THOSE BRAVE UPHOLDERS OF TRADITION
“I sent in a blank ballot. I didn’t vote for anybody. It’s nothing personal against Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken Jr., who have numbers that speak for themselves. … (But) to me, the steroid era is not worthy of my vote. Anyone who played in that era makes me reluctant to jump on bandwagons.”
–Chicago sportswriter Paul Ladewski, on his HOF ballot.
“I want him to vote his conscience. I want him to vote how he feels. I don’t want anybody trying to sing my praises. If he feels like I’m worthy enough, then hey. … If he doesn’t, for whatever reason, then don’t.”
—Padres OF Tony Gwynn on Ladewski. (Tim Sullivan, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“I’m not the kind of person who will rant and rave. I want to make a conscientious vote on this. I don’t want to go in half-cocked. I’d rather vote for someone one year too late than one year too early.”
WAS THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT UNANIMOUS? I REST MY CASE.
“I will say this about unanimity. I don’t think it will ever happen, and am not sure that it should. What is wrong with dissent? Isn’t that part of the American character? Not everybody voted for George Washington or Abe Lincoln, a couple of slam-dunk Hall of Famers, if you ask me. At the risk of being blasphemous, even Jesus did not get a unanimous vote at the Last Supper.”
—Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA.
“I refuse to vote for any veteran who played in that period, even if he was not a suspected user. In my opinion, any such player had an obligation to blow the whistle in the best interests of the game, even if he did it anonymously.”
“I understand this is an unusually hard-line approach, but I believe it’s my responsibility to uphold the Hall of Fame standards in whatever way necessary.”
TIM, YOU’RE MAKING TOO MUCH SENSE. TAKE THE PLASCHKE PILL AND CALL US IN THE MORNING
“I personally don’t think we look particularly good as a group that we’ve never had a unanimous Hall of Famer. I mean, really – Willie Mays, Hank Aaron – give me a reason why somebody didn’t vote for them. That’s preposterous…The fact that we haven’t had [a unanimous choice], I don’t think that’s a tradition we should be preserving. I think it’s a tradition we should be ending.”
–ESPN baseball reporter Tim Kurkjian
“If there’s one player I’m sure never took steroids, it’s Tony Gwynn. He had his problems with KFC. Tony is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a first-ballot person. There should be no question about it.”
–NY Post columnist Kevin Kernan
“He never had a bad day in the field and he never had a bad day in the clubhouse. That’s what it takes to be unanimous. To be unanimous, you have to win the votes of the curmudgeons who say guys should have to wait a year. You have to win the curmudgeon vote. I’ve covered Tony Gwynn and I’ve seen him break down curmudgeons for a career and make them his friends.”
–LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke, on Gwynn’s candidacy.
WE HAVE PROOF MCGWIRE MAY HAVE BOILED THIS SYNTHETIC CORE AND INJECTED IT INTO HIS LEFT BUTTOCK
“Examining the CT images of Mark McGwire‘s 70th home run ball one can clearly see the synthetic ring around the core–or ‘pill’–of the baseball.”
–Universal Medical Systems president David Zavagno
“While Mark McGwire may or may not have used illegal steroids, the evidence shows his ball–under the governing body of the league–was juiced.”
“The synthetic rubber ring of the modern-day baseball, in this case that of Mark McGwire’s prized 70th home run ball, acts as both a spring and a ‘stop.’ Much like a sling shot pulled back 10 or 20 degrees farther than normal, the subsequent restitution or rebound allows an object to fly faster and farther.”
RANDY JOHNSON COULD LEARN A THING OR TWO–THE FORCE IS STRONG IN THIS ONE
“I have no idea. Please ask Daisuke directly.”
—Yankees LHP Kei Igawa, on how the Boras negotiations affected Matsuzaka.
“The goalkeeper for Belgium’s national soccer team.”
–Igawa, on who his personal hero is.
“I’ve lost my wallet four times. I got it back every single time.”
“In Japan, I bought candy. In the U.S., I left tips at the St. Regis.”
–Igawa, describing what he spent his first paycheck on. (Franz Lidz, SI.com)
RUDY, YOU ALWAYS NEED SOMETHING TO FIX
“My maturity level has reached a point where I know I have to make adjustments or it’s going to get worse. Maybe I thought I knew myself better than I really did.”
—Hank Blalock, Rangers third sacker, who managed a .216/.281/.315 line against lefties last year.
“I told him, ‘You are a waste of talent.’ I asked him if he was going to keep [making excuses about age] his whole career. He knows I think he can be the best hitter on our club. I believe in him. But I was frustrated inside just like him.”
–Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, on Blalock’s 2006 performance.
“It’s going to be: ‘Rudy, fix me.’ I know there is going to be some adversity. I’m going to have to deal with some awkwardness and uncomfortable feelings. But I’m going to make an extra effort to be coachable. I’m going to give myself to Rudy and do what he asks of me.”
–Blalock (Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News)
YEAH, WEAVER, PAPELBON, CAIN, VERLANDER, GORZELANNY, HAMELS, HUGHES…NO PITCHING AT ALL
“I’m not sure guys are staying healthy enough to fulfill that role as No. 1 starter. The drafting philosophy now is take the biggest power-throwing kid you can find. Guys like myself and Maddux were second-round picks when we came up. We’d never go that high if a scout saw us pitch now.”
—Mets LHP Tom Glavine
“The reason we liked Ted Lilly so much is that we knew he’d go out there and throw 180 innings. It’s almost as if we’re looking more for innings and games started than wins. There wasn’t a 20-game winner in the majors last year.”
—Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi
IT’S WONDERFUL TO SEE TEAMS SUPPORTING THEIR PLAYERS
“Now would be a good time to reach out to me.”
—White Sox GM Kenny Williams, on White Sox SS Jose Uribe, who recently suggested he might not play in 2007 because of legal problems related to a shooting in his native Dominican Republic. (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
“Very simply, if it turns out he is in more trouble than we originally thought, decides not to report, or is distracted and can’t play at a championship level, Alex [Cintron] will take his job.”
ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS FOLLOW HIM INTO THE STALL THERE DOUG
“That went a long way in my career, that there was someone out there willing to help me.”
–new Yankees first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, on Jason Giambi‘s role in his career. He hit .283/.359/.411 for the Royals last year.
“Once I heard the Yankees and Mr. Cashman were interested, I pretty much shut down everything else. I was watching the playoffs in my living room saying, ‘That’s the perfect fit for me.’ I felt what I do best can be a huge help to those guys.”
“Offensively, Doug is a contact guy, a line-drive hitter who doesn’t hit into many double plays. I just felt, at the back of our lineup, he could fit in nicely, and his real strength is the defensive side. I’m not sure there’s anybody better, defensively, than him.”
–Yankees GM Brian Cashman (New York Times)
THEY’RE JUST TERRIFIC, YOU KNOW, AT GETTING ME COFFEE AND WORKING FOR NOTHING
“One of the things I miss most about running a team is that I loved being with the scouts, talking baseball every day. It’s something that when you’re the Commissioner, you’re isolated and you don’t get to do that as much as you like. While it might sound trite to some people, the scouts are the lifeblood of the sport.”
–MLB commissioner Bud Selig
“Baseball is truly a great community and a great family.”
“My respect and admiration for scouts is enormous. That’s something we all have to work on. Scouts often are taken for granted and not treated with the respect and admiration that they should. When you think about it, the success of an organization really comes down to scouting. When I think back to the 1970s and a struggling Brewers franchise, a scout found Robin Yount, a scout found Paul Molitor. They came through our system and were found by an extraordinary group of scouts, who got little credit, but should have gotten all of the credit.”
–Bud Selig (Barry Bloom, MLB.com)
“Billy [Beane]’s outrageously successful approach in changing the game of baseball by using facts to supplement instinct is very similar to the transformation our customers undergo when they move their business to NetSuite. We are all excited about the insight Billy will bring to NetSuite and our customers.”
—Evan Goldberg, chairman, co-founder and chief technology officer of NetSuite.
“Billy’s been able to compete with the big boys on a small budget, and our customers are using our service to do the same thing. Both of us are changing the game.”
—Zach Nelson, chief executive officer of NetSuite, a tech company that has put Athletics general manager Billy Beane on their board of directors. (Tim Simmers, Contra Costa Times)
“It’s a vertical audience in South Florida. In order to draw fans down to Miami from (Broward County) they need to know that the game is going to start on time and be over in two to three hours. That’s the opinion of MLB and that’s the opinion of the Marlins. A retractable roof is essential in making this situation work.”
–MLB’s Bob DuPuy, on the need for a new stadium for the Marlins. (Barry Bloom, MLB.com)
“You know you’re doing things right, so you keep doing them. In ’03, everybody [with the Cubs] was a genius. We kept doing things the way we always did, and two years later we were idiots. In truth, you’re neither one. In all my years, as long as I have been a pitching coach, I’ve never had anyone hurt like that.”
“There’s a lot involved. You can go make your own conclusions. The language is wide-ranging, I’ll give you that.”
—Giants general manager Brian Sabean, on negotiations with Barry Bonds. (Andrew Baggarly, Contra Costa Times)
“But no one knows what hand everyone else has … and there are 30 at the table. You know what direction you want to go. But you don’t know anyone else’s agenda. And no one knows what the future holds. The player you think could be the answer might be the problem.”
–Padres GM Kevin Towers (Bill Center, The Times)