JOE BLANTON’S NEMESIS, THE MAN THEY CALL ICHIRO
“I thought I was right in what I did. Ichiro doesn’t bother anyone and he shouldn’t be pushed. (Blanton) said something he shouldn’t have, and that fired me up.”
—Mariners outfielder Jason Ellison, on Joe Blanton pushing Ichiro during a play in a game against the Athletics.
“The umpire said he saw someone jump the fence (near the dugout), and when I looked over the only guy I saw was [Miguel] Batista. The umpires told me Ichiro would get tossed unless I could tell them who jumped the fence. Batista was standing there and I wasn’t going to let Ichiro get ejected. I know Batista took exception to that.”
–Mariners manager John McLaren
“At that point I lost my temper. When you lose your temper sometimes you don’t really think about what you do. That’s just the way it goes. It’s over now. It’s not that big of a deal.”
–A’s hurler Joe Blanton
NO NEED FOR DRUG TESTING IN CHICAGO
“Sometimes you feel like you’ve never been in the batters box before. Everything is off, your timing is off, you’re missing pitches, you’re scrambling to hit pitches you can’t hit. It’s just been a battle. I wasn’t helping the team much.”
—Pirates left fielder Jason Bay, on his efforts at the plate before a breakout weekend.
“I had a rough time in the first two innings with my windup. I changed my delivery right after that.”
—Carlos Zambrano, Cubs pitcher, on his outing against the Pirates. (Allan Robinson, (Alan Robinson, Forbes.com)
THE BRONX IS BURNING-NOT THE REMIX, BUT THE ORIGINAL
“I could have wrote the stories and told about anti-Semitism and racism and all that kind of stuff. But why do that? Why talk about people who are dead? Why trample on a man’s grave and bring that kind of stuff up?”
–Reggie, not bringing stuff up.
“I felt like I had reached stardom and justified it. Maybe I’ll say this in true Reggie style: I became the player I thought I was.”
–Jackson, on those days.
HE PROMISED THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH A WINNER AND YOU DON’T HEAR THEM COMPLAINING
“I’ve given everything I have to the team, to the city of Pittsburgh, and I would like nothing more than to be part of a championship there. But I’ve had enough. They tricked me into signing that contract, and what they are doing to me now is retaliation because I complained about it.”
–relief pitcher Salomon Torres of the Pirates. Torres claims Littlefield promised him a baseball academy in his last contract.
“I liked the idea. I was thinking of it like deferred money, something I could have for later in life. They kept me interested enough. They made me believe. Dave told me he’d think about it, but that I’d have to sign at a hometown discount. I did that.”
“Salomon has filed a grievance and, relative to the grievance, there really is nothing that I can discuss. All I can say on the issue is that we handled things professionally.”
–Pirates GM Dave Littlefield
“I don’t have a problem with the diagnosis or the treatments. But they told me it would be up to me to tell them when I felt good enough to come back. Now, all of a sudden, I hear about another month. I feel like I’m being blackballed from the team.”
“I love them all like brothers, and I want them to know that. If it happens that I stay with the Pirates, I’ll pitch my best for the rest of my contract, then I’ll retire. But right now … I’m just tired of being treated like this. I’m tired of the lies. I gave this team everything. I bought a house in Pittsburgh to be part of the city. But, if you’re going to lie to me, trade me.”
“In the job of a general manager, there are always challenges here and there. But my main job is to get players who are productive for the Pirates. There’s no grudge or anything like that.”
–Littlefield (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“I love Jose to death. He’s a great ballplayer. But the way I was raised is you hit the ball, you run like hell. The umpires will tell you if it’s fair or foul. When you have that type of talent and you start to play that way, you become a prima donna. And when you’re a prima donna, it’s not fun to be around you.”
—Mets closer Billy Wagner, on Jose Reyes not running out a ball.
“You hardly see that any more. And that’s the way it should be.”
“When I played the game, Thurman Munson would jump my butt if he saw anything like that–or Roy White or one of those guys. So yeah, you don’t see much of that any more. And that’s unfortunate. That’s really where it should be taken care of, amongst your peers and amongst your teammates.”
“I think Jose is fine. Jose is the type of guy, he’s just emotional sometimes. Sometimes he just loses control of his emotions. And a couple minutes later, he’s the same one again, he’s the same happy guy he was. It probably was the heat of the moment.”
–Mets coach Sandy Alomar (Michael Morrissey, New York Post)
MANAGER OF THE YEAR?
“It’s just something that we tried when he [Mussina] got off the Disabled List. He had a couple of good games, and we had Jorgie catch and he didn’t seem as comfortable, so we went back to the other thing.”
“It sort of makes my job easier too, because it’s not figuring out when to get Jorgie a rest, it’s just on that particular day.”
THEY BETTER HOPE THIS ORIOLE DOESN’T MIGRATE SOMEWHERE ELSE
“Finally, he threw a ball.”
–anonymous Rangers hitter, in-game against Bedard to catcher Ramon Hernandez.
“One of the base hits came to me, but for the most part, I was useless out there in the outfield. It’s a matter of trying to sit there and watch it. It’s like, man, these guys don’t have much of a chance. I don’t care who was hitting tonight, it wouldn’t have mattered much.”
–Orioles outfielder Jay Payton
“It’s as good of a night as I’ve ever seen a pitcher throw. I’ve never seen so many bad swings in my life. Guys didn’t have a chance.”
–A suspiciously unreflective Jay Gibbons, Orioles DH
“Leo told him, ‘Well, we’re getting to that point where it’s about time.’ Bedard just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, “OK.” That’s how he is. The guy is amazing. He doesn’t see himself like we see him. The guy is outstanding. You go talk to him, don’t talk to me.”
–Orioles manager Dave Trembley
“That’s with some of the all-time great ones I’ve had the privilege of witnessing. Twenty seven up, 27 down. That’s a two-hit perfect game.”
–Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone, on Bedard.
“I’ve played with two good left-handers in the past with [Barry] Zito and [Mark] Mulder, and you know what? Tonight he looked like one of them. It was unbelievable.”
“It happens, and it’s happened to the best of us. He’ll be back out there probably tomorrow and make every play. The ball finds you, unfortunately.”
“There’s no blueprint to how a season goes. We got off to a great start, which allowed us to wade, to fight through the last three weeks or so. If we would have got off to a slow start and finished strong the last three or four weeks and been four games up, then nobody would have been talking about it.”
–Mets manager Willie Randolph
“The computer stuff? It’s impossible to figure out defense with a mathematical equation. You can’t do it. You’ve got different people pitching, you’ve got different people running, you’ve got different people hitting. You can use a mathematical equation if everything is the same, but it’s impossible to do it when everything is different.”
–Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on his defensive ability. (Bob Herzog, Newsday)
“I’m worried about tonight. I think I established that early, and I think I was very smart to do that. If I can just go day to day… It’s like a drug addict or an alcoholic–if I can just get through today, I think I’m better off mentally. I don’t worry about what everybody else says. I don’t even feel like I’m auditioning. I don’t want to put myself in that position. Having done it now for the second time, anybody who’s been an interim manager in the past I have the ultimate respect for. Because it’s a no-win situation.”
—Pete Mackanin, interim Reds manager. (Lonnie Wheeler, Cincinnati Post)