HOT IN HERE, NELLY
"I take full responsibility for everything that goes on in regards to the clubs, and if the club fails, I failed."
—Kenny Williams, White Sox GM
"Unfortunately, as of this date, it looks as if, quite frankly, it's possible that I made a bad decision here and there."
"I can't come up with a legitimate excuse for losing every night. It's foolish to try. We just didn't get it done."
—Hal McRae, Devil Rays manager
"F—the Yankees. Are they supposed to get everyone in baseball?"
—Brian Sabean, Giants GM, on rumors that Jeff Kent might be traded to New York
WITHOUT ME, EMINEM
"It's a tie ballgame in the eighth inning and Edgar's on the bench. Who are you going to go to? Mac? Edgar? I thought about [the cycle] once, but I'm not a home-run hitter. Those things don't faze me. I want to get a ring."
—Mark McLemore, Mariner infielder, on being pinch-hit for while needing only a home run to hit for the cycle
HERO, CHAD KROEGER FEATURING JOSEY SCOTT
"In addition to suspending our club policy which restricts the appearance of neckties on the premises, we've petitioned the league to investigate the prospect of having all our games end in tie scores. We thereby reduce the risk of anyone getting hurt physically or emotionally by the random vagaries associated with on-field losses or extra innings."
—Tom Whaley, St. Paul Saints vice president, on their upcoming "Tie One For The Bud" night
"One thing about it, we weren't going to run out of pitchers."
—Lloyd McClendon, Pirates manager, on having an extra-inning game in Miller Park two days after the All-Star Game
COMPLICATED, AVRIL LAVIGNE
"If a club can't make it, I have to let 'em go. I'm a traditionalist, and I hate all that. It pains me to do it. I just don't have any more alternatives."
—Bud Selig, MLB Commissioner, warning that a team might not make payroll on July 15 and it, along with another, faced bankruptcy before season's end
"People want to question the losses. Nobody who has ever seen the numbers questions them. People ask why we don't share our numbers. Guys, we've shared everything. There's nothing left to share. No one ever questions the veracity of these numbers except those that want to question them for some other reason."
"I'll be frank, I don't know if they'll make it or not."
"I believe that the immediate crisis has been solved regarding the team that could have missed payroll."
—Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's chief operating officer, the next day
"As we stand today, that situation has been addressed. No teams will be missing payroll for the immediate future. We'll just continue to monitor it."
—John McHale, MLB vice president of administration, the next day
"The press reports that suggest that we cook the books and just make up numbers is total nonsense. The losses are very real and there are teams working extremely hard to meet their expenses."
OH BOY, CAM'RON FEATURING JUELZ SANTANA
"Coming to New York and being in first and putting on the pinstripes gives you a poke in the rear end, too. Hopefully, that happens. I've always been a fan of his from afar."
—Joe Torre, Yankees manager, on outfielder Raul Mondesi
"All I got to do is stay in the game and I'll get a 'W'?"
—Jeff Weaver, Yankees pitcher, after his first start with his new team
"He's not a 150-pitch guy like Livan. He's a different guy. He's a power guy with a history of shoulder and elbow troubles. You have to think about the long-term gain and short-term gain. Do you want a complete-game shutout? Yeah, but not at the expense of 130 or 140 pitches."
—Dusty Baker, Giants manger, on pulling pitcher Jason Schmidt after eight shutout innings
"The problem was the young pitching wasn't there and that's doing it almost in reverse. Now I think we have the young pitching that's going to blossom quickly for us so we need to support that with position players that are capable of winning. And I think we'll create that window of opportunity much the same way that Minnesota and Oakland have done."
—Allard Baird, Royals GM
"So no one can say that with $40 million you can't put a winning team on the field."
—David Glass, Royals owner
"I met a very wise man in the business community here who told me, 'It's time to drain the tub and refill it with your own bathwater.' That makes a lot of sense."
—David Samson, Marlins president and owner Jeff Loria's stepson
THE MIDDLE, JIMMY EAT WORLD
"I ate everything. If I had to DH all the time, I'd be 300 pounds by August."
—Derek Jeter, Yankees shortstop, on cleaning out the Yankees clubhouse while DHing July 7th
I'M GONNA BE ALRIGHT, JENNIFER LOPEZ FEATURING NAS
"We just had a verbal altercation, and he just pulled out a gun and shot me–just like that. I didn't have a chance to say anything or defend myself or anything. He just stopped and pulled out a gun and shot me."
—Nick Bierbrodt, Devil Rays pitching prospect, on being shot June 7
"I don't remember seeing the gun, because it happened so quick and it was at night. I remember hearing the shots and I kind of, like, jumped to protect myself inside the car. I looked at my arm and saw blood coming out of it. I told the driver I needed to go to the hospital because I'd been shot."
"I told the guy that was with me, if I didn't make it–because I didn't know the extent of the damage–I honestly didn't even know I was shot in the chest. I thought I just got hit in the arm. I told him if I didn't make it, tell my family I loved them."
"It was pretty quiet after that, and I just started thinking and just tried to remain relaxed. I walked into the emergency room and started losing consciousness after that."
EVERYWHERE, MICHELLE BRANCH
"It's about time! To me, it goes unrecognized and unappreciated. The battle between hitters and pitchers is not just about slugging. It's not just about base hits. It's about matching wits with the pitcher. It's about being selective. It's about being patient. It's about controlling the at-bat. Table-setting is a lost art."
—Willie Randolph, Yankees hitting coach, on the rise of OBP
"Barry Bonds is a prime example of a hitter who controls the at-bat. He goes up there really trying to concentrate on his strength and getting his pitch. It's a cat-and-mouse game. You go up to the plate with a purpose. The idea of trying to win the battle with the pitcher is one of the most intriguing parts of the game. When you can add power to being selective and getting walks, then you've really got something. In 1998, we had a lot of players buy into that."
"On-base percentage is very important. A high on-base percentage means you're accepting a lot of walks, so that means the pitcher is throwing more pitches. So that means you'll get into the middle-inning pitchers quicker. And middle relief is the weaker part of a pitching staff. If you can face more weaker pitching, you have a better chance to win."
—Gene Michael, Yankees head scout
"We want our minor-league players to accept that, to be willing to take walks and be more selective at the plate. To get to that 3-2 count more and hit more strikes. If you hit more strikes, you'll hit for a higher average. We've tried to stay away from players that didn't have high on-base percentages in free-agent signings and trades."
"We want our hitters to be aggressive within their zone. If you see your pitch, go after it. Attack. But don't be induced into swinging at a low-percentage pitch. A walk is a byproduct of that approach, but it's not necessarily what you are trying to attain. Working the pitch count is equally important. Maybe Pedro Martinez is on a pitch count of a hundred. If you're patient, maybe you'll get him out in the fifth inning rather than the seventh inning."
—Brian Cashman, Yankees GM
"They taught me patience. Patience is very important, especially at the plate."
—Jose Reyes, Mets prospect
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