NOT WITH A BANG…
“It’s a little bit different than any other milestone I’ve ever gone through. It’s Hank Aaron. I can’t explain the feeling of it, it’s just Hank Aaron.”
“I want to thank the fans. They have been outstanding. It’s been a fun ride. I really appreciate the way San Diego handled it and the way their fans handled it.”
“I think he is probably the best hitter since Babe Ruth, but that’s my opinion. I think the things he’s done, the records he’s broken. He’s stood out amongst the players of today and been way above them, head and shoulders above them for his career.”
—Mariners hitting instructor Jeff Pentland (Janie MacCauley, Yahoo.com)
BARRY’S BRINGING RELIGION TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
“There’s a prayer that I say in my car, and I have all week. ‘Dear God: Please not here, and please not me.’ And I mean that.”
—Ted Leitner of XX Sports Radio, on his desire not to call Barry Bonds’ 755th home run.
“The whole thing stinks. The tone will not be reverential, nor will it be celebratory. It’ll be matter of fact. I don’t think I’ll say this, but the tone will be, ‘Like it or not, one of the most hallowed records, if not the most hallowed record in all of sports, will have an arguable stain over it, until A-Rod breaks it.'”
–Padres play-by-play man Matt Vasgerian
“It’s always joy and excitement (with a milestone), but this is not, so I want to make sure I convey it to the audience, the magnitude of it, without mentioning steroids, without mentioning grand juries, but at the same time there will no enthusiasm in my voice. There’s no way. Then I would be a hypocrite.”
–Leitner (Jay Posner, San Diego Union Tribune)
I ONLY WISH BORAS HAD PUT AN INCENTIVE CLAUSE IN MY CONTRACT
“It takes a while in New York..for some people it takes six months, a day, a year. I think it’s taken me three full years to understand New York a little bit.”
—Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, on hitting his 500th home run.
“I’ve conceded the fact that you can’t will yourself to hit a home run.”
“My only way of thanking them is hit the home run at home and do it in a winning situation.”
–A-Rod, on his appreciation for the fans. (Peter Abraham, Lohud Yankees Blog)
“Very seldom did he used to do more than one. He’s doing more than one because he’s lost. He’s trying to find that little thing that goes ‘Bang!’ And then he can take off.”
—Blue Jays hitting coach Mickey Brantley, on Blue Jays slugger Vernon Wells‘ struggles.
“In my personal opinion, he has put so much pressure on himself with that big contract, he hasn’t been comfortable enough to retain what he’s been so successful with.”
“Two, two and a half months ago, maybe, that’s really the only time I felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself. At that point it hit me. I said, ‘You know what? Go out work as hard as you can and play the same way you’ve always played, and whatever happens after that happens. Just enjoy it.'”
“It never really was the contract. I think it was more expectations of myself. I’ve gone through periods (like this) over a couple years in the past. You expect so much out of yourself and to contribute to the team, whether it was a contract year or non-contract year.”
“When you’re getting ready for a pitch, sometimes you don’t realize where your hands are at that point, whether you’re waggling the bat or where the bat ends up when you’re about to swing. If your hands are in a different spot each time, your swing’s not going to be consistent. I’ve gotten to the point now where it’s just a matter of relaxing my hands, trying not to move them too much and working from the same spot.”
–Wells (John Lott, Can West News)
KEVIN GARNETT’S CLOUD OF ANGER TOWARDS THE GOPHER STATE MOVES ON
“I’m not surprised. That’s exactly how they are. That’s why we’re never going to go beyond where we’ve gone.”
—Johan Santana, on the lack of moves by GM Terry Ryan at the trade deadline.
“You always talk about future, future. … But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won’t be part of it. Why waste time when you’re talking about something that’s always going to be like that? It’s never going to be beyond this point. It doesn’t make any sense for me to be here, you know?”
“I’ve been here for eight years, and I’ve seen a lot of those kind of things. I’ve seen a lot of those guys [like Castillo] come in and leave. [The decision makers] don’t care. They always talk about caring about it; I don’t think they care. Because if you’re always talking about having young players–that’s the philosophy the team has, and I respect all that–but it’s been proven that it’s not enough to go all the way to the World Series.”
–Santana (Joe Christensen, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
QUESTEC WON’T BE IN THE HALL OF FAME, TOMMY, BUT YOU WILL
“Maybe I would be retired by now if I’d stayed [with the Braves] and they didn’t bring [QuesTec] into the game.”
—Tom Glavine, reflecting on his achievement of 300 wins.
“But I would have missed what [the Mets] did last year. There are tradeoffs.”
PLUS, HE TOLD ME EVERY TIME I WALK AN ANGEL GETS ITS WINGS–I MEAN, WHAT IS THAT?
“He always told me, when you’re out on the field, you make me look good. I guess I wasn’t out there to make him look good enough. I don’t like to be lied to. Tell me the truth. You tell me I’m not an everyday player, and I just have to laugh at you because there’s not a player they’ve got over there that’s better than me. It’s just a joke.”
–Padres outfielder Milton Bradley, on his relationship with Billy Beane.
“I didn’t appreciate a lot of people being in the clubhouse. There were too many people in there. It’s not big enough for all that. Every time you look around, (Beane is) walking in the clubhouse, and then he has a smart comment to say to somebody. He told (Bobby) Kielty, ‘Oh, you’re stealing money.’ Guys are working hard. Nobody wants to be hurt. I guess he forgot about that because he doesn’t play anymore. It’s just, every other day you come in the clubhouse, all the doors to the training room are closed, the office is closed, everything’s a secret, and meetings all the time. It just gets old.”
“I just told him, ‘I didn’t appreciate (manager) Bob Geren not telling me I was playing until an hour before the game on the last day. I was told I wasn’t going to be activated until we went to New York, and then an hour before the game all of a sudden I’m activated so you can designate me, trade me or put me out there to show I can play so you can trade me.’ Then you try to push out to the fans that it’s injuries or I’m not an everyday player or all this stuff. If I play half the season, I put up better numbers than anybody they got. It’s just nonsense.”
–Milton, on what he said to Billy Beane. (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)
CARLOS, THE WAY THAT CHIMP LOOKED AT YOU IS NOT A GOOD REASON TO PLAY IN THIS CITY
“I think he deserved that money. This season he has a down record and is not pitching good, but he’s a good pitcher and I think he will turn it around.”
–Zambrano, on Barry Zito.
“Also it’s good for whoever comes behind him, like when I was in arbitration this year in spring training, my agent (Barry Praver) told me that people like Dontrelle Willis and all those guys will appreciate how much I signed for because they will be coming behind me.”
–Zambrano (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
POSSIBLE NEW DEVIL RAYS MASCOT?
“Anaheim Stadium has a statistically significant vermin problem. It’s not acceptable.”
—Bill Flynn, president of a private safety inspection firm.
“It’s a matter of sanity. This group of people get shifted around a lot. It’s hard to find people to do that on a consistent basis.”
–Director of facilities Mike McKay, on why they don’t clean up the Stadium after games.
“Angel Stadium has a higher-than-normal opportunity as it relates to vermin.”
—Richard Sanchez, county director of environmental health. (Gwen Driscoll, Orange County Register)
“This was a tough guy who was pitching with a pretty abnormal elbow for a long time. There has never been a more clear-cut case of a candidate for Tommy John surgery than Donnelly right now.”
—Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, on Brendan Donnelly‘s season-ending injury. (Murray Chass, The New York Times)
“We do not think it’s fair or appropriate to lump us with the Yankees. They are a team and market different from the rest of baseball.”
–Red Sox president Larry Lucchino
“As a player, you always want to know what your role is and what’s happening. If I’m still out there on the margin, especially with Jason coming back… Anything’s possible. I know a lot of teams are interested. With Jason coming back and a number of outfielders going down, the Yankees could probably get a better player now than what they probably got offered July 31.”
–Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon (Anthony Rieber, Newsday)
“My theory in a game is win quick, lose quick. Whatever you do, get the ball and throw it. There is no reason to take your time out there. Anytime you go up against a guy like that, you have to go out there and be dominant to give your team a chance.”
—White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, on his matchup with Johan Santana this Thursday.
“You put up an eight-spot, and they come right back and put up an eight-spot. It’s weird.”
–White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye, on his team’s victory over the Yankees on Thursday.
“There is a dilution of pitching in general, but because we’re paying so much money to starting pitchers, we’re more protective of them which, in turn, has increased the workload of the bullpens. The problem is, usually there’s a reason a pitcher is in the bullpen – the lack of a third pitch, flaws in their delivery, etc. What you’re seeing a lot of now is second-division teams taking mediocre relievers and putting them in meaningful roles so they can trade them for a lot.”
—Indians GM Mark Shapiro
“I was upset with the way we were playing, not just in the game but over the last 10 days. I was frustrated; everybody was frustrated. It was my frustration boiling over to the team.”
—Brewers manager Ned Yost, on his clubhouse altercation with Johnny Estrada, the Brewers’ catcher. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.