THE HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE IN THE ROOM…
“We have tests. People take tests. My whole thing is this: Either you pass or you fail. If you fail, you get busted. If you don’t fail, you’re not doing it.”
–Phillies 1B Ryan Howard, on whether or not he’s clean (Philadelphia Daily News). Howard hit his 57th home run this past Sunday.
“It’s pretty clear to anyone who’s watching that more than likely he’s clean. We never believed that Roger Maris‘ record would go unbroken. You want someone who’s doing it in a way that’s fair to the people who came before you. We’d love it to be someone who plays clean, like Ryan Howard.”
–North Dakota State Senator Joel C. Heitkamp (PhillyBurbs.com)
“People are entitled to their opinions. But it does bother me. It casts a shadow on the game. I know I’m not using steroids. This barrel right here is proof enough. People are going to say what they want to say. I thought about it once and then it was like, ‘Well, whatever.’ I’m not doing it. If they want to test me, they can test me.”
“I just think it sucks. The thing about it is, if you’re going to make those kinds of comments, have proof. Otherwise, you can ruin people’s reputations.”
BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE
“It’s kind of bittersweet. My dad’s record was obscure up until that point. No one really challenged it. A couple guys came close. We all thought [Ken] Griffey [Jr.] would be the one to do it. And then it was like, ‘Boom.’ We were in awe. It seemed to happen so fast. We were along for the ride like the rest of the country. Every time McGwire hit one, it was like, ‘Wow, he did it again.’ And now you just look at that and laugh.”
—Rich Maris, Roger Maris’ fifth child (Yahoo Sports).
“Mark’s a really great guy. It’s too bad everything has happened.”
“With the McGwire thing and the Bonds thing, everybody thought the record was so far out there, it’s not even attainable. My dad’s pretty much an afterthought. All of a sudden, it’s like everyone has this new perspective, like the heck with McGwire and Bonds.”
“Of course I hope my dad’s record stands. I’m sure Hank Aaron isn’t going to be especially now rooting for someone to break his 755. You’ve got a record, you want to hold on to it.”
“I’ll tell you one thing. If I get 50 home runs and ten more RBI that’s going to be a round number that no one else in the American League will have.”
–Red Sox DH David Ortiz (ESPN.com)
“But they’ll vote for a position player, use that as an excuse. They’re talking about Jeter a lot, right? He’s done a great job, he’s having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve done for your ball club, the bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that’s the guy you know helped your team win games.”
WITH PROPS TO ERIC HINSKE
“Don’t get me wrong — he’s a great player, having a great season, but he’s got a lot of guys in that lineup. Top to bottom, you’ve got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be.”
–Ortiz, whose 66.0 VORP ranks him sixth in baseball, right behind Jeter.
“All depends on who makes the playoffs. Dye is having an unbelievable season, an incredible year. Konerko, too. Morneau, he’s having a great season, but in Minnesota, there’s no publicity. I bet you nobody knows who he is.”
“I’m right there, but I’m not going to win it. They give it to [Rodriguez] one year, even though his team was in last place, so now they can’t play that BS anymore, just because your team didn’t make it. They gave it to Alex that year because of his numbers. But they always have a reason to vote for whatever, so that’s why I don’t worry about it.”
DAVID, PUT DOWN THAT HARD SALAMI
“The bottom line is, I love watching him play.”
–Ortiz, recanting on Jeter.
“He was very, very frustrated. Almost irate. I spoke to him about it, and some of that is private, but I can tell you that however he said things, and however they came out, I don’t think that was his intention.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Ortiz’ reaction to the stir over his statements (New York Daily News)
“I’m not saying he was misquoted. But I think he was stunned at some of the spinoff stories and accusations that followed. I know in his heart he never meant to take shots at anybody, especially Derek Jeter.”
“I think he’s just frustrated with this season.”
–Yankees CF Johnny Damon (ESPN Sunday Night Baseball)
YOU WAKE UP ONE DAY, AND YOU’RE FRINGE
“Would I love to come back here and be the first baseman? Of course I would. I feel this team is not too far off, but they have to [make moves]. But that’s their choice. I like this group of guys.”
–Orioles 1B Kevin Millar, currently raking .260/.359/.420 this season.
“I’d like to play for Atlanta. Before that period of free agency hits, yeah, definitely, I’d like to talk about a deal.”
–Braves closer Bob Wickman
“Hopefully I can meet with Angelos and see what his feelings are, of the team and everything. But as far as my future with the team, right now I’m returning, and as far as any other turn of events, that’s just going to have to wait until the offseason.”
–Orioles pitcher Kris Benson, on his $7.5 million dollar player option.
“I think he’s our biggest hard-luck guy. He could legitimately have 15 or 16 wins for us.”
–Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, on Benson (Washington Post)
PATTY WILL ALSO BE OUR LONG MAN IN THE BULLPEN
“Next year will be historical. We want him to get his 3,000th hit with the Astros, and we’ve made that clear. That is not an issue and hasn’t been an issue. No one has meant more to our community development department than Craig and Patty Biggio.”
–Astros owner Drayton McLane, on Craig Biggio’s future with the ‘Stros (Houston Chronicle)
“I am not retiring. I am definitely coming back. I know I’m not done. If it’s not Houston, unfortunately it will be somewhere else.”
—Craig Biggio, on his plan for next year. He has posted a .246 Equivalent Average this year.
“We’re going to continue to hopefully be strong, pitching-wise. We’ve got some good young talent in the organization, if we can develop them and get them on the big stage here to help us out–guys like Jason Hirsh and Wandy Rodriguez–and then we can add some key free agents. I think we should continue to contend, and that’s our goal. We don’t want to be a rebuilding club–we want to be a club that retools every year add some pieces and continues to get better.”
–Astros GM Tim Purpura
PEDRO’S MOM SAYS GET OFF HIS BACK, MMKAY
“I don’t need to be moved any more than I have been. I’ve been away from the game so long, I should be pitching every other day, if you ask me. So as close as possible, I need to be on a mound, and as soon as possible in order for me to get my shit together.”
–Mets ace Pedro Martinez, on sobbing after his three-inning start this week (Newsday).
“I haven’t because I haven’t picked up the phone. I just spoke to my mom. But you know what, I’m not looking forward to listening to so much advice from out there. I appreciate the concerns, but what are we going to do? The game is over with.”
–Martinez, on whether he’s talked to friends about this.
“Three innings is not enough to try to go seven in the first game in the playoffs. So you have to build the stamina, you have to get command of your pitches. You want to feel stronger physically. There’s a lot of stuff you have to do, and those things are built in the field, playing the game.”
“The biggest frustration right now is having you guys in front of me. I don’t want to talk, to be honest. I’m just being polite and trying to help you guys out.”
WISH SOMEBODY WOULD TELL ME I’M FINE
“You’re never too optimistic about hamstrings.”
–Tigers skipper Jim Leyland, freaking out a little (MLB.com)
“We’ll find out how tough we are and how good we are. And if guys will step up… There’s no excuses here.”
“Just do what you can do. If you can hit .280, hit 280. Don’t try to hit .320.”
“I’m going to state the fact: We need Magglio Ordonez to do his share. We need better than what we’re getting … I’m not going to Magglio Ordonez and say ‘You’ve got to just put us on your back,’ but we need more than what we’re getting.”
“There are any number of players in the major leagues that you can look at and say they are very consistent contributors to their respective clubs, and I’m sure you would find that some of those guys had to go back to the minor leagues for a little more schooling, a little more seasoning–and maybe in some cases more than once. Maybe twice or three times. I know Chris Duffy’s a very talented player, but you have to give yourself the opportunity to nurture the talent.”
–Pirates manager Jim Tracy, on May 20 of this year, after Pirates CF Chris Duffy was demoted to the minors.
“He’s been a prototypical leadoff hitter for this club. He’s played with energy, conviction, commitment, and a thought process.”
–Tracy, this week (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“The last few days have been pretty fun. When you’re playing good from an individual standpoint–scoring runs, getting on base, stealing bases, getting a few extra-base hits, saving some runs, making things happen–and winning ballgames, it can’t do anything but make you feel really good.”
“The last few days I feel like I’m playing a pretty complete game of baseball.”
DESIRED BY MANY, LOVED BY FEW
“He has no foundation from the left side. He drifts, gets out on his front foot. No bat speed.”
–Nats manager Frank Robinson on CF Nook Logan (Washington Times)
“Whatever happens, happens. I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I’ve got a job to do, and at the end of the year, coming into next year, I want to have a spot to play.”
HE’S A LOATHSOME, OFFENSIVE BRUTE… YET I CAN’T LOOK AWAY
“There [are] Gold Glove first basemen and some mediocre first basemen. We’ll find out where I fit in.”
—Gary Sheffield, Yanks DH, on his plan to play first base (Newsday)
DAMNED UTILITARIAN SOCIETY!
“I know in management’s eyes I am still a productive player.”
–Yankees OF Bernie Williams (New York Post)
“I’d rather be frustrated about not playing, than accept it and then not be ready when playing time comes. The frustration tells me I’m ready, and I’ll be ready when they need me.”
“I’m having a lot of fun, man. I am more mature at accepting administrative decisions. It’s not that I lack fire or don’t feel frustration at times. But I can accept it and not be subversive about it.”
“Hopefully, a situation will arise now or in the postseason where there will be a use for me.”
WE BLAME A-ROD
“The best managers are the ones that have the respect and trust of their players. Those two things can’t be compromised, and that goes both ways. Managers also have to be able to respect and trust their players.”
–Rangers SS Michael Young, on his manager, Buck Showalter (Fort Worth Star Telegram)
“Am I? Sure. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be [general manager] Jon Daniels’ recommendation on Buck. I don’t think we’ll take a popularity contest with the players. I think we’ll make a judgment on what we see.”
–Rangers owner Tom Hicks, on whether or not he’s thinking about changing managers.
“No one is more prepared, and I’ve been around.”
–Rangers CF Gary Matthews Jr., on Showalter. Matthews is a free agent after the season.
FOR INSTANCE, I ONCE WENT TO MEDIEVAL TIMES. TRUE STORY
“I don’t take myself nearly as seriously as people think.”
“For me, it’s about trust and respect. It’s not a popularity contest. To have success, you have to occasionally ruffle feathers.”
“NOW AND THEN, FOR NO GOOD REASON, LIFE WILL HAUL OFF AND KNOCK A MAN FLAT”
“I don’t expect that Izzy’s going to pitch anymore.”
–Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, on Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen (MLB.com)
“He’s done as much as he can do. It’s just progressed to the point that now he can’t do it.”
–Cardinals physician George Paletta
EVERYTHING’S GOOD BETWEEN US
“I was heading out to hit golf balls, and Mary Ann said, ‘It’s George Steinbrenner,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, right.’ He said, ‘I want everything to be good between us.'”
–Yankees broadcaster Jim Kaat, on how he returned to Yankees’ broadcast booth in 1994 after a contract dispute (The New York Times)
“I was actually intimidated working with him initially. Usually, he stands during the game, with one foot on the table in front of us. Well, not wanting to do the wrong thing, I would stand up when he stood up and put my foot on the table as well. At times, it looked like aerobics class.”
–Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay. Kaat was to work his final game in Friday’s rain-out.
“The one mistake we made was that we should have hired Kitty. I think you rate him the equal of any analyst you’ve ever heard.”
—John Filippelli, YES’s president of production, on his one regret from his days with Fox Sports.
“If there was a Nobel Prize in baseball, they would be voted a Nobel Prize for the work they’ve done there. They’ve done it right. They’re like the model of success in the past 15 years.”
–Mets GM Omar Minaya on the Atlanta Braves organization (Newsday)
“We have made it an industry practice to celebrate individual performances when they are of a record-breaking nature. In keeping with that, we recognize Aaron’s major league record as the ultimate record.”
–MLB spokesman Patrick Courtney, on why MLB will not celebrate Bonds’ breaking of the National League record for career home runs, 733 (Contra Costal Times)
“Zito is no Oswalt.”
–Mets official, on what kind of offer Zito can expect this offseason (The New York Post)
“I’m pretty confident in the job I’ve done this year, quite honestly. All of a sudden somebody wants to question a couple of things that happened recently and forgotten the other 100-whatever games we’ve played prior to this. . . . Quite honestly, I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job. When we were healthy and playing decent, I thought everything was going pretty good myself. I didn’t hear anyone complain then. But that’s a natural thing. Everyone likes to write something. I think it would be a big mistake. I came here to get this thing straight and I intend to stay here and get it done.”
–Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, on his job security (Washington Post). The O’s were 64-85 as of Sunday.
“If I stay home too much, my wife will put me to work. I don’t see how I couldn’t [work in the offseason], even if I was a billionaire. I couldn’t just sit at home.”
–Braves hurler Chuck James, on working for a Lowe’s subcontractor in the offseason (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“I have two dogs. After a couple hours with them, chewing up my shoes, a couple of [dog] bites, it’s time to get out of there.”