WHO WANTS THE GENIUS TAG AND WHO WANTS THE DUNCE CAP?
“It’s a manager’s decision to pitch him or walk him. I pitched to him and obviously he burned us, so I take the bullet there.”
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on not intentionally walking Albert Pujols in Game One with first base open.
“I made a little bit of a mistake that maybe the ninth hitter wouldn’t have hit. But it was Albert Pujols… and he made it hurt.”
–Tigers Game One starter Justin Verlander, on the oppo two-run homer he gave up to Albert Pujols.
“Tony said a couple of hitters complained the ball was doing some funny things. Evidently, Tony brought it to their attention, but obviously it wasn’t anything.”
–Leyland, on the “substance,” presumably dirt, on Kenny Rogers‘s pitching hand.
“It makes me nervous to see someone that pumped up.”
–Leyland, on Rogers’ demonstrative behavior on the mound.
“I just missed it. It’s embarrassing. I’m going to have 7,000 messages from every coach who ever coached me about that.”
–Tigers closer Todd Jones, on mishandling a Juan Encarnacion comebacker in Game Two.
“He’s going to take a little PFP–that’s pitchers’ fielding practice — before he gets on the bus tonight.”
–Leyland, on Jones’ misplay.
$35,000 A YEAR AND THE CONSTANT FEAR OF DAVE DUNCAN-IT’S NOT EASY BEING A SCOUT
“This is the black hole in the Cardinals’ lineup. Duncan is good fastball hitter with good power, but he’s a butcher in the outfield. He can’t throw, and every fly ball is an adventure.”
–an anonymous N.L. scout (USA Today)
“I would fear for their safety, whoever is associated with that scouting report, because [Dave] would hurt them.”
–Cardinals manager Tony La Russa
“He’s a pesky little booger.”
–the same scout, on David Eckstein
EVERYBODY WROTE DOWN WHAT THEY THOUGHT, EXCEPT FOR COACH DUNCAN, WHO SCRIBBLED, ‘I’M GOING TO KILL A SCOUT, BRB, XOXO’
“We had a coaches dinner last night and each coach put down what they thought he would do. Two coaches said into the eighth inning. I thought if he went five or six with low runs that he had done a great job.”
–Tony La Russa, on what the Cards expected from Cardinals Game One starter Anthony Reyes.
“I’m not a real stylemaster, but that style is not that attractive. I don’t think it’s going to be copied widely by the kids of America.”
–La Russa, on the flat brim of Anthony Reyes’ hat and his (un)consciousness of contemporary youth culture.
“I came off an injury in college when they drafted me. So I just figured, take the summer off and just heal up and try to go back to my last year of college.”
–Reyes, on why he didn’t sign with the Tigers after his junior year of college.
WE HAVE NO CHANCE, BELIEVE DAT
“I don’t want to hear it.”
–Tigers closer Todd Jones, on the Tigers being an overwhelming favorite in this WS.
“Tell us we don’t have a chance! Tell us we’re going to lose in three!”
“We still might be crazy enough to convince ourselves that we’re underdogs.”
–Tigers third sacker Brandon Inge
IF WE CAN’T BE THE SYMPATHETIC UNDERDOG, I GUESS WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE THE PETTY FAVORITE
“I am not a big advocate of his and I wasn’t a big advocate of his when he was here. There’s no love lost here that he’s gone. There’s a few guys on this team who probably don’t mind him pitching the World Series against them.”
–Todd Jones, on former teammate Jeff Weaver
“I would figure that some of it got twisted. Todd Jones is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever run across. If he’s got unkind words for me, I don’t know what they’re stemming from. It’s the World Series, maybe he’s just trying to get a little jab in here and there.”
–Cardinals Game Two starter Jeff Weaver, on his boo
“Some people forget that I hadn’t pitched for four weeks before I went out there. I had pitched an inning before and got three guys out in a row, but the next guy the following inning happened to hit a 3-2 fastball over the fence. And it’s one game in the World Series. It’s the first time I ever got to get out there and compete.”
–Jeff Weaver, on his World Series performance with the Yankees (Detroit Free Press)
WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE 25-YEAR OLDS?
“I’m a human being. Just treat me like one, OK? My son gets on the Internet, he’s 25 years old, he’s reading all this stuff, he’s looking at what happened and he calls up my wife and says, ‘Do you think Daddy’s going to be able to learn from this?’ How’s that for shock factor?”
–former Oakland Athletics manager Ken Macha, fired after signing a three-year contract with the A’s last winter.
“There were things that transpired over the course of the year that the players were unhappy about. There’s no question there were things throughout the year, but the fact of the matter is that that by the end of the year, the players didn’t have the same feeling about the manager as they did at the start of the year–and that was at a point you’d think everybody would be happy, with a six-game lead. … I believe there was friction.”
–A’s center fielder Mark Kotsay, on Macha.
“The whole thing was a weird situation for me because ever since he came here we had a pretty good relationship, but over the last couple years, I could see things unfold, and I kept hearing things. He’s always been very open and communicative with me, and with some other players that wasn’t true. I heard some things that were kind of disturbing. I think there are going to be a lot of guys who are happy about this.”
–A’s third baseman Eric Chavez
“I wasn’t fired because these players were upset. I know that. Billy Beane knows that. And I’m OK with that decision.”
“The atmosphere wasn’t positive, for some reason. That was hard for us to deal with–here we are, winning the division, we’re banged up but we’re still doing what we should be doing, and every time he spoke to us, he’d say how much appreciated the effort, but then you’d read things where he was always smashing people. … This negative cloud was just eating at everybody.”
“The fact is, when you have someone leading people, you want them to be a visionary, to forge ahead and be on the front lines. We felt like we were on the front lines, and he might have been with us but he didn’t have the same conviction or faith. I think it was a fear of failure. He was a little more focused on the pessimistic stuff than on success.”
“Jay Payton was disgruntled in Boston; he was disgruntled here. He came in my office; I gave him the answer. As a matter of fact, at the beginning of the meeting we were kind of shouting at each other. But we aired it out, then he stood up, and he said, ‘I just wanted you to know my frustration.’ He shook my hand and left. I told him, ‘Payton, you start producing, you’ll be in the lineup.’ And he did.”
–Macha; Payton posted a .296/.325/.418 line on the year.
WE SUGGEST USING MAGNUMS NEXT YEAR
“I felt like he didn’t protect me. I know a lot of managers do–Paul Konerko told me that Ozzie Guillen would take a bullet for his players. I was upset, but Macha was fighting his own battle and he probably couldn’t process that kind of pressure, so, OK, I’ll wear it.”
“I know that the one thing any player wants from his manager is to be protected. If there’s a bang-bang play at first, even if you’re out, if you’re arguing you want someone there behind you. If you argue a pitch, even if you’re wrong, you want someone joining in. And I’m not sure Macha did that.”
–A’s Jason Kendall
“Well, that’s not my style. I truly believe these umpires are trying to do their best, and I think in the back of your mind, if you’re feeling they’re trying to screw you, you have missed focus. You’re letting something that you have no control over affect how you play.”
–Macha, on Kendall’s assertions that his manager didn’t back him up in disputes with umpires.
MUTINY IN OAKLAND-ALAMEDA COUNTY
“I don’t want a mud-slinging match. I want to take the high road. When I bowed out, I thanked Billy. I hope they do well next year and the year after and the year after.”
“When I got injured, I felt disrespected. The ‘puzzling’ comment really threw me. My manager didn’t have my back, and every manager’s first business is to protect his players. That totally lost my trust in that relationship, between us as player and manager.”
“Bad backs are mysterious. That was basically my comment. It was not derogatory in any manner toward Kotsay as far as him not wanting to play or his desire to play.”
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE REASON!
“I can’t come out and say that, because Billy didn’t come out and say it. I think you can figure it out, though.”
–Macha, on the reason he was fired.
“I don’t want Billy to take heat for this because this is what needed to happen. If Billy is comfortable with it, we’re behind Billy. Maybe Billy saw the same thing the players saw. If Billy gets blasted in the media, it’s ridiculous. Billy’s going to get a lashing, and he shouldn’t.”
“I heard Steve Phillips on ESPN saying, ‘I don’t understand this move because those guys were playing for Macha.’ Well, we didn’t play for him. This collective group wanted to win together, we felt we have a chance to win together, and we provided the leadership. The core guys who went out and played every day were the leaders of the team and carried us through the uncertainty. If there were problems, they were dealt with among the 25 guys.”
–Kotsay, calling into question what studio personalities know or don’t know.
ALSO, THERE WAS A GROWING CONSENSUS THAT KEN MAY HAVE BEEN PART OF THE DHARMA INITIATIVE
“Everyone thought it was weird Kotsay didn’t hit against left-handers the last two months of the season, he’s so great defensively. And it was unfair to sit him two months against lefties and then all of a sudden throw him in there in the playoffs against tough lefties like Santana and Kenny Rogers. I don’t think Macha handled that correctly.”
–A’s pitcher Dan Haren
“How do you judge a manager? Was the team prepared to play? Did we win? Listen, 25 guys aren’t going to love you, but did they play hard every day and go out and produce to the best of their ability? Really, that’s the way you should be judged.”
–Macha (Boston Globe)
“Deep down inside, I think he cared about the players, he just didn’t have a good way of communicating. He was always asking me about guys, he wanted to know if they were OK, but I was always the one he talked to in his office and I was probably the one who least needed to be in there.”
IT’S CALLED A TOP-DOWN ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, PEOPLE
“I don’t know how he put up with it for that long. Everybody has to answer to their general manager and you want feedback and suggestions from the organization. The best organizations are the ones who do things together and are on the same page. But in the end, it’s the manager’s decision who to play, when to play them.”
–an A.L. executive, on Macha’s toleration of Beane’s “interference.”
“Billy wanted Kielty in the postseason, and I play Kotsay, and then Kotsay comes out and says bad things about me while I basically got fired because I played him. It’s kind of sad.”
“That’s one instance, but it happened a lot.”
“It’s a total fabrication. The A’s have moved on. Unfortunately, Ken’s memories of some things and the A’s memories of some things are a little different, and the most important thing is that we’ve gone our way and he’s gone his way.”
–A’s general manager Billy Beane, on Macha’s comments.
“Haren had pitched all these big games for us, and now I’m telling him he has Game Four. … If Harden gave up eight runs, are you going to come in and ask, ‘Why did Billy pitch this guy?’ No. Fortunately, Kotsay made two great catches and kept the game close.”
–Macha, on being told to start Rich Harden in Game Three.
THAT’S A PRETTY LOW HIGH ROAD THERE, KEN
“What I want to do is take the high road. Let’s focus on the eight years that I was there, the four years I was the manager, and what we did, all the success and the Rookies of the Year and the players we developed and all the other stuff. Let’s not just look at the last day. Don’t judge me by that. Don’t do that. I know why I was fired and Billy knows why I was fired.”
JUST WHEN YOU THINK SPORTS ARE JUST FOR FUN…YOU REALIZE T.O. COULD PROBABLY DO A BETTER JOB RUNNING OUR COUNTRY
“It’s impossible to break through with any message. It’s all Tigers, all the time. Not that that’s a bad thing.”
—John Truscott, campaign spokesman for Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick Devos
“We’ve come to represent a lot of things to a lot of people. And we’ve been getting a lot of pats on the back for what we’ve done. But it’s not over. We still haven’t finished the race. We can’t lose that edge that’s helped us get to this point. It’s nice that everybody’s loving us now, but it wouldn’t be bad if some didn’t give us a chance against the Cardinals.”
–Tigers outfielder Craig Monroe
“The focus is going to be on the games. But it is very good news that the Tigers are in the World Series. There will be plenty of time to deal with campaign issues.”
—Chris DeWitt, spokesman for incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm (Detroit Free Press)
“It’s really a breath of fresh air for everybody. They’ve been so down in the dumps for the last 15 years. It’s giving people something to talk about other than all the depressing things that are going on around town.”
–Detroiter Tony Lalomie
“[The Series] is actually making people feel better about Michigan.”
–pollster Ed Sarpolus
“Everyone can go back to the doldrums very quickly as soon as they drive through their neighborhood and see all the ‘for sale’ signs. That’s a real quick reality check.”
BASEBALL IS THE OPIATE OF THE MASSES
“People are really afraid. Where will my son work? Will retirement benefits be available for me? And this provides that kind of hope, the bridge to get us to the next conversation. This Tiger team, down but never out, is kind of emblematic of the spirit and heart of the city of Detroit.”
–Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick. One-third of Detroit lives below the poverty line.
“This is as bad as it’s been since, God, I don’t know when.”
–an unemployed Detroiter
“The Tigers could sweep this thing and then we’ll be able to focus better.”
—Dick Devos, Republican gubernatorial challenger (San Diego Union Tribune)
“This is one of the toughest times that this city has been through. There’s companies laying off 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 people. And that’s real life.”
–Todd Jones (Miami Herald)
ON ONE HAND, MERIT IS A GOOD THING…WHAT WAS THE OTHER HAND AGAIN?
“On the one hand, it’s a good thing: being hired and fired based on your worth, and what you mean to an organization, whether you’re a minority or not. I’m not against the overall scheme, but my selfishness allows me to think that things don’t look quite right.”
— former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel (ESPN.com)
“We got up to 10; now we’re at three. Am I happy where we are? No. We’ve got to do better. But I know clubs are interviewing minority candidates. I’m confident that we will add more minority managers, and well we should. I can’t tell the clubs whom to hire. All I can tell them to do is increase the pool. And they have. When I look at the Mets and see Omar and Willie, it proves what we’re doing is right. But we’ve got to do better.”
–MLB commissioner Bud Selig
“Where we are in society, this shouldn’t be an issue. The big picture is, ‘Is it fair? Did you do a job?’ Don’t grade me on how I did as a black manager; grade me how I did as the manager of the White Sox. When society gets away from that, the better it will be. But it still hides in the belly of men.”
–Manuel, 2000 AL Manager of the Year
“No. Kids today are determining in high school what sport they’re going to play long-term. It has nothing to do with managers in the major leagues.”
–Cardinals hitting coach Hal McRae, on the importance of managers of color.
“Brian Sabean, the Giants’ GM, told me that he wants to talk with me as soon as possible, while the Nationals are looking for the best interview date next week.”
—Manny Acta, Mets bench coach.
B-B-B-BUT IT’S THE NATIONAL PASTIME!
“I think commissioner Selig said it very well the other day when he said the early numbers are down, but you don’t know how long the Series will go. And going to be down just a tad, really just a percentage point or two from last year.”
–Fox Sports president Ed Goren (Boston Globe)
“Looking ahead to the World Series, our ratings people say a New York-Detroit series, game for game, would potentially outrate a St. Louis-Detroit series. But having said that, it’s more about the volume than about the matchup.”
–Goren (San Diego Union Tribune)
“Six years ago the Division Series was an asset to the company. Now, with a much stronger prime-time schedule, we’re going with more prime-time programming. We have an LCS and the World Series, which are great promotional platforms, but we’re cutting back a bit.”
—Ed Goren. The Division Series games averaged a 4.9 rating, down from last year’s 6.6.
“This is probably the Series nobody wanted. But that doesn’t bother us. We’ve proven that we belong here.”
–Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson
“Whether teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, who pay so much into revenue-sharing, like it or not, the fact is that this is good for the game. If the Tigers win the World Series, it will be great for the game in a year with record attendance and record profits.”
–anonymous MLB executive (ESPN.com)
“That sounds a little low to me. It’s America’s pastime.”
–Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, on a poll that estimated 32 percent of Americans were baseball fans.
HMM…BASEBALL PLAYERS, YOU SAY. NEVER HEARD OF THEM
“I want good athletes. I want people who can run, hit, and play baseball, and who hustle and play the game right. I want pitchers who throw strikes and aren’t all over the strike zone. That’s what I demand.”
–new Cubs manager Lou Piniella
“The business of baseball is being operated much more efficiently. Owners are becoming better owners. League officials are becoming more aware of the opportunity for content both nationally and internationally. The force of the revenue streams basically put the collective bargaining process into a different framework than it’s been in the past.”
–Superagent Scott Boras, on the pending labor agreement (ESPN.com)
“It saddens me. I think true baseball fans who know and understand everything Barry has done to get to this point should be pulling for him. They should feel fortunate that they’ll have the opportunity to see him break probably the most hallowed record in sports.”
—Barry Bonds‘ agent, Jeff Borris.
“I was surprised, but I’m glad we did it. It was a really good deal for me and the team. It’s paid off.”
–Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez, on his surprise at the amount the Tigers gave him in his five-year, $75 million dollar contract.
“The focus will be on children. The last thing we want is a bunch of drunks putting softballs into people’s windows.”
—Peter Zeiler, special projects manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, on the future of Tiger Stadium (Detroit Free Press)
“What would the world be like if he were still in baseball?”
–historian David Maraniss, on George W. Bush (The Daily Page)
“I know the great baseball story is the New York teams aren’t here, which a lot of people are finding hard to accept, especially Fox. I just think this Series is a great story, the conclusion of what’s going to take place well worth sitting through every commercial with Tommy Lasorda.”
–Tigers first base coach Andy Van Slyke (New York Post)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here.