“At this stage of my career, it takes four singles to score me, or something in the gap when I’m on second.”
–Padres P David Wells, on getting a hit and being thrown out at home in Sunday’s game against the Reds (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“He was trying to turn it on, but there was no gear left.”
–Padres manager Bruce Bochy
“The guy can flat out run the bases.”
—Josh Bard, Padres catcher, on Wells’ baserunning.
“It was hot and I didn’t expect to be on base, and got stuck on base, but it was great.”
“I was just going up there, closing my eyes and swinging.”
TIME TO PICK A DIFFERENT MAJOR
“I was a liberal arts major, not a mathematics major, but I can figure out the meaning of the games-behind number and the reality that it brings clearly into focus. It is not a surprising development, so you just have to come to grips with it.”
—John Schuerholz, Braves general manager (New York Times)
“We knew this winter we had problems. We tried to address them, but we couldn’t.”
–Braves manager Bobby Cox
“From what I gather, it’s been a strange year in that they’re not used to dealing with it. Nobody’s going to give up the division title until they’re mathematically eliminated. It’s been a different summer. A lot of guys haven’t finished anywhere but first.”
–former Braves P Tom Glavine
“It means a lot to have won 14 of these things, but there’s no shame in being the wild card.”
“The wild card’s O.K., but half of North America is still ahead of us.”
THERE ARE NO TIMEOUTS IN PETTY DISAGREEMENTS
“That was a little embarrassing.”
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland, after interrupting his tirade against the home plate umpire at Yankee Stadium to listen to ‘God Bless America.’
“In no way, shape or form would I ever be disrespectful. But you don’t tell the umpire, ‘Time out, I have to listen to Kate.'”
–Leyland. He resumed the argument after the song was finished.
“I venture to say that I say less to umpires than any manager in the league, and at this time of year, I say even more less.”
WHAT HAPPENS TO A DREAM DEFERRED?
“You ain’t got to worry about me coming to New York. My opportunity here is gone.”
—Torii Hunter, Twins CF, on his plans in free agency.
“They’ve still got Matsui, Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon. It won’t happen. It can’t happen.”
“How can it happen?”
FORGET TO YANK ONE PITCHER FROM THE GAME UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE, AND YOU GO PLUM CRAZY
“Being there taught me respect for the game. Lot of people higher up in this business were never exposed to that, and I feel sorry for them.”
–Dodgers manager Grady Little, on his experience managing in the minor leagues (Los Angeles Times).
“Celebrating holidays a day late isn’t a big deal. For years, we celebrated Valentine’s Day on Feb. 15, so Grady could get the candy 50% off.”
–his wife, Debi Little
“Somebody watches something once or twice, that don’t hurt the DVD, does it? And sometimes they got a special, eight for 25 bucks, you can’t beat it.”
–Little, on why he buys his DVDs at a neighborhood pawn shop.
“What baseball has taught us is, if things go wrong here, we can always just go back to North Carolina and have a happy life. So why try to be someone you’re not? Grady is Grady.”
“I look at all that computer stuff. But I will never discount the human element.”
“Before making a move in a game, you can’t just look at one stat, you’ve got to look at the whole picture.”
“I will try to be slightly less lecherous for his girlfriend. And if he would like to bring her to my office, we could definitely talk about my lechery.”
–Marlins team president David Samson on 790 The Ticket, in response to a caller informing him that his girlfriend found Samson lecherous (WAXY-AM) (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
“The show is done completely tongue in cheek. It is a show where movies are reviewed and conversations are had all for the purpose of humor.”
“We were talking of a promotion where strippers would give lap dances and I said, ‘No, it’s much funnier if you have them work the foul pole.’ If people think that is seriously a promotion …”
“We absolutely do not intend to have anybody take anything that is said on the show seriously.”
“Is it against the law to talk about penis enlarger pumps?”
“I would say 95 percent of the country is totally safe. There are places in the Bronx you can’t go and there are places in Israel you can’t go. That’s the way life is.”
–Duquette Sports Academy camper Jacob Schulder (ESPN.com)
“The Israeli culture is very Americanized and baseball is the American game, so there’s a level of interest there. If you can make your sport important to the people in the culture and have the kids look up to the professional players, you have a chance to succeed.”
–former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette on his efforts to promote baseball in Israel.
“I would jump at the opportunity. It would be an amazing, pride-building experience. I feel very strongly about my bloodline–being Jewish as a culture, not necessarily as a religion. It’s part of who I am, what my makeup is all about and how I’m perceived.”
–Red Sox OF Gabe Kapler, on whether he’d play for a WBC Israeli team in 2009.
“The first question people ask is, ‘Do you hit or do you field?'”
—Amit Kurz, a member of the Israeli team, on what he’s asked when he tells people he is a baseball player.
“You can tell who the novices are. Dan Duquette is running the camp, and 20 guys show up wearing Yankees hats.”
—Larry Baras, founder of the Israeli baseball league.
“You have to start somewhere.”
THAT’S NOTHING-HE STILL PEES IN FELIX HERNANDEZ’S LOCKER
“I only had a bad impression of him. When we played against each other in Japan, as an opponent, I found him brash and cocky. Honestly, I was upset when I heard the Mariners had signed him. I thought, ‘What?’ I didn’t think we could coexist here.”
—Ichiro Suzuki, on Mariners teammate Kenji Johjima (Seattle Times)
“Ichiro’s presence was clearly one of the reasons I decided to sign with the Mariners. Next to your own performance, for a Japanese player, the opportunity to have someone of Ichiro’s stature with everything he’s accomplished in America as your sempai to help guide you through the transition is a significant consideration.”
—Kenji Johjima, Mariners C
“We never went out to eat or anything like that, but we would talk on the field.”
“They were mostly one-way conversations. I guess to put it more accurately, I would babble at him when he came to bat. He got so many hits against us, I felt it was my responsibility as catcher to figure out a way to distract him at the plate, to break his concentration. It didn’t matter what the topic was, I just remember trying to be relentless in distracting him.”
“HEY, ICHIRO SAN–YOUR SENPAI IS SO FAT…”
“I would say, ‘Ichiro San, how are you today?’ ‘What’s up, Ichiro San?’ ‘You’re sure swinging the bat good lately, Ichiro San.’ Sometimes he’d return the greeting in the first at-bat, but as I persisted throughout the game, he’d just ignore me. I wasn’t deterred, though. I hung in there determined to distract him.”
“The starting point for all relationships is the human element. You learn what kind of person someone is by observing their everyday behavior. Some people are honest with their feelings and others are superficial. I’m particularly sensitive to the difference between the two.”
“The more time I spent with Joh in the clubhouse and on the field, I discovered he wasn’t superficial; to the contrary, he’s very honest and straightforward. I respect that.”
“My image of him was that he was careless and not detail-oriented. But when you observe his actions on the field, you realize he’s actually very detail-oriented and conscientious.”
“I’ve discovered he’s a decent human being and, in a kind of charming way, he has a certain cuteness to his personality. He’s an endearing kohai.”
–Ichiro, using the Japanese term for junior.
“I’ve been horrible, actually. There’s no point in lying or candy-coating anything. It’s been bad.”
–White Sox OF Rob Mackowiak, on his defense in center field (MLB.com)
“It’s something I need to work on in the winter and try to get better defensively, because it has been absolutely terrible this year. My routes are not as crisp as a guy like Brian’s are. You are taking banana routes to balls and it becomes a struggle.”
“One day I was holding my bat in front of my Dad and he said, ‘What are you doing?’ I was like, ‘I’m hitting.’ He said, ‘Hit the other way.’ I said, ‘All right.’ From then on I hit left-handed. He said the game was kind of made more for lefties because the fields are usually shorter and more right-handed pitchers. So I just did it from then on. I mean, I was 5 so I didn’t know any better. It just felt good.”
—Prince Fielder, Brewers 1B, on why he hits left-handed (Appleton Post-Crescent).
“The baseball gods got with us. I’ve got a good heart. [I’ve] been operated on a few times, but it’s OK.”
–Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, on a come-from-behind win against the Braves on Sunday.
“Look, if I were having a good season I would be out there every day, but I’m not having a good season. Why be [a jerk] about it? I’m still part of the team. I’m still going to interact with my teammates. I’m not going to sit at my locker and sulk.”
–Pirates outfielder Jeromy Burnitz (Beaver County Times)
“I don’t think you’re going to win this division on $70 million. I don’t think you’re going to make the playoffs in this division on $70 million. You can be competitive and I think you can have some good years. But I just think those two teams, with what they drive payrolls, it’s going to be really tough to catch those guys if we stay at a $70 million payroll. It doesn’t mean we can’t be good and we can’t compete. But I just don’t think you’re going to see a chance to win 95 to 100 games.”
—J.P. Ricciardi, Blue Jays general manager (Toronto Star)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here.