GRADE INFLATION HAS HIT THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY PARTICULARLY HARD
“It’s much harder to manage a team when the players are not performing and keep them playing hard. Most teams that were good teams and had high expectations, when they stink up the place and play poorly, there comes a point where they pack it in. This team never packed it in, and I give Ozzie credit. I don’t think there was any loss of passion or effort on the part of our guys. I think they played hard.”
“The thing about baseball is when your speed guys don’t get on, you look
like you are lethargic because our big guys don’t run well. That’s one of our problems, speed guys getting hurt, and when they were playing, they didn’t get on.”
“Well, he certainly isn’t living up to his money. I’ve said how many times over the years, when you go more than one year with a pitcher, you are sticking your neck out. If you go more than three years, it’s probably suicide. He got the three-year deal because he was pitching outstanding, and we tried to build this team around our pitching. We decided to take a chance. It didn’t work. Every time I’ve taken a chance on our pitching, it hasn’t worked.”
–Reinsdorf, on Jose Contreras.
“Again, we want to build this team around pitching. Mark Buehrle, if you wanted to gamble on a pitcher, he’s the right kind of pitcher. His mechanics are beautiful. There’s nothing herky, jerky. He doesn’t throw across his body. He’s not a flame thrower so it won’t matter if he loses a little velocity. And he’s our guy.”
–Reinsdorf on Mark Buehrle
“It’s funny, in the spring, I had lunch with Jim Leyland during Detroit’s first trip in here and he said, ‘You have the best bullpen in the league.’ And I said, ‘I think you are right.’ So, it wasn’t just us who overrated the bullpen. The last time they were in here I told Leyland, ‘It’s a good thing you are a great manager because you are a lousy scout.'”
–Reinsdorf (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
PERHAPS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER POKING FUN ON THE GUYS WHO DO MAKE HARD SLIDES
“He wasn’t sliding. That’s the only thing about it. I don’t mind a good play and I don’t mind a hard play. I get down on guys when they don’t make hard slides that take me out. You play this game hard and aggressive. But that wasn’t a slide at all.”
—Padres second baseman Marcus Giles, on his collision at second base with Carlos Ruiz.
“(Expletive) play, just an (expletive) slide. There’s playing hard and playing dirty. That’s playing (expletive).”
“It was a little high. I was just thinking about breaking up the double play. I was just playing hard.”
–Carlos Ruiz (Andy Jasner, MLB.com)
YOU SCORED 30 RUNS, WHAT ELSE MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR?
“When we first came to the big leagues, Tex, Hank and I were the young guys. They were building around us. Once we got to this moment, we thought we would be rolling by now. All of a sudden, when we traded guys. I felt the cycle was starting all over again. That was my initial reaction.”
–Rangers SS Michael Young, on the direction of the Texas Rangers.
“I’m a baseball junkie. In the postseason, I watch every pitch. It could be the National League Division Series, I’m watching everything. But this past year was the first time I didn’t watch anything. I got sick to my stomach thinking that every year I’m watching this. And I see guys who I compete against, who I have great respect for, they’re getting their chance, year in, year out.”
“Baseball is definitely a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sport. I’m all for anything that’s said. At the beginning of the season, when people questioned my contract, that was fair. I had no problem with that. It’s not going to change the way I prepare, not going to change the way I play.”
–Young, on criticism of his off-year. (Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com)
ONE DAY YOU RAKE LEFTIES AND THAT’S ALL YOU DO
“I’d like to hang around for another year. If I feel good, maybe two.”
–Rangers outfielder Sammy Sosa
“If I don’t come back here, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but hopefully someone will need my services. I don’t want to go home again – yet.”
“The reason I appreciate it here is that they gave me the opportunity to come back, the chance to play the game again, to go by 600 home runs. I’m never going to forget that.”
“They’ve been such gentlemen to me – the coaches, the manager, the players. Even though I don’t play that much now, they all have my respect because of that.”
–Sosa (Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com)
MY MOTHER TOLD ME, PAPSY, YOU DON’T HAVE TO START IF YOU DON’T WANT TO
“I feel like I have my arms, my legs. I feel I have less headaches. Last year was a grind for me. I grinded and grinded until I couldn’t grind anymore.”
“Knowing how to take care of myself is really important.”
–Jonathan Papelbon (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
IF THEY ASKED YOU TO JUMP OFF A BRIDGE, COULD YOU DO THAT, TOO?
“I know it’s not serious because I talked to guys who have had Tommy John [reconstructive elbow] surgery. They asked me if I could do all these moves and when I could they said I was OK.”
–Phillie ace Cole Hamels
“Hopefully the reports will come back good and he’ll only miss one or two starts. This is the most he’s pitched. I’ve been saying that all year.”
“It’s like a feel-good movie. Look at ‘Rudy.’ He finally made the team, right? Heart takes you a long way. That’s how we keep getting off the canvas.”
–Myers (Paul Hagen, Philadelphia Inquirer)
SHUSH MIKE, DON’T GIVE THEM ANY IDEAS
“It was mechanical and psychological.”
–Mussina (George King, New York Post)
“Instead of calling up someone from Triple-A when I was at 60 percent, I had to suck up a whole bunch of at-bats.”
—Johnny Damon, Yankees outfielder, on his early season struggles. (Joel Sherman, The New York Post)
“Unless you were 90 or older, there was no way you couldn’t look at the X-ray and tell that the rib was broken. It was plain as day.”
—Pirates minor-leaguer Clayton Hamilton, on his medical team’s gross negligence that allowed him to pitch with a broken rib. (John Perrotto, Beaver County Times)
“You can say what you want to, I’ll say what I want to. I think we have an above-average defensive club. Don’t try to talk me out of it, because it’s not going to change.”
—Tony La Russa, on his team’s defensive ability.
“The last two days, our starting pitchers have not been sharp, they’ve been erratic. So, guys have a tendency to get back on their heels. Now, is that the defense’s fault? Yeah, you can always overcome it, but there’s a connection there. The pitcher has some responsibility for that when a play doesn’t get made behind him. You have to pitch with a good pace and be aggressive so guys are ready for the ball.”
–La Russa (Daniel Berk, MLB.com)
“The issue should be discussed because we had a situation where a tragedy befell someone on the field, and we are the guardians of the sport, and the general managers will make a decision to what level it should be implemented.”
—Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations. (Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times)
“He’s an All-Star catcher at the top of his game…[I] always thought this would be a five-year deal.”
—Scott Boras, on the Tigers’ $13 million dollar option on catcher Ivan Rodriguez (Detroit Free Press)
“After the first inning, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little rattled with what was going on because I hadn’t done that in the minor leagues. I didn’t know what was going on.”
–Red Sox catcher Kevin Cash , on catching Tim Wakefield for the first time. (Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. He can be reached here.