ANOTHER WIN FOR THE SURVIVORS
“He pitched the game of his life. He really did. His whole story is amazing. If you had to get beat by someone you have to be happy for that guy.”
—Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins, on Red Sox Game Four starter Jon Lester.
“I didn’t think I had anything special coming out of the bullpen. But you never know until you get out there and actually try the stuff you have and get that adrenaline going; then things look more crisp. They have a good hitting team, and I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes. I had a lot of nerves going in, but once I got on the mound it wasn’t that bad.”
–Red Sox starter Jon Lester, on his Game Four victory. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“It sounds funny, but God blessed him with cancer to show other people you can overcome something in life if you think you’re not gonna make it.”
–Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin, on Lester.
IF I MAY CONCLUDE MY REMARKS BY SAYING, WHEEEEE!
“In this region, people were always waiting for the other shoe to drop. There’s still some of that out there. I think it’s just human nature. But I really think that people in New England expect the Red Sox to win now. They expect the Patriots to win. They expect the Celtics to win this year.”
–Red Sox owner John Henry
“Man, I mean, when I came here in 2003, it seems like it was almost impossible to win a World Series. This is my second one right here. In life when you work hard and try your best and never give up, this is what happens. You get what you want.”
–Red Sox DH David Ortiz
“Whenever teams win championships and the champagne starts to flow, somebody inevitably makes some stupid proclamation. I promised myself I wouldn’t be that guy.”
–Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, on his second World Series victory.
“All I’ll say is I’m proud of being a part of this organization and what we’ve accomplished, and I hope we can continue doing great things.”
“We’re a different organization. We hope we can create a sense of anticipation, while keeping it real.”
—Larry Lucchino, Red Sox president.
THAT CHAMPIONSHIP FEELING
“I actually don’t remember getting out to the field. You wait your whole life for that minute, and I don’t know where the hell it went.”
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona
“When we did it four years ago, some people thought we were just stat geeks, a one-year wonder. This one, I hope, proves we are a force.”
“It’s a little different. It’s like comparing your children. You can’t do it. But this one was sweet because it was a top-to-bottom organizational effort. So much hard work. It wasn’t a fluke. We worked hard to get here.”
“Maybe, just maybe, we’re prepared to compete at a very high level for a long time to come. Baseball will humble you in a hurry. Just when you think you have something, it turns on you.”
“No one wants to sit here, spray champagne, and talk about how we’re going to be great for a long period of time. That’s not the way things work. We have a foundation now, and let’s see what we do with it.”
–Epstein (Gordon Edes, Boston Globe)
LORD OF THE DANCE IS LORD OF THE QUOTES
“The voices in my head. It just kind of comes to you. That’s it.”
–Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, on his unique style of dance.
“You can have all that and do all those things, but if you can’t pitch on top of it, it’s going to be a tough situation for you. He’s well talented to go along with the ability and the mindset to do the job. If he’s blown 40 in a row, I don’t know how many people are going to clap when he’s dancing.”
–Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, on his insane battery-mate.
“I think that championship teams make players great. Players are remembered to be great when they’re on championship teams. It’s just like all this stuff about football, Peyton [Manning] wasn’t considered great until he won it all. It’s the same thing with baseball. You’re not really considered a great player until you’re on a championship-caliber team and contribute to those championships.”
“I don’t really deal with pitchers, I think they’re weirdos.”
–Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell
“His personality is unique. I think the fact that he throws 94 to 97 [mph] with command, though, probably is more important, with a split. He’s one of the best. I do think it’s kind of rare to have a younger guy like that, and he’s kind of carefree, in a good way. But you give him the ball in the ninth inning, and it’s amazing the trust that we all have in him, and he’s earned it. He competes, and I think it’s kind of rare to be that young and that advanced.”
–Francona (Ian Brown, MLB.com)
NEW BOSS, SAME AS THE OLD BOSS
“It’s a shame. But we are all in agreement: myself, my dad, my brother, all the baseball people. If you don’t want to be a Yankee and paid what you’re being paid, we don’t want you, that’s the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that point. If you don’t understand the magnitude of being a Yankee and understand what that means, and being the highest-paid player in baseball, I think it’s pretty obvious.”
—Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, on Alex Rodriguez‘s decision to spurn overtures from the Yankees to opt out of his contract and instead become a free agent.
“If we’re going to make you rich and we’re going to give you the privilege of being a Yankee, you’ve got to show us you want to be here.”
“Essentially, he just didn’t feel he could make any decision in the short period of time because he wanted to know the composition of the team. He wanted to know what Rivera and Posada and Andy Pettitte were going to do.”
—Scott Boras, Alex’s agent, on the reasons behind A-Rod’s decision.
“It’s a shame, because he’s an alright guy. I hope he doesn’t have outside influences that are causing him to make a mistake.”
–Steinbrenner, on A-Rod
MORE FUN THAT A WORLD SERIES TITLE
“I’m not saying we’re concerned about the Yankees; we’re just patient in our decision-making process. We want to have all the information. We need to know the direction ownership is going to take. We have a new relationship with Hank and Hal. With your closer, catcher, and a premier starting pitcher as free agents, that could have a real impact on ’08 and beyond.”
“They’ve been told the starting point of a negotiation, which would have been more than he’s getting paid now, and we also called him personally and left messages trying to get him to come to Tampa to meet with us.”
–Steinbrenner, on what the Yankees did to make a deal happen.
“We’re going to wait until we hear officially, but obviously it would be welcome news on our end.”
—Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on the money his club would be released from paying A-Rod should Rodriguez opt out of the last years of the deal. (Ronald Blum, Salt Lake City Tribune)
“Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, or a Toledo Mud Hen?”
AND IN THE OTHER CORNER…
“I don’t agree with it, but what am I going to do? He’s the manager, and I have to respect the decision. I am not the only one struggling. But I will be a pro about it. We need to win. It’s about the team, not me.”
—Willy Taveras, Rockies center fielder, on getting benched in the World Series.
“I want to play. Hopefully it’s just for one night. Placido (Polanco) didn’t get a hit in the World Series and never got taken out. But at the same time, I can’t get worked up about it and get mad.”
“When I walked away from Baltimore, I left that whole negative mentality behind. Losing definitely puts an emotional bind on you. They say winning cures everything. That is probably one of the most true statements ever made.”
–Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins
HE IS THE MICHAEL MYERS OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL-HE JUST WON’T GO AWAY
“I kept some of the guys that were there already. I thought that was a better idea because they’ve had a lot of changes there in a short period of time and I didn’t think it was fair to the players to change all the coaches around. I read sometimes in football where the quarterback has four offensive coordinators in four years, I can see where that would be confusing to some of the guys, so I’m just trying to get some level of consistency.”
—Dusty Baker, new Reds manager
“I don’t have a bunch of ideas yet because I don’t know the personnel yet. I know we have to stay healthier and get the players to buy into conditioning and a fitness routine, work on fundamentals big-time, improve on our defense and our pitching, starting and relieving. We have a lot of work to do.”
“I think I’ll be active once I figure out what we need. I don’t sign the checks. Hopefully I’m one of the advisers in that decision.”
–Baker (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I’m only 23, and when I was in high school I never thought I was going to be able to sit by him and have him say all those great things about me. I’m speechless. Just a great day.”
—Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, on Hank Aaron, after receiving the league’s Outstanding Player Award for the NL.
“I’ve had only two jobs, a school teacher for four, and a baseball
guy for 42.”
–former Braves general manager John Schuerholz
“We had this date circled on the calendar. Joba came down yesterday. We’ve a good time. He’s probably going to drag me to Lincoln next year, so that’ll be fun.”
—Roger Clemens, on his new friendship with Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain. (Mitch Sherman, Omaha World Herald)
“It was a difficult year for Tony with all of the things that happened. He has the amazing ability to compartmentalize things. Touching base periodically with him over the year, his mood was really based on whether the Cardinals had won or lost the night before.”
—Tony La Russa‘s financial advisor, Jack Sands (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“When it’s cold, your glove feels like it’s a brick, so that’s an adjustment. But I think it’s a much bigger adjustment for the outfielders. There’s a lot of room to roam there.”
–Mike Lowell, free agent to be, on Coors Field.
“In some ways, it’s going to be even bigger than getting a plaque in the Hall of Fame because [his] name is going to come up more frequently as we present the award.”
–ESPN broadcaster Joe Morgan (John Lott, National Post)
“You can’t be afraid to succeed. The game is popular. Clubs have done a good job in marketing their product and developing stadiums that are destination points. Everyone recognizes there is an appropriate balance between revenue and expenses. It’s a good story, and one I think we should trumpet.”
–MLB COO Bob DuPuy, on the success of the game. (Chris Isidore, CNN.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.