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OPENING AT THE BIG EGG


“A loss is always disappointing, however they come. I wish I could’ve
performed a little better.”

Mike Hampton, Mets pitcher, on walking 9 in game 1


“I’m glad he was here today, that’s for sure. Benny’s a big boy, and
baseball’s a game that’s not always fair.”

Bobby Valentine, Mets manager, on plans to demote Benny
Agbayani
despite his grand slam to win game 2


“I think I got broke over there. Coffee was $35. Every time I went to
eat, it was $250 or $300, and what they give you there, you have to eat
triple. Other than that, I had a great time.”

Rickey Henderson, Mets outfielder


ROSTER PARING


“They made some bad business decisions this offseason and I’m kind of
catching the effects of that. I know I can still look in the mirror, but
there are going to be some people who can’t look in the mirror. It was
very unprofessional and very unbusinesslike. By this time, most teams
have their teams set.”

Brian Hunter, Rockies outfielder, on being released by the
Mariners


“Nobody ever said baseball people are the smartest people in the
world.”

Pete Schourek, Red Sox pitcher, on being released by the
Pirates


“They didn’t really get into some of the reasons, but I just think the
timing of it’s kind of weird and it’s surprising a lot of people —
myself, the guys in the clubhouse, trainers, coaches. A lot of guys
were surprised and no one knew. I mean, I got pulled off the field and
told I was fired out of the blue and I don’t know what to do now. It’s
go home and pack.”

Mark Portugal, pitcher, on being released by the Reds


PREDICTIONS


“This is a team that’s going to score runs and is going to be solid
offensively. This is a big year for this team with the new stadium coming,
and we need to start winning now.”

Brian Giles, Pirates outfielder


“I don’t like it being said that we’re destined to stink this year.
It seems like our destiny has been mapped out already. We know we’re
not at the same level as some of the other clubs, but we know we can
compete every day.”

Mike Lowell, Marlins infielder


“Mike [Scioscia] has brought a new attitude to the team. I believe we
have the players here to make a run at it. I think we will be an exciting
team to watch, should be able to score a lot, and I know he is going to
have us running the bases.”

Mo Vaughn, Angels infielder


“Last year, I got in trouble for saying our goals. People said I was
making predictions, all I was doing was stating our goals and objectives.”

Kevin Malone, Dodgers GM


THE REST


“Obviously, I’m disappointed. I was really looking forward to beginning
the season and playing on opening day. There are some things, especially
in this game, that you can’t control.”

Matt Williams, Diamondbacks infielder, on breaking his foot


“What I liked about last year was the second half of the season, not
just the no-hitter. A lot of people single out the no-hitter, but if you
look at my numbers after the All-Star break, to me, they’re pretty
impressive. I hope I can keep that going this year.”

Eric Milton, Twins pitcher


“When I got traded [away from the Phillies], I thought someday I’d come
back here. Maybe it was wishful thinking. Obviously, I was very happy
with it.”

Mickey Morandini, infielder, on being traded back to the Phillies


“Everything they’ve said about him is true. He’s the real deal. He’s a
great talent and he’s got good insides and a good head.”

Tony La Russa, Cardinals manager, on Rick Ankiel


“I won’t try to make anything up because I didn’t play last year. I
wanted to play, but I couldn’t. When I’m out there I know that I’m
one of the best and I try to play like I’m one of the best.”

Moises Alou, Astros outfielder


“We’re inexperienced in our positions, and that’s what we’re going to
suffer with a lot. It’s not funny, and we’re going to have to live with
that this season. It makes it rough, but we’ll deal with it.”

Tom Kelly, Twins manager


“We set a goal of 9,000 season tickets. We’re not there. We’re around
4,000. If this city cannot support us with 9,000 season-ticket holders,
then there are bigger issues on the table — like whether this is a major
league city. We did our part.”

David Samson, Expos executive vice president


“I don’t know if we’ve got any question marks left. We’ve got answers
and we’ve made decisions. Everything is subject to change, whether it’s
because of production or injuries, but we have a plan.”

Johnny Oates, Rangers manager


“What? They didn’t call me to push the button?”

Bobby Ayala, Twins pitcher, on the destruction of the Kingdome


“I’ve got a beer gut. I’ve got a goatee and long hair. I’m a rebel. I enjoy
life. I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I always treat people with
respect, because if I didn’t, my old man would whup my ass.”

Matt Stairs, A’s outfielder


“Just when I thought it was never going to happen, it fell into my lap.
It’s like going to a bar and trying to search out the finest chick. You’re
working every one of them, working everything you can, until you’re shut
down by every chick. But then you walk out the door and there she is. The
finest one is waiting for you. And it works out happily ever after.”

Phil Nevin, Padres infielder, on his career turnaround last season

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