess. That kind
of got to me."
–Bonds, emotional over the pile-up of teammates that greeted
him when he hit home run #71
BEST LEADOFF HITTER EVER
"To be in a class with Babe Ruth, you can’t ask for anything more. Walks
have been underappreciated. It’s lost in the stats sheets. It lost its
appeal somewhere. Another thing lost in the stats is on-base percentage.
That’s the most important thing in baseball. If nobody’s on base, nobody
—Rickey Henderson, Padres outfielder, on his walk record
"Then I’ll have a good meal after the game, either the clubhouse buffet or
at a restaurant someplace. I’ll eat a steak sometimes, sure. But not too
much. I always leave something on the plate. Never eat till I’m full; pick
here and there, eat small, eat often."
"Why you talk about when a player wanna quit? What is that player’s
ability? How much does he enjoy the game? Can he still compete? My
grandmother didn’t stop working when she was 40, and my mom sure didn’t,
either. There is nothing in life that says you have to quit at a certain
"If you play as a team and win as a team and lose as a team, you score the
runs as a team. Maybe I’m the one that gets the number that goes with the
record, but the team is most important."
OFFSEASON OF THE WORST IDEA EVER
"If the Twins are contracted many will feel loss and sadness. No one,
however, will feel that more than our family. It will be a sadness and
sense of failure that no amount of money will cure."
—Jim Pohlad, son of Twins owner Carl Pohlad, who may
receive $250 million to disband the Twins, in a letter to Twins employees
"It’s the system. It’s a very easy answer. I have an eight-year-old
granddaughter who could answer that question after she looks at the
—Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, asked how successful
businessmen could manage to lose money as baseball-franchise owners
"I think Bud should look in the mirror. He’s been saying for five
years…that he’s going to fix baseball, and I’ve seen him do nothing to
—Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota, on Selig’s comments that fans of
franchises facing contraction should "look in the mirror"
"The summary information they have turned over to us is meaningless in the
absence of learning details concerning related-party transactions’
salaries and fees received by the owners and their families, and the impact of
stadium-acquisition loans by stadiums. In essence, what they have told us
is, ‘We lose money, but we can’t trust you with the details.’"
–Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., during Congressional hearings on restricting
baseball’s antitrust exemption
"These issues are painful, very painful. No question about it. My
sensitivity to these matters is always shaped by my own personal
experience. But as commissioner, there’s always a responsibility to deal
with our problems. So I’ll deal with them, as commissioner. But it doesn’t
make my job any easier."
–Selig, who moved the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee in 1970, on his
memories of the Braves breaking his heart in 1965
"St. Louis is closer to Minneapolis than Milwaukee is. Are the [Boston]
Red Sox going to benefit if Montreal is contracted? No. I don’t think the
Brewers would gain, either. It’s so outrageous and not worthy of comment."
–Selig, on the potential conflict of
interest between his partial ownership share of the Brewers and the
contraction of the Twins, who are a little more than 600 miles away from
St. Louis and a little more than 300 miles from Milwaukee (driving
"Now, the thing I don’t understand is that in the last one, Carl had a
proposal that would pay for more than 80 percent of the stadium. Well,
gosh, nobody’s ever done that before. That’s remarkable."
SPOKE TOO SOON
"There’s a new attitude over here this year. We want to win, and we don’t
need anybody coming in here and talking about your teammates like that.
You don’t do that on winning teams."
—Derek Bell, Pirates outfielder, on John Vander Wal’s
request to be traded after the Pirates signed Bell to a contract before the
"He’s never been an everyday player. If you haven’t been playing everyday,
stick to your role."
–Bell, who played in 10 more games than Vander Wal did in 2000, and
played 100 games less over the 2001 season
"Even if [Tim Raines] doesn’t make the club, the fact that he is in camp
will help a lot of guys – Peter Bergeron, Orlando Cabrera, a lot of guys
who, in the minors, didn’t have any idea how to take a walk. … Raines is
a master. I’d like to see that happen before I get on, see a couple of
those guys with a .400 on-base percentage."
—Felipe Alou, former Expos manager, on having outfielder
Tim Raines in spring training for the Expos
"It is very tough for a ballplayer to get proud and to keep his dignity.
There is not much difference between love and hate."
—Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners outfielder, through a translator, on
Alex Rodriguez being booed on his return to Seattle
PREDICTION OF NOTE
"Last year, I had a lot of health problems. My production went down a
little bit because of the injuries. But I’m going to come back and put up
great numbers. I’m excited."
—Juan Gonzalez, free agent outfielder, on taking a one-year
deal from the Indians for the 2001 season
LAUGHING AT BAD SITUATIONS
TRY THE VEAL, IT’S DELICIOUS
"Triples are overrated–too much running. I’m not a big triples guy. The
only way I’m going to hit a triple is if it rattles around, the guy kicks
it, or if a little bird comes down and gets it, and moves it to left
—Adam Dunn, Reds outfielder
"[Charles Johnson] will never bunt as long as I’m manager. That’s etched
in stone. If I bunt Charles Johnson, put me in an insane asylum… where I
may be headed anyway."
—John Boles, former Marlins manager
"To Derek’s credit, he’s given us every effort. He works hard. He does
everything he’s asked to do. He just needs to get healthy. People will say
the Derek Bell signing was bad. But given Derek Bell’s track record,
nobody could have predicted Derek Bell was going to hit .130."
—Lloyd McClendon, Pirates manager, in June
"The things I did may be overreaction by me. Hey, it’s not like Bill Selby
is chopped liver. It was just that we had the lead, and I wanted my best
defense in place. I was wanting to win that one so bad. It was no harm, no
—Bob Boone, Reds manager, on switching Juan Castro
and Bill Selby between second base and shortstop three times in one
inning to keep Castro in front of likely balls in play
"Some people say the 50-homer season was fluke, but nothing that takes six
months to accomplish can be considered a fluke."
—Brady Anderson, former Orioles outfielder, on his hopes for being picked
up after his release by the team
"We don’t have a 40 home run guy anymore… We have to reduce mistakes,
take advantage of every opportunity we get… We need to improve on moving
runners over from second to third and our base running. There can be an
eight- to 10-game swing in a season just from base running."
—Syd Thrift, Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations
CAN WE STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS?
SOMEONE SIGN HIM SO I’LL GET MORE THAN ONE GREAT QUOTE FROM HIM NEXT YEAR
"I’ve been probably the best player in the world, the worst player in the
world, disregarded, nobody wanted me to play for them, sent down to the
independent league, rumors, this and that, that and this and I will
probably be the only individual where no one has ever known who I really
am. It will be interesting. Read the book."
—Jose Canseco, White Sox designated hitter, on his forthcoming (and
"It’s the best defensive team I’ve ever played for, and I’ve been on some
good ones. We have the best pitching. Our offense is the most disciplined –
well, except for me and Ichiro. I mean, Ichi and I swing at anything, but the
rest of these guys are veteran hitters who know how to play and what it takes
—Bret Boone, Mariners infielder
"I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven, especially after being a
dumbass and signing with the Dodgers last year, which was the dumbest
mistake I ever made in my life."
—F.P. Santangelo, Athletics infielder
"I don’t play this game for them. I play it for my teammates. Being a real
fan means taking your bumps and bruises along the way. I’ve got more
respect for them if they boo me every time instead of only cheering when I
do something good."
—Marvin Benard, Giants outfielder, on San Francisco fans who
regularly boo him but who cheered a home run
"I’m surprised how well I did today. I had a good pasta dinner last night.
Maybe I walked past somebody with a bug. I’m surprised I was able to
pitch. I felt like somebody beat me up for two days."
—David Wells, White Sox pitcher, on being sick and pitching six
innings for a win
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