NAPPING IN DEREK JETER’S GUEST ROOM THERE’S A SAD LITTLE BALLPLAYER NAMED MELKY WHO DIDN’T GET TO MAKE THAT CALL
“It’s up to the player, and I think it’s how their body feels.”
–Caribbean Series manager for Venezuela, Buddy Bailey, on major leaguers playing in the Caribbean Series. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“Is it their salary year, and have they already signed a contract for a couple of years, or do they have a salary year coming up? Some may want to give 100 percent because it’s their salary year coming up. I think it’s a lot of variables. Some may not feel as strong as they need to feel with Spring Training coming up. It’s a whole lot of factors.”
“When you talk about the native players, whether they are playing in the Major Leagues or the Minor Leagues, these guys are getting to Spring Training around Feb. 15. They don’t get back home until October. They have a lot of other responsibilities at home. Maybe a family member is sick or people they don’t get to see much because they are playing Winter League ball? They may say, ‘I’m going to take a break and see my family.’ At the same time, they’ll work out and get ready for Spring Training.”
SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR DIRECTV? ANYONE?
“I am opposed to anything that deprives people of reasonable choices. In this day and age, consumers should have more choices — not fewer. I’d like to know how this serves the public — a deal that will force fans to subscribe to DirecTV in order to tune in to their favorite players. A Red Sox fan ought to be able to watch their team without having to switch to DirecTV.”
—John Kerry, on MLB moving their Extra Innings package to cable.
“He wants to find out more facts and find out what the FCC can do.”
–Kerry spokesman Vince Morris
“I’m not sure that reaching only 15 million people with Extra Innings and the new network is such a great business model. If you’re a good distributor, you want to get the whole world.”
—Bob Gutkowski, CEO of Sports Marketing Intl.
“But baseball is not negotiating from a position of strength. Its ratings have fallen off in the last couple of years, and the last few World Series have hit record lows.”
—Rick Gentile, professor of sports management at Seton Hall.
“Manufacturers are working on devices that will link up the computer to your TV set wirelessly.”
–sports marketer Chris Bevilacqua (John Dempsey, Variety)
COME ON CURT, WHAT WOULD GEHRIG DO?
“That’s the way everything happens in this town, but they know I’m not doing that. Perception outside of the Red Sox and myself is uncontrollable for us. I’ve talked to Mr. Henry and Theo and we talked on this before it got public. We’re all in a good place.”
–Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling
“I think there’s things that you write that are absolutely and totally unequivocally uncalled for. I think you take personal vendettas to the paper. I think you rip people in the paper because you don’t like them whether they’re good people or not. As an athlete, that bothers me, but as a teammate of these people, it bothers me even more . . . I certainly came in with a little bias, but I don’t think that given what’s happened that it’s unmerited.”
–Schilling, addressing Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.
“As hard as it is for some people in your business to believe, I don’t enjoy talking to the media. I don’t look forward to being in front of you guys…. I find it ironic how people in the media say, ‘I’ve been pretty nice to you,’ as if they’ve gone out of their way to write things that are nice about me as if I’m not a nice person. I’m a good person. I don’t wish hateful things on people. I don’t hate anybody. I know that I treat people right. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve said dumb things, but I wouldn’t think people have to go to extra effort to make me out to be a nice guy.”
“You don’t know me beyond what you see in the clubhouse and what you’ve heard other people say about me. We’ll never sit down and have a beer together because we both have families and we’re too busy. We’re going to know each other as well as a player and a member of the media know each other. And in the scope of things, that’s not very deep. You’ve kind of got to go on what you can see and hear and what people tell you. I go on what I read.”
–Schilling (Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe)
IN OTHER GULLIBLE SPORTS MEDIA NEWS, PETER KING WAS STUCK IN A MOUSETRAP AFTER SOMEONE BAITED IT WITH A SLIMFAST MILKSHAKE
“We’re very happy for them, of course, but we can’t say much more other than Marie has some strong childhood memories of Coney Island and that’s why we all went down to watch the orthodox rabbi who married them at Nathan’s Famous [hot dog stand]. It’s amazing the grip that nostalgia has on people.”
–Theo Epstein’s father, Boston University professor Leslie Epstein, on his son getting married.
“You are right, of course, that people do get married in blimps and racing cars and — well, you name it.”
–Epstein, after reporters found out the wedding had not occurred on Coney Island.
“Neither Theo or Marie has ever been to Coney Island as far as I know, or has ever tasted a Nathan’s Famous (though I have — perfectly delicious), and Rabbi Schnitzelbaum slept undisturbed all day long. In short, not a word of it was meant to be taken seriously.”
WATCH OUT JASON BAY, YOU’RE NEXT!
“Everything I said that night, I’ve been saying to Jose for three years. And I don’t regret it. But I do want people to understand why I said it, and that’s because here we are, all of a sudden, with a chance for the Pittsburgh Pirates to be competitive with the lineup we have. And can you imagine what we would do if Jose could put up the numbers we all know he can have?”
–Pirates SS Jack Wilson, who put up a craptacular .241 EqA while hitting .273/.316/.370 in 2006, on IF Jose Castillo.
“It’s the best team we’ve had in my six years, by far, bar none. And it has a chance to be remarkable, the kind of team that Pittsburgh’s been wanting to see for a long time. That’s what I care about. I’m ready to bust my butt going into this season, and I’m hoping Jose is, too, because … if he has a good year, we’re all going to have a really good year.”
–Wilson. Castillo hit .253/.299/.382.
“Look, I’m harder on myself than anyone. I’m coming off a bad season. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t show up at the yard. And you know what? I think we have five or six leaders on this team, and I feel like I’ve been around long enough at shortstop to be the leader of Jose Castillo. It’s my job to break in the second baseman. And it’s so frustrating to watch him not be the player that I know he can be.”
–Wilson. Castillo is 7 for 17 representing Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.
SOMEONE ASK LITTLEFIELD WHAT THE PARTY LINE IS
“This is the first time I feel we’ve got a legitimate shot, like we can compete every day with the best teams out there.”
–Wilson. (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“It was pretty crazy; those fans were so into it. I got to spend a little more time with the GM and the coaches, find out the direction they’re going. It’s going to be fun. It’s not going to be easy. It’s a real young team, definitely going to be a challenge. Their goal right now is about change, almost like their goal is to try to be a .500 team, then try get to playoffs later. They don’t know whether it takes three years or five years.”
–Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, on the Pirates fan convention.
“Dude, I want to win. And this is how I look at it: If this team fails, I’m the first one to go. Maybe it will become a salary issue, and who’s No. 1 on the salary list? Me. Well, I don’t want to go anywhere. I signed this contract for a reason, and that’s to win right where I am.”
–Wilson. He is the highest paid Pirates player.
“I don’t see Jose Castillo as an average major-league player or as just a good defender. I see him as a potential star.”
“I watch this kid and what he does in batting practice, I see what he does in the field when he’s just goofing around, and I think there’s nobody like him in baseball at that position. He can be a Jeff Kent-type of offensive player and Pokey Reese with the glove. Jose can be better than both, actually. He has that type of potential, to be a middle-of-the-order guy. And you know what? I’m sure he’s going to be that someday. I have no doubt about that. My thing is, I want it to happen this year. Right now.”
DID YOU EVER KNOW THAT YOU’RE MY HERO?
“I understand the position I put myself in with the things I’ve done over the last couple years, and I understand the importance of having everyone on my team behind me. I understand why there are question marks. I have a good enough relationship with my teammates where I’m going to go in and act like I’m getting ready for the season and I’m part of the team.”
—Yankees starter Carl Pavano
“My body feels stronger. This workout is going to follow me through the rest of the season, and this is what I’ll do the rest of my career.”
“I can only really judge myself. I’ve always worked hard, but now I work smart.”
–Pavano (Ben Shpigel, New York Times)
WE HAVE SIMILAR FEARS EVERY DAY
“One of the things I was most worried about in coming over here was obviously the food. But to my surprise, I found the vegetables are great, the fish tastes great.”
–Red Sox SP Daisuke Matsuzaka
“As you know, joining a five-day rotation is a new experience for me, and I’m just trying to get my overall strength up in preparation for that.”
“It’s a big challenge. My training has been comparable to past seasons.”
–Matsuzaka. (Ken Peters, Boston Globe)
AFTER THE INTERVIEW, BEANE SAID, ‘TAP YOUR HEELS TOGETHER THREE TIMES…’
“If you think of the last decade, we’ve had a lot of great people here, people aren’t going to even associate them with this club because they’ve all gone onto other clubs. I do think that that’s important for the history of the franchise. You had Hudson, Mulder and Zito here. And Barry just signed a seven-year deal. The length of that deal will carry him beyond his tenure here. It is important for a baseball team to have a history and associate themselves with players who are a part of that history. That’s one thing this generation won’t have. We will have accomplished a lot of success but we won’t have created a history beyond winning on the field. I do think that’s important.”
–A’s GM Billy Beane (Athletics Nation)
“I’ve said this many times, I’ve got a lot of good friends and most of them I wouldn’t hire as my manager. Bob probably should’ve been in the major leagues sooner than he was. The fact that I have known him a long time probably hindered him a little bit. To me it’s completely contradictory, one minute the front office doesn’t get along with the manager, the next he gets along too well with the manager. Which way do you want it?”
–Beane, on new manager Bob Geren, Beane’s longtime friend.
“So I knew the first indication that we’d hit on something when I called Assistant GM Ken Forsch and I said, “Ken, I’d like to ask for permission to speak to Ty Van Burkleo for our major league hitting job.” He just groaned like I was afraid you were going to say that. To me that was a validation of what their own organization thought about him and the last time that someone had that reaction when I called to ask about another person is when John Hart had that reaction when I called about Paul DePodesta.”
— Beane, on recruiting his team’s new hitting coach.
“Baseball, football, the difference is time. Football is so fast, but baseball is so slow, everyone can second-guess you. After a baseball game, even in the Series, you could go out, have beers and think about the next one. You had time. There is only one game for the Bears. I don’t think the Bears will be going out for beers on Saturday night. All they’ve got is a couple of hours to put that championship ring on their hands.”
—White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. The Bears lost the big game. (John Kass, Chicago Tribune)
“I’m a little more nervous sitting here doing this than I am hitting a 100-mph fastball.”
–Yankees CF Johnny Damon, on playing Madden ’07 versus Snoop Dogg. (MLB.com)
“He’s a great catcher but he’s a better person. I just think our staff did a great job in recognizing how serious it was and we feel that we were able to shut him down in time and hopefully he’ll be able to live a normal life. I think his example will go a long way in helping to ensure that players take concussions seriously in the future.”
—Giants general manager Brian Sabean, on ending the career of catcher Mike Matheny. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I didn’t grow up reading Bill James. I actually first became aware of the sabermetric community on the Usenet newsgroup rec.sport.baseball in the late ’80s, when I was in college. I played around with stats on my own, and in the mid-1990s I started working on what would eventually become VORP. After several false starts, and debating what it was I wanted to actually measure, I was able to settle on a few important points, which guided VORP’s development.”
—Keith Woolner, on developing his Value Over Replacement Player statistic. (Rob Neyer, ESPN.com)
“It’s the story of a boy named Alex who knows what it’s like to swing at a wild pitch or have a ball bounce right between his legs.”
–the HarperCollins press release for Alex Rodriguez‘s new children’s book, “Out of the Ballpark.” The book is billed as autobiographical fiction. (Michael Schmidt, New York Times)
“Straight up, yes. Our numbers don’t compare. However, I like me a lot more than I like Todd, and Todd is a good guy.”
–Red Sox third sacker Mike Lowell, on whether he would have traded himself for Todd Helton. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)