THE PHANTOM PUNCH
“There were no punches thrown, so I don’t think John had a bloody nose. I don’t know how that would have happened.”
–Blue Jays P Ted Lilly, on the fight he had with manager John Gibbons (Toronto Star)
“Gibbons just went at him. It looked like Gibbons grabbed him and they disappeared. Then the whole dugout emptied back there. It was mayhem down in the tunnel.”
–photographer Aaron Harris, who witnessed the fight.
“We were on the verge of something regrettable happening. We were yelling at each other face to face.”
“I overreacted, no question about that.”
“I’m not proud of that. That’s not who I am. But I am a passionate guy. … It should never get to that point, but it did happen. I can’t run from that, I can’t make excuses. I’ve got to live with it now.”
“He thought he should have been left in the game. I didn’t think so.”
“At a time I was already upset with myself, I didn’t handle it well at the time. It wasn’t very good, but this thing could have gone over a little better if I would have held my emotions.”
“The farthest thing from it. The only time you see John get mad, it’s justifiable.”
–Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, on whether or not his manager is a hothead.
“Ted Lilly’s a great guy. Ted Lilly’s an intense competitor. He was a great teammate when I was over there. So I’m surprised that confrontation happened with Ted Lilly.”
—Shea Hillenbrand, former Jay, now Giants 1B.
“Stuff like that’s been going on all season over there. I had my issues with the manager. … They say I’m the cancer of the team and things are still happening, so I don’t know how you can make that assumption or that statement. Things like that begin to come out when times get tough.”
“Who knows how long I have left here. Maybe a month. Maybe longer. It was a bad day. I embarrassed the organization.”
–Lilly. He is a free agent at season’s end.
“It’s a little strange to seen that happen. I liked Ted. He was a good teammate when he was here.”
–A’s 3B Eric Chavez
“Two guys were upset. It happens at home and it happens here. That’s life. You just have to deal with it.”
–Blue Jays OF Vernon Wells
IS HIS BIOGRAPHER GETTING THIS?
“I told Carlos I hope he asks for a lot of money from the Tigers, because they’d have to dump a couple of guys to sign him.”
—Ozzie Guillen, on Carlos Guillen’s offseason negotiation strategy (MLB.com).
“It’s a funny thing about me. I will root for you after the game or before the game, but not during the game. You have to appreciate players who go about their business right in baseball. “
–Ozzie Guillen, on his respect for Jason Tyner, Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto, who he dubbed “The Little Piranhas.”
“I don’t like the cocky attitude. Just go and have fun and play the game right.”
“He is a fun guy. He has fun off the field, but he’s a gamer. He gets fired up. He’s a good teammate. It was my first year in the league, and he would push me, something like having competition in batting practice to see who could hit the ball in the six hole over there [between shortstop and third base].”
—Jason Tyner, on Guillen.
“It seems like he was the same guy he is right now. As a player, honesty, that’s all I look for. You might not want to hear what he’s going to tell you, but he’s going to tell you the truth. You respect that.”
THE PRICE OF DOING BUSINESS
“I wonder why it hasn’t. I know what the pat answer is: That’s how we do business around here. But even if it’s going to ruffle some feathers me saying something – you know what? I just don’t understand it.”
–Braves P John Smoltz, on the team’s $8 million dollar option for 2007 (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
“You’ve never heard me be bitter about something, other than bitter that we lose another chance at a World Series. But when people ask me questions, I have to be honest and say I can’t talk about next year because I don’t know what next year is going to [bring].”
“I’ve come back from so much, I’ve worked so hard that I’m not going to concern myself with being the prisoner of an environment. I’ve been here 19 years, so the overwhelming feeling is, ‘They’ll never get rid of you.’ But after every single year, I’ve had to work 10 times harder just to work this out.”
“All I know is, after these last two years and with my desire to work out, I’ve got two or three more years, easy. I used to always be of the mind-set that, ‘If it’s not here, it won’t be anywhere else.’ But that’s not the case any more. I’ll pitch somewhere else.”
“Every time I answer that, homeboy upstairs criticizes me.”
–Smoltz, on GM John Schuerholz’s reactions to his suggestions for improving the team.
“All I said was, now that we’re playing good, I hope management will do whatever it takes. And he went off. Why? What did I say that a normal competitive player wouldn’t say?”
“I’m going to keep doing it. Someone told me they think I’m better left-handed.”
–Brewers P Tomo Ohka, on his four-RBI day on Thursday (MLB.com).
“He was just goofing off (in batting practice), and his first four swings were one bounce to the warning track. He’s never done that right-handed, ever. We all told him, `Hey, do that in the game. At least you’ve got a chance to put a good swing on the ball.'”
—Doug Davis, Brewers P on Tomo Ohka’s unusual day of hitting.
“Obviously he’s doing it for a reason; he thinks he’s better left-handed than right-handed. He made an adjustment. He looked better swinging from the left side than when we saw from the right side. But those are situations that are hard to swallow. Anytime a pitcher is able to drive in runs, that’s tough to swallow.”
–Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
GOOD HARD DRUGS
“I definitely know there are some guys who get to a Sunday day game, after a Saturday night game, and say, ‘Man, I wish I had a greenie.’ I’ve heard guys say that. So there’s probably been some small effect. But I don’t think it’s been as noticeable as people thought it would be.”
—Bronson Arroyo, Reds pitcher (Washington Post)
“Guys are substituting – getting things at GNC that are legal. Obviously, it doesn’t give you the same ride. But it probably helps. And espresso – that’s the biggest thing. It seems like every clubhouse now has an espresso machine.”
–Nationals C Robert Fick
“Sugar-free Red Bull.”
–Minnesota Twins DH Rondell White, when asked what players were using for an energy boost.
“More energy drinks.”
–Red Sox catcher Javy Lopez, who also showed a reporter a container in his locker labeled “Phosphagen Elite”–a legal supplement containing creatine.
RULE NO. 1: IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. RULE NO. 2: IF YOU HEAR OTHERWISE, SEE RULE NO. 1
“As I understand it, the Blue Jays approached Vernon Wells’ representatives and said, ‘We want to talk about a contract extension.’ The response from Vernon Wells’ camp was, ‘We’re not interested in a contract extension.'”
–ESPN.com baseball analyst Keith Law (MLB.com).
“It’s so comical that I don’t know whether to laugh or to throw up.”
–Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, in reaction to Law’s comments on his blog and in the media. Law was formerly a consultant with the Blue Jays.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve always said [writers] can say we stink, they can say we made a bad trade, but to write something that has no truth to it? Come on.”
“I didn’t go through any kind of inappropriate channels to acquire this. It was actually something that came to me from people who had direct and indirect knowledge of the conversation that I believe took place between Vernon and/or his representatives and members of Blue Jays management.”
WE’RE IN A REBUILDING/CONTENDING SITUATION RIGHT NOW
“I think probably right now it’s going to take longer than that. Realistically, I think it’s going to take a little longer than that. We’ve got some younger people, specifically on the pitching staff, and with young people you have inconsistency. They need time to get their feet on the ground.”
—Pat Gillick, Phillies’ general managers on the Phillies’ prospects for contention in 2007, on July 30 of this year. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“We’re in the hunt. We want to do everything we can to win it. It’s an indication to the players and the fans that we want to get this thing.”
–Gillick, on August 26.
WE’D LIKE TO BELIEVE A LOT OF THINGS
“Although Julio will always remain professional, it’s becoming a frustrating situation. I’d like to believe the Dodgers did not trade away one of their top prospects for an All-Star-caliber shortstop to sit the bench.”
— Dan Lozano, agent for Dodgers IF Julio Lugo (Los Angeles Times).
“He’s a player that wants to contribute on a daily basis, and has, at a high level, for the last three years. If the Dodgers don’t feel like he can contribute every day, they should trade him.”
“There is nothing I can do. It’s out of my control. I just have to be ready to contribute.”
A HONEYMOON CUT SHORT
“It’s so tragic because he was so happy last night. It’s just an incredible turn of events. It’s really painful.”
–former Kentucky baseball coach Keith Madison about former Indians prospect Jon Hooker’s death in the crash of ComAir/Delta Flight 5191.
“Jon Hooker and Scarlett Parsley were on the Atlanta-bound flight, heading to their honeymoon after they were married Saturday night at Headley-Whitley Museum.”
“My cutter has been my bread-and-butter the last few years, and I bet on all of the big hits that I’ve given up this year probably 99.9 percent of them have been on the cutter. The home runs are what’s alarming to me. They’ve been on the same pitch. I don’t have an explanation.”
—Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals Closer (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“I won’t be on the DL next year, unless they have the DL at the Muirfield Village Country Club.”
— RP Kent Mercker, who plans to retire from baseball after this season (Dayton Daily News).
“I just realized that I’ve got to do what is right. I kind of got confused on a couple of things, but now everything is settled down. I’m going to stay with Adam and Tom [Reich], and all the way until the end. I want to concentrate on baseball and let them take care of the business part.”
–Texas Rangers LF Carlos Lee, on reconsidering his decision to hire Scott Boras as his agent (Chicago Tribune)
“There’s never a good time in Red Sox Nation for Manny to come out of a game. Either he’s gonna catch shit or I’m gonna catch shit. He’s  and his knee hurts.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona (Boston Globe).
“No, not really. It felt not quite like being in Boston, but somewhere in the middle, like Kansas, I guess.”
–A’s P Barry Zito, on the McAfee Coliseum environment during the A’s series with the Red Sox (SFGate.com)
“On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage. On-base percentage just to clog up the bases isn’t that great to me.”
–Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker (Daily Herald).
“Baseball. The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers could be playing for the championship, and I’d rather be here watching the Angels and Yankees.”
—John Wooden, on his favorite sport (Los Angeles Times)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here.