IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES, YOU DON’T DIE LIKE THE NAZIS
“It’s like a split-finger; downward angle, maybe runs in a little bit.”
–Stokes, who took the pitch for a 3-2 count before striking out on a slider. (Tom D’Angelo, Palm Beach Post)
“This being my first year, I’m trying to focus on if I allow a runner to get on base, to keep them there and not allow them to score.”
–Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka
WHAT WE’RE HEARING FROM RED SOX NATION IS THAT WE’D LIKE TO LEAD WITH BLAMING THEO AND THEN SLOWLY SHIFT THE BLAME TO BORAS
“I think my degree of readiness is very difficult to judge. I’m about 40-50 percent there.”
“I can feel Red Sox Nation shuddering.”
–ESPN NFL analyst Bill Parcells, when Daisuke gave up a gap double.
“He was saying something. But I didn’t understand it. We can communicate by sign language.”
–Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek
“He came out and basically said, ‘Can you throw a slider, inside–can you do it?’ And yes, it was in English.”
–Matsuzaka, on his battery mate Varitek. (Boston Globe)
“It’s not something that I’m particularly concerned about.”
–Matsuzaka, on his control.
THEY ONLY WANT WHAT THEY CAN HAVE
“Absolutely. We told them up front when we opted out that they were on top of the list, and we wanted to keep the channels open and talk about re-signing there. But after I opted out, they really showed no interest. The thing with me is we were looking for some job security, and I know where the Dodgers were heading, and I didn’t want to become trade bait at some point down the road, and those were things that were very important to me, and it seemed like they didn’t want to pursue any of those avenues. So they moved on, and I kind of had to do the same thing.”
–Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew, on opting out of his Dodgers’ contract.
“The things that disappointed me were some of things Ned said. He called me not a man of my word, a hypocrite, those things. I could have very much understood if I had ever looked him in the eye and told him I would never explore the option in my contract. At the time I talked to Ned, and I still feel this way greatly about LA: I loved playing there, I loved where I lived, and would have loved to have stayed if we had come to an agreement. I never once brought up the option to Ned, we never ever talked about the option. He never once said, ‘Hey, you’ve got an option in your contract. Are you happy here?'”
–Drew, on Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.
“Those were times me and my wife were racking our brains about what we wanted to do, because we were so happy where we were. And Ned, like I said, said a lot of things about ‘not a man of his word,’ and this and that, and those things kind of offended me. I haven’t had a chance to talk with him at all. I think he was kind of shocked by the whole thing, and maybe taken aback and said some things. I don’t know what he feels about it now, but like I said, if I would have ever come along six weeks before and ever said, ‘Ned, I have an option. Don’t worry about it, I’m not leaving,’ then he could have said I was a hypocrite and not a man of my word.”
–Drew (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)
AFTER HIS PLAYING CAREER IS OVER, HE’LL BE A MEDICAL RESIDENT IN BOOTHAMOLOGY
“Booing Mike Schmidt? That’s really weird. How can they boo Mike Schmidt? O.K., here’s the question that I have for you: Is it the kind of booing where we want you out of here and we want somebody better than you? Or is it, we want you, but we want you to do better? It’s a fine line between those two.”
—Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, on learning that Schmidt was booed. (Tyler Kepner, The New York Times)
“The biggest thing a guy like myself or Alex Rodriguez can do is keep yourself out of the news, and not always try to explain everything. You give the reporters too much, and the fans too much to read and discuss about you. You get yourself in trouble, because that tends to keep the focus on you. It’s so much easier if you can figure out how to operate under the radar.”
–former Phillie and fellow third baseman Mike Schmidt
“It’s about pleasing yourself, that’s it. It’s about doing the best you can every day, it’s about not cheating the game. And if you start trying to chase that–and I’ve done it for many years–it doesn’t work. You’ve got to go play and do your thing. Some people are going to like you, some people are not going to like you, and some people are going to be in the middle. I think they’re just kind of waiting to see where you go.”
YEAH! SCREW PARK FACTORS!
“You want to be aware of the environment, but I can’t worry about changing my approach because of the ballpark. That’s when you get in trouble.”
“He’s passionate and energetic. Those things are great for the game, to have those qualities. He cares. It’s real. I think that’s great.”
–Lilly, on his manager, Lou Piniella.
(Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)
DEATH BY PECOTA
“That’s a good sign for us because usually they’re wrong about everything regarding our dealings. What can you do? We put the best team together we can, and we think we’re going to end up somewhere in the mid-90s, although there are all kinds of variables off that.”
–White Sox GM Kenny Williams, on Baseball Prospectus.
“We have won a lot of games the last couple of years, and we didn’t do a whole lot different other than a couple of bullpen spots and the fifth starter.”
“Maybe we’re a year better then. I’ve run out of ways to respond to all the daggers that have been thrown our way over the years. I asked someone the other day who over the years has continued to be embarrassed, ‘Don’t you get tired of being wrong or is it you figure one of these days you’re going to be right?'”
–Williams, on criticism his team is too old.
“I saw a bunch of preseason stuff last year that had us repeating as World Series [champions] and what good did that do for us?”
–Paul Konerko (Dave Van Dyck, Chicago Tribune)
MMM…THE FIRST TIME A MAN HEARS ABOUT AN AWESOME STAT
“I don’t think there is another organization like it. So far this spring I’ve taken Spanish classes and medical seminars, and I’ve had an education on new statistics I didn’t realize were that important before. Everyone in the organization has, in every way, shape, or form, helped me make this transition.”
—Gabe Kapler, on the Red Sox.
“What I’ll always reflect upon are the relationships. Some of my most meaningful and nostalgic conversations took place in that clubhouse. I’ll reflect on those people who inspired me, the Brad Millses of the world.”
–Kapler, on Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. (Bob Ryan, Boston Globe)
GARY, I WILL GIVE YOU $10,000 TO APPEAR AT MY DAUGHTER’S BAT MITZVAH
“It was something I really wanted. I thought it was the perfect situation for me and the perfect park for me. I know how New York is. New York fans love me, but I was going to a park where I felt I could succeed. I didn’t want to let anyone know my thoughts, but I’m sure they could sense it.”
—Tigers DH Gary Sheffield on past desires to join the Red Sox. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“Even when I was out in public, Boston fans would say, ‘Why are you hanging out with Jeter? We hate the Yankees, but we respect you.’ And Jeter would say, ‘Man, when we go out in Boston, no one messes with Gary. Everybody’s always talking good about Gary.’ I used to wonder why, too. Maybe it’s the style of play or something else, but I always sensed the respect factor, even when I came to the plate.”
“I felt like driving in 120-something runs should secure your position, and it never did mine from day one.”
–Sheffield, on his time with the Yankees.
“The thing I wondered and worried about is if I got out of that situation, would I be able to keep the fire burning. I’ve seen the passion in Boston, just like in New York. I felt like it was a perfect place for me to play, with a park pretty much made for me, but it didn’t work out.”
“I had some good teachers in the past, but when you’re in this kind of atmosphere, it all settles in. I’ve learned from the best in a losing atmosphere, and it just doesn’t carry the weight.”
–White Sox catcher Toby Hall, on his new teammates. (Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun-Times)
“A lot of times, people pick on those things because they’re not smart enough to know what else to say.”
—Indians manager Eric Wedge, on critics who criticize his lack of emphasis on bunting and stealing. (Ohio.com)
“Ostrich was phenomenal. Warthog was outstanding. A little different taste, but it’s really good. Hardebeest, wildebeest, gazelle, all that stuff. Very, very tasty. It’s just the zebra you don’t want to eat. We shot them for bait. For lions.”
—Padres pitcher David Wells (Bernie Wilson, AP)
“You always hear about the greatest pitchers being a student of the game. I’ll be the first to say I’m not. But I will do whatever it takes to be the best at what I do, whether it’s finding how to command a changeup or breaking ball, whether it’s making the adjustments I have to make now to make sure I get my fastball over for strikes. I think that’s the biggest thing–to say, ‘This is what I need to work on; how do I get it done?’ And doing it.”
—Homer Bailey, (Scott Priestle, Columbus Post Dispatch)
“Back here now, you can see it. People said a year ago I couldn’t get the head [of the bat] out. But the head is there. It never left. I needed time for myself, to recharge my batteries.”
—Rangers DH Sammy Sosa (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
“I’m thoroughly impressed with the scouting and development departments, and I’m hard to impress. I don’t say that because I’m new on board. We are going about it the right way, and we are going to succeed.”
—Nationals scout Chuck LaMar (Barry Svrluga, Washington Post)