THE MENSA SLUGGER
“I think Bonds’ strongest muscle is his brain. No one, and I mean no one, in any era besides maybe Jackie Robinson has had to block out more than Bonds. True, he has brought it all on himself, but how does one not have a nervous breakdown let alone go deep?”
—Tigers pitcher Todd Jones (Detroit Free Press)
“I’ve looked at the replay on the computer three times, and the ball is on the black of the plate, if not maybe half a ball off the plate. The guy’s hit 756 homers before tonight. It’s not like he’s guessing all the time. He does what he does.”
—Nationals starter Tim Redding, on the home run Bonds hit off him. (Barry Svrluga, Washington Post)
“Even in a court of law you can have… a preponderance of circumstantial evidence to convict somebody. Now, maybe I’m wrong, but when you get enough stuff on a guy, you can make a decision and it’s just really a no-brainer. The guy would have become one of the great ones, anyway. … But now, he sucked the fun and the life right out of it. I mean, there is enough evidence to me to say without a doubt he used performance-enhancing drugs. He hit 73 home runs when he was 37. I mean, Hank would have hit 855 if he had the same advantage.”
“He has to come across as more human. People are always willing to forgive human error. If you can say, I’m a human being, I make mistakes and I’m sorry I did that, then he has a chance with people.”
–UC-Davis professor Kim Elsbach (Lynn Zinser, The New York Times)
A-ROD’S FIRST OFFER WAS THAT KOWALCZYK PAY HIM $300 MILLION OVER TEN YEARS
“The Yankees offered him a signed jersey, and he said no. The negotiations at Yankee Stadium were piss-poor. If A-Rod would have approached him, things would have been different.”
—Brian Kowalczyk, brother of Walter Kowalczyk, who caught A-Rod’s 500th home run ball.
“It’s his ball. I think it’s obvious that I would love to have the ball, but we’ll see what happens. I’m just going to let it sit for a few days.”
–A-Rod, on his negotiating strategy.
“Alex wants the ball, but he’s not going to give his left arm for it.”
—Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ media relations director.
“It’s A-Rod, and people like A-Rod. My advice is sell it right away.”
—Victor Moreno, president of American Memorabilia of Las Vegas. (Mike Jaccarino, Nicole Bode and Adam Lisberg, New York Daily News)
HE MADE TONY GIGGLE
“It’s fun to come out here and try to prove you can do something not many people have done.”
—Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel, on his return to the majors as a position player after starting his major league career as a pitcher.
“The moment he stopped pitching he became our number one power bat in the system.”
–Cardinals minor league coordinator Jim Riggleman
“After everything we’ve been through, an event like (Ankiel’s home run) makes it all tolerable. We’ve all been very close to him and we’ve watched him grow up in this organization and overcome the adversity, and I think he gives us the energy we need. It’s an amazing story.”
–Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty
“It’s been a lot of fun. Everyone is really happy to see him, but this is the big leagues, and you need to perform and be productive. There’s a lot of good guys, but if they can’t play, pretty soon you get somebody else.”
–Cardinals manager Tony La Russa
GETTING TO 300 TENDS TO LOOSEN UP THE TONGUE A WEE BIT
“What makes him so interesting is he was such a great player, yet, since he’s been done playing, you don’t see a lot of him, and he doesn’t take himself seriously, or what he did seriously, and I admire that so much.”
—Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, on fellow left-hander Sandy Koufax.
“It was a big deal ’cause my dad doesn’t give a lot of hugs. Like most dads, I guess. Whenever I haven’t seen my parents for a while, it’s usually give mom a hug, give dad a handshake. That was kinda what I was doing Sunday night. I gave my mom a hug and I went to give my dad a handshake and he kinda grabbed me and said, “I’ll take a hug for this one.” So I knew it was a special moment for him.”
–Glavine, on his father after his 300th win.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.”
–Tom Glavine, on his divorce. (Steve Serby, New York Post)
THE ST. LOUIS BOARD OF TOURISM GETS FIRED UP
“I’m done with this place. I’m so tired of losing here. It’s hotter than (bleep). We get our (butts) kicked every time we come here. I’m not coming here next year.”
–Padres play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian, in one of a series of negative comments about the St. Louis area.
“It’s my bad. I’ve got to give a mea culpa. I should know better. . . . I feel bad about it. I didn’t want the impression out there that I hate St. Louis.”
–Vasgersian (Jay Posner, San Diego Union Tribune)
THE MLBPA’S THERAPIST DESCRIBES THIS AS ‘PROJECTING’
“The union is not saying Nightengale is violating off-the-record rules. However, the union is saying he has a way of discussing matters with players, which leads them to believe the conversations are not for publication.”
–MLBPA source, on USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale, about whom they are warning their constituency.
“(I had) no complaint at all from Jason (Giambi). I did the interview in a hallway between games of a doubleheader. Jason knew exactly what I was talking about.”
—USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale
“With Gary (Sheffield), his agent (Rufus Williams) called (after the Selig story ran) and said he was trying to put Sheff in a positive light and didn’t want any negative things in stories anymore after the Joe Torre stuff. That was it.”
OUR TRACK RECORD WITH INJURIES SPEAKS FOR ITSELF…WAIT, WHAT’S IT SAYING?
“If Will felt he couldn’t go, for the benefit of the ballclub, he should have let us know so we could have gotten somebody else to pitch.”
—Cubs GM Jim Hendry, on Cubs pitcher Will Ohman‘s complaints about being forced to pitch while injured.
“[Trainer Mark O’Neal] is really good at conveying to me if a guy has as much as a pimple. I work closely with the trainer. He gives me a report daily on who can play and who he’s treating and so forth.”
–Cubs manager Lou Piniella
“Any other of our relief pitchers would have been ready. But it’s understandable, so we want to compensate for it.”
–Piniella, carping about Kerry Wood only being able to start innings. (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
“They told me the tests were negative, which was good. I spoke to [Rockies coach] Vinny Castilla, who I played with, and I saw some of their other guys in the weight room. I don’t think they saw any malice intended. … Hopefully, it didn’t do too much damage. I’m glad the tests came back negative.”
—Jason Marquis, on Rockies first baseman Jeff Baker, who he hit in the head with a pitch. (Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times)
“Nope. I’m not going to let you start any crap between me and the Mets. You all started crap [Wednesday]. I’ve been nice to you all my whole career. You all started crap, so I’m done with you.”
—Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, on reporters covering the Braves-Mets series. (Andrew Marchand, ESPN.com)
“I can’t win either way. I’m supposedly the guy who re-signed Barry when people say I shouldn’t have re-signed him. Yet now I’m the guy who supposedly doesn’t want anything to do with him.”
—Giants owner Peter Magowan (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)
“C’mon. You don’t give up yet. We have 50 games to go. Rose-colored glasses? No. You can’t give up on guys. These players haven’t given up. They’re not just playing for individual stats. They’re playing like a team.”
—Reds CEO Bob Castellini (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
“It’s an expensive catch. Once he took possession of the ball and it was his ball, it was income to him based on its value as of yesterday.”
—John Barrie, a tax lawyer with Bryan Cave LLP in New York, on Matt Murphy, who caught Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball. (ESPN.com)
“Father time catches up with all of us. It wasn’t anything mechanical. He still had a great delivery. It’s tougher for him to go deeper in ballgames. He probably didn’t have the velocity he once had, and the pinpoint location that he’s always relied on. I will say that every time he went out there, he gave you everything he had and battled as well as he could. It happens to all of us, even one of the great ones.”
–Padres general manager Kevin Towers, on David Wells, who was put on waivers by the Padres this week. (FoxSports.com)
“The only thing I yelled to him last night, and I love Kevin Youkilis… he’s a great young man, and that son of a gun has got a great eye at the plate. But (I said) don’t ever keep your helmet off that long during a pitching change because the kids are petrified in the stands. When you have a head that’s shaped like a Milk Dud, get (the helmet) on as quick as possible.”
—Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, on his successor in Boston, Kevin Youkilis. (Masslive.com)
“I’ve always had the belief that starting pitching is what’s most important, you know, to a rotation.”
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Alex by clicking here.