“My dad wasn’t one to actually offer up a lot of praise and a lot of emotion. He held it all inside, but you could tell in his eyes that he was very proud. I lost my dad about eight years ago, and what I’ve learned is that first you think he’s gone. Then you realize very quickly that he is with you every step of the way.”
–Former Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., on his admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
“I thought they were such obvious candidates they didn’t need my vote. I wasn’t thinking in terms of 100 percent.”
–BBWAA member Bill Shannon, who voted for 10 players but not Ripken or Gwynn.
“I voted for McGwire because I don’t trust baseball writers (myself included) to be moralists or scorecard-toting C.S.I. units. I don’t think we (I) know enough about this generation of players to separate presumptive cheaters from the hundreds who cheated more subtly or intelligently, or who have otherwise avoided scrutiny. Like, oh, aging power pitchers who display tremendous resilience and longevity, not that I’m thinking of anyone in particular, Roger.”
—Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer and BBWAA member. (New York Times)
…MAY YOU HIT FOR POWER IN THE NEXT LIFE
“Validation. That’s the word I keep going back to. Because for a hitter like me, I needed to do a lot of what I did to have a chance. I got my chance. I was a good player. I knew my place.”
–former Padres OF Tony Gwynn, selected by the BBWAA for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Gwynn boasts a translated career line of .352/.404/.499.
“I was not a game-changer, I was not a dominant guy.”
“I’m glad I didn’t have to face him. He understood what he did well and perfected it. Pitchers didn’t get him out. He got himself out.”
–Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.
SO YOU’RE EITHER STUPID OR A LIAR-WE CALL THAT A WIN-WIN
“I can tell you that I didn’t know. There are a few guys who come back from the offseason bigger, but you don’t really know for sure what’s happening. I didn’t…A smarter person can look around and have suspicions.”
–Cal Ripken Jr., on the use of performance enhancing drugs during his time in the game. (Chris Jenkins, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“Maybe I’m the most naive and ignorant person around.”
“We knew. Players knew. Owners knew. Everybody knew, and we didn’t say anything about it.”
–Tony Gwynn, on steroids.
GIVING ALL NEW MEANING TO GOSSAGE’S 2000 BOOK ‘THE GOOSE IS LOOSE’
“I’ll tell you, it was weird. It was like, ‘Wow, I got that close.’ It’s almost like you’re in, but you’re not. It’s a really weird feeling.”
–former Yankees reliever Rich Gossage, on his near entry into the HOF.
“I am not bitter at all. I don’t know what comes off as sour grapes, but I have nothing to be sour about. I had the most awesome experience you could have. There is no bitterness now. How could I be bitter? Honestly. And if I say something that comes off as sour grapes, I don’t give a s—.”
–Gossage (CBS Sportsline)
“I could only imagine how dominant he would have been if he had only been asked to pitch one inning.”
–Ripken, on Gossage. (Kevin Kernan, New York Post)
THEY DID THROW NEEDLES AT BARRY. JUST SAYIN’
“Money has changed the game. I’ll be damned if I’ll let guys say Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter of all time. Let me tell you something. That’s quite a statement…. I take offense at people saying Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter of all time. Hey, endure what Hank Aaron had to endure, and then we’ll compare apples to apples. There was a time when the first pitch was at Hank’s head, because he was black.”
“(Bonds) has all that armor, and he doesn’t even need it because pitchers can’t throw at him today. (Sammy) Sosa, McGwire … when was the last time you saw them on their backs? The last thing guys think about today when they come to the plate is, ‘I might get hit with a pitch.'”
“It’s hard to saw sawdust.”
–Hall of Famer Bob Feller, on whether McGwire coming out with the truth would help his chance at the HOF.
(Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune)
THEY HAVE A TIMER THAT GOES OFF AFTER TEN SECONDS? THAT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT
“Bob is all business. Nobody can look at a spreadsheet and dissect it in about 10 seconds the way he can, and nobody can put the information to better use. He thinks everything through. And because of that, when he makes his point, everybody listens.”
— Dr. Kenneth Nanners, an anesthesiologist and friend of Bob Nutting, acting owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“The business of running a Major League Baseball team is still running a business. At the same time, I believe that winning is the most important thing. A baseball team has to win baseball games.”
“I don’t want to give the idea he didn’t have fun as a child — he did — but he was always serious-minded, even as a youngster. Very hard-working. And knowing his father, I’m not surprised.”
—Dr. Don Hofreuter, retired CEO of Wheeling Hospital and lifelong physician to the Nutting family.
“As far as questioning my commitment or my family’s commitment to winning, I think that’s completely inappropriate.”
–Nutting (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
IF THE MARLINS DON’T START A SOUTH-BEACH SECTION, THEY’RE MISSING OUT ON A KEY REVENUE STREAM
“If a person goes up there and asks for four for his family, he won’t be told no.”
–senior vice president of communications Camille Johnston, on the All You Can Eat sections of Dodger Stadium going into effect this year after a trial in 2006.
“We’re offering a fan amenity. Fans can elect to choose it or not choose it. We are offering basic ballpark fare that most fans enjoy.”
AND YOU WOULDN’T RATHER HAVE WILY MO?
“You’d go to a place and you’d think you were going to be at like a Benihana, it was like a Japanese steakhouse, which it kind of was, but then everything you would order was like a little bit different. The steaks were — you couldn’t really find what we’d consider a steak unless you went to like a Kobe steakhouse, and then it’d be like $300 for a steak. Other than that they’d bring out strips of meat that looked more like bacon. And just the culture’s just completely different from ours, so you just kind of were walking around every day just trying to figure things out.”
—Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, on his trip to Japan.
“Ah, there’s so many good albums, but a lot of them I’m thinking only have two or three really good songs on them, you know?”
–Arroyo, on his top albums. (Eric Moskowitz, Concord Monitor)
“I can say unequivocally in my 22 years I’ve known Barry Bonds he has never blamed anyone for anything.”
–union lawyer Gene Orza. Bonds’ PECOTA projection for 2007 has him with 173 at bats at a line of .267/.441/.535.
“He was on our radar screen at the end of the year, even before he went down and saw Larry. [Larry Rothschild] felt Jason was capable of being like he has been the majority of the last three years, not the second half of [last season].”
—Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, on Jason Marquis. (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
“It might be a little bit in the slot at three-quarters. I threw from the side at times in college, but they won’t let me do it here. I had two arm slots. They’d rather me stay in one slot and master all the pitches from that one arm slot. The sidearm was a good pitch to righthanded hitters. If I threw a curveball, it would start behind them. If they’re not looking for it, it makes them look pretty funny up there.”
–Baseball Prospectus No. 1 Red Sox prospect Clay Buchholz (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)