THE IMMACULATE HEARING
“I didn’t particularly want to do a hearing. We held the hearing because Roger Clemens wanted that hearing, because Roger Clemens wanted the chance to speak in public and make his case.”
–House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, on the Clemens hearing last week.
“Any suggestion whatsoever that this hearing was the result of our request is simply not accurate.”
–Clemens’ lawyer Lanny Breuer
“In all of my years of watching politics, I’ve never seen a good witness before Congress.”
–Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin, on his client’s Capitol Hill performance.
“Although there was a lot of back and forth, a lot of arguing, the fact still remains that it dominated the news cycle. So anybody who has any interest in sports had to at least hear about it. I had people coming up to me saying, ‘I was glued to the television.’ We got probably 100 phone calls. So the issue was raised. So if we’re able to cause one child to say, ‘I’m not going the steroids route,’ if we’re able to save one life, I think it’s well worth it.”
–Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings (ESPN.com)
SEE NO EVIL
“That is for someone else to decide…I never saw anything that raised a red flag. I’m naïve, I guess, but I want to be. I trust people first, then I can be wrong. And I’ve been wrong before.”
–new Dodgers manager Joe Torre
“When Vin Scully introduces you, that’s all it took, pal.”
–Torre, on his excitement for the new season with the Dodgers.
“I had throwaway lines that ended up on the front page of the paper. I came home from a trip from the West Coast, or Texas; I forget. I picked up the paper in my driveway at 4 a.m., and the back-page headline read ‘Torre Fired.’ It was about my sister, who is a nun. She was not going to be the principal of the school the next year.”
–Torre, on the scrutiny of the New York media market.
“[Watching the pitchers] was my priority today. Now that you’re putting faces with names, you’re starting to put ability with faces. It was good to see.”
“In 2001, we [the Yankees] lost the World Series in the ninth inning of Game Seven. In spring training 2002, a fan came up to me and said, ‘We’ll do better this year.’ Losing in the ninth inning of Game Seven of the World Series wasn’t good enough. But things deteriorated in New York when we had a 3-0 lead against Boston and lost [in 2004]. Then it went progressively down. That’s when the questions started to come for me, and they had little to do with baseball.”
–Torre (Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The Magazine)
HE WAS ALSO UNAWARE THEY BEAT THE ROCKIES LAST YEAR
“Just today. I saw him and I asked somebody what was going on. I don’t read the newspapers in the offseason. I come to spring training and I say, ‘Hello. Good morning. How are things going?’ And they said, ‘You have a chance to be No. 5 in the rotation.’ I wasn’t happy Schilling is hurt. Schilling is a good man, and I’m sad that Schilling is not healthy. We’re going to hold a spot until he comes back.”
—Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez, on not being aware of Schilling’s injury situation until he came into camp.
“In my mind I will change a little bit about thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to be a starter in spring training.’ I’m not coming to spring training wondering what I’m going to do. Now I know I’m a starter…”
“They told me I wasn’t on the roster for the first round but might be for the second one. Then I wasn’t for the second one, and then the third one. You just cheer for your teammates and be a professional. You let everybody know you’re a good teammate. It is how it is. A lot of people say things about the person that I am. They don’t know the person that I am.”
–Tavarez, on not making the team’s playoff roster in any round last year.
“I don’t think it would have been hard to find a job. Free agency would have been good after (134 innings). But there’s nothing you can do. I’m just happy to have a uniform, whether it’s here or somewhere else.”
–Tavarez, on the Sox exercising his 2008 option this winter. (Rob Bradford, Boston Herald)
CONGRESS MAY WANT TO CALL A HEARING TO LOOK INTO THIS
“Do they have good food in Japan? I don’t know what to think right now. I guess it’s going to be a whole new chapter, huh?”
—Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick, victim of a practical joke that made him believe he was headed to Japan via trade.
“I wanted to cry. I’m going to call my agent and tell him he’s fired. I’m pretty gullible. I trust people, maybe a little too much. I thought it was real. The itinerary was in there, the contract and everything. Then, the media was in on it, I thought, ‘I guess this is happening.'”
“He definitely was worried. I asked him if he wanted to talk to me. He said, ‘Not now. I don’t know what to say.’ I would have loved to see him fly to Japan and get off the plane. That would have been the best. As a matter of fact, I would have paid his fare.”
–Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, on his sense of fun (Ken Mandel, MLB.com)
DAMN THE PECOTAS, FULL OZZIE AHEAD
“I’m getting back to being Ozzie. I’m going to have fun and smile with the players, but if I have to scream at someone, I’m going to do it. I don’t [care] if I’m going to be on every TV and people hate me for that. I get paid to win.”
—White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
“Last year, I backed off a little bit. I thought players were getting tired of ‘There goes Ozzie again.’ But if they get tired, good, that’s the way I’m going to handle stuff. You want to be a good guy? Be a good guy off the field. I expect my players this year to be mean. You want to take someone under your wing? Take them to the restaurant or something. You see something you don’t like, then get on [them]. Don’t let me be the bad guy.”
“We need players helping each other, and we have those guys here. It’s not an important spring for me. It’s important for the team because we don’t want to suffer the way we did last year.”
–Guillen (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
“I didn’t have money for the first month’s rent, so me and my roommate slept in front of the stadium in a car–a Geo Prizm–for two weeks.”
—Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, on his time with the New Britain Rock Cats.
“I had no help. We couldn’t afford $19 a day for a hotel room. We’d wake up in the morning, hang out in the mall all day, come to the stadium, and take a shower.”
–Hunter, on his time in Double-A.
“This is the panic room. The walls are concrete, eight inches thick, that go deep into the ground, the door is bulletproof, and the phone line can’t be cut. If we ever have a tornado or a hurricane, we’d go in here… but it’s also from growing up in the ‘hood. My upbringing has me worried about a lot of stuff, and when we first moved out here, there weren’t many houses, it was kind of isolated. Safety is first.”
–Hunter, on modifications to his house.
“I’m a very honest guy, the past is the past, but everyone I knew had a gun, and so did I.”
–Hunter, on growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. (Mike DiGiovanni, Los Angeles Times)
UNDERESTIMATING J.P. RICCIARDI’S WILLINGNESS TO OVERPAY IS NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST
“I mean, would you? I don’t think I’m being hard on myself when I say I don’t expect them to do that for me. I mean, I’ve been hurt the last two years. It’s pretty simple: if I have a good year, everything’s good. As of right now, I think the times that I’ve been on the field, I’ve shown them some of the reasons they got me in the first place. Thing is, it doesn’t count if you’re not out on the field.”
“At the end of the year, we’ll see how everything plays out. Most of our contracts run through 2010, so I’d probably need direction from ownership to do anything like that. When we put that option in, we did it because if we didn’t, he wouldn’t have signed with us. We figured three years of him was better than none. And when he’s pitched, he’s been everything we thought he’d be.”
–Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, on Burnett’s opt-out. (Jeff Blair, Toronto Globe and Mail)
DOUG IS THE VINCE LOMBARDI OF WAIVER BAIT
“It’s time. I told Freddy it’s time for you to start taking a little bit of a role here. There are too many good players, too many good guys in here. But it’s easy to fall into the rut of losing. It’s time to be a big leaguer, and winning is what big leaguers are all about.”
—Pirates NRI Doug Mientkiewicz, adopting a leadership role with his new club.
“I was, like, ‘Wow, this guy’s awesome.’ It was unreal. The things Doug had to say, with all the knowledge he has about things on and off the field… it was only about 45 minutes or so that we talked, but it was incredible. That attitude he can bring is something we really need.”
–Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez
“I almost don’t want to talk about this. The fans in Pittsburgh probably have heard it all before. But you know what? I’ve won a lot of different things in my career, but what I’m most proud of was that, when I got to Minnesota, I knew the city would give us a ticker-tape parade if we finished .500. And, when I left there, it was seen as failure if we didn’t go to the World Series. We gave respectable baseball back to a city that deserved it. Trust me: I’ve seen it work with a lot less talent than what’s in this room.”
“I hate the term ‘underachieving.’ That means you didn’t do your job. I know the manager we have now is not going to stand for it. And I’m going to do my part, too, if they’ll have me.”
–Minky (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“I looked like a NASCAR hood.”
–Mike Hampton, on having advertisements on his uniform while playing in Mexico this winter. (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)
“A guy in Mississippi was interviewing me. He kept [talking about] this ball. I said, ‘Man, my dog ate it.’ … If you believe it, you believe it. If you don’t, you don’t. What can I say?”
–Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, on the World Series ball. (Howard Ulman, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“Of course I’m more comfortable at third base. But if the team needs me at second, I’m more than willing to do it. It’s a challenge to me, but if Wiggy can do it, I can do it.”
—Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura, on moving to second to replace ex-teammate Ty Wigginton. (Bill Chastain, MLB.com)
“I feel like a [Ford Mustang] GT 500 with the 429 engine. Since that car was made the same year I was born , I feel just like it. Like an old classic car. Hopefully there’s still some value.”
—Omar Vizquel, Giants shortstop. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.