WHAT WAS THAT CUBA GOODING JR LINE AGAIN?
“They do want to keep you happy, and that will affect down the line with certain things that come up because you can’t just all of a sudden throw everything out at (a player) at the last second and think that’s really going to make him happy, because he’s still got check marks for what they didn’t do in the years before.”
—Phillies ace Cole Hamels (David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News)
“There will be Dustin Pedroia and Clay [Buchholz] and Jacoby [Ellsbury] the year after that. We need to take a stand and not let them take advantage of us just because they can.”
—Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, on the pre-arbitration salary structure.
“I feel like I’ve gone to bat for them, and now it’s time for them to go to bat for me.”
“You take my last five years, and put those numbers and put them over a 162-game season, I’m pretty damn good. Let’s be honest–I’m a five-tool guy here. There is no risk. You pay me $5 million as a five-tool guy, I’m underpaid. What other five-tool guys are there? Jimmy Rollins? Carlos Beltrán? Look what they’re making. Look what I’m making. So I’m a steal, I’m a bargain, in my words.”
—Rangers outfielder Milton Bradley (Alan Schwarz, The New York Times)
ALL IS QUIET AT YANKEE CAMP
“Red Sox Nation? What a bunch of [expletive] that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”
–Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, on his favorite enemy.
“John [Henry] is a great guy and my dad always loved him. I love him, Hal loves him. He has done a tremendous job with the Red Sox. My point was simple: the Yankee brand is the biggest in the country and everybody knows that. There is no dispute. That’s not meant as a cut to the Red Sox. I am not just saying it, it’s the truth. John has done an unbelievable job with the Red Sox brand.”
–Steinbrenner, on not wanting to be inducted into Red Sox Nation. (George King, The New York Post)
“I turned to him and said, ‘You’re not going anywhere, either, big boy.’ I could see he had the elephant ears going.”
–Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on what he said to Joba Chamberlain about trade rumors.
“Melky has to fight for what he has. I can’t stand here and tell you he’s going to be our center fielder moving forward. That’s up to him.”
–Cashman, on the team’s incumbent center fielder.
“The organization has really taken strides to keep the young guys. There were opportunities where they could have traded some guys, and it didn’t happen. The organization deserves a lot of credit for having patience, letting these guys develop and giving them an opportunity to play.”
“If he starts like he finished last year, he could win the batting title. I mean, he could run away with it–with 30 homers. That’s what we’re looking at. I think he could be real special.”
–Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long
AND THOSE STATHEADS FEEL LIKE YOU CAN’T QUANTIFY TEAM CHEMISTRY, COME ON
“There’s a feeling. But the feeling can’t really be expressed in words. It’s just, you know. You know you’re in a group that’s going to win. You know what everybody’s focus is. It’s on winning.”
–Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, on the Phillies’ chances this season.
“That was kind of like the theme–be competitive. Even in our spring training meetings, it was like, ‘Let’s go out there and be competitive.’ But it was really like, ‘We want to be more than competitive–but.'”
“Even though they didn’t say, ‘but,’ you always knew there was a ‘but’ … ‘But we’re going to be undermanned,’ or ‘We’re not going to have the talent,’ or ‘We just don’t quite know how to get there yet but we’ll learn. Everybody’s young.’ But after a while, you’re not going to be young too much longer.”
“You’re no longer questioning yourself. You no longer feel like you have to answer to questions that aren’t being asked, but they’re getting written about. People give you a break. I’ll give you an example: I haven’t heard one speech this year about ‘We have to get off to a good start.’ Why? Because we finally won something.”
–Rollins, on expectations coming off his team’s NL East championship.
COLD, OFFICIOUS, AND EVIL: THE STATHEAD OF TODAY
“I nearly cried when Headley got his first big-league hit.”
–Statistical analyst for the Padres Chris Long
“I believe people would be genuinely shocked at how sophisticated the analysis within some clubs has gotten. Whether or not it gets used, however, is entirely a separate issue.”
“Everyone loves a little confirmation bias now and again.”
–Long, on reading the Internet. (Friar Forecast)
THE IMMORTAL LEGENDS OF TEMPE
“All accidents. I’m just trying to put some good wood on the ball, see some good pitches, work on my timing and get my foot down. It’s crazy. We’ve got 25 games left. I’m trying to pace myself.”
—Torii Hunter, new Angels center fielder, on his torrid spring training pace.
“We joked that we should pack him up and ship him to Anaheim–he’s ready. He’s got to save some of that stuff for the season.”
–Angels pitcher Jered Weaver
“I’ve never seen a baseball card with spring training stats on it. I don’t want to be Cactus League MVP. I don’t want that trophy. Y’all can have that. I want that World Series ring.”
–Hunter (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)
HE HAS TO BE SMARTER THAN JOHNNY DAMON…I DON’T THINK THAT’S GOING TO BE AN ISSUE
“He’s the go-to guy. If something’s going on, he’s the guy who should know everything. He’s the guy to speak up at team meetings, and he’s just very important. They definitely have to conduct their lives a little different than the rest of us. They’re the captain of a franchise. They can’t be getting into trouble. They just have to be a lot smarter than the rest of us.”
–Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon, on his team’s captain, Derek Jeter.
“I’m no different than anyone else on the team. I understand that I have that title. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with anybody that’s wearing it, but for me, it was never an issue.”
“The fact that 27 teams don’t have one, that kind of tells you the need of it in baseball. On this team, there are guys on this team that are older than me and have more time in the game. I’ve always said what it really comes down to is it gives the guys more things in stretching to get on me about. Any time something has to be done that nobody wants to do, they say it’s the captain’s job. It’s really what it boils down to, to be honest with you.”
—White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, his team’s captain.
“I had a message that Mr. Steinbrenner wanted to talk to me. I thought I was in trouble. I called him and he said that he wanted to name me the captain, and he asked what I thought about it.”
–Jeter, on finding out he was the captain. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)
DONALD FEHR HAS A WHOLE NEW SET OF NIGHTMARES BECAUSE OF THESE GUYS
“It’s probably the only way to silence critics who think we’re a bunch of HGH users. This issue has received so much attention that most of us are being painted with the same brush. It’s unfair.”
–Derek Jeter. There currently is no blood test for human growth hormone.
“And stage fright’s a real deal. If you can’t go in front of somebody … you just mentally lock up. I’d rather stick my arm out and they can take blood out of me all day long.”
–Astros slugger Lance Berkman, on urine tests.
“I think the union feels like if you start doing things like that, then you open the door to other things where [clubs] might make changes without even negotiating with the players union. It’s not that the union doesn’t want to appease the public when it comes to the perceived drug problem in baseball. I think they look at it like, ‘Look, this is part of our agreement and if you want to change it, that’s fine, but let’s negotiate it.'”
“I’d prefer not to have a grown man standing there looking at my pickle, but if they have to do it for the sake of the game, I’m in. They watch the whole thing.”
–D’backs outfielder Eric Byrnes, on urine testing. (Chris De Luca, Chicago Sun-Times)
“For a guy like myself, I think it would be great if we had blood testing, but if we don’t, I’m not going to raise a stink about it. I really don’t care. I don’t have anything to hide and whatever they want to do is fine with me.”
“I’d give a blood sample on a monthly basis, just to get people off our backs. And if players don’t want to do that, they have something to hide.”
–Berkman (Alyson Footer, MLB.com)
BASEBALL HAS MORE IMPORTANT THINGS ON ITS MIND
“Your new terms impose a form of prior restraint on the use of visual images (both still and video) that will negatively impact the editorial independence of our members and the press as a whole. To then ban the use of photos in a photo gallery is nothing short of draconian.”
–NPPA president Tony Overman, on new Major League Baseball restrictions on the use of photographs.
“A combination of media lawyers and sports editors are strongly objecting to what we think are unduly restrictive rules, mainly regarding what can be posted on Web sites. We hope to persuade MLB these rules are not in their interest, certainly not in the fans’ interest, and not viable for the media.”
–New York Times spokesperson Diane McNulty
“The new terms and conditions outlined in the 2008 Major League Baseball press credential application form dramatically restrict the use of content and imagery compromising our ability to cover baseball. To uphold the responsibility of serving the public in a manner consistent with our rights and responsibilities under the First Amendment, we have informed Major League Baseball that we cannot accept these new policies.”
–Sports Illustrated statement on the MLB decision. (Daryl Lang, Editor and Publisher)
‘THEN HE GAVE ME TWENTY BUCKS TO WASH HIS CAR. THAT’S WHEN I KNEW.’
“The guy comes up to me, and he says, ‘You’re Kent Mercker, right? A year ago, you were trying to get Barry Bonds out. And now you’re carrying around a pink bag, walking behind a horse.’ It was that moment that I said to my wife, ‘You know honey, it’s time to see how my arm is feeling.'”
–pitcher Kent Mercker, on trying to get back to the big leagues.
“I think a lot of people see this as, ‘Man, he must not like his family very much.’ Naah. It’s just not out of my system. And I’m not sure it ever will be.”
“I had to laugh with my buddies back home, I said, ‘What is the state of pitching when there a couple of teams fighting over a 35-year-old left-hander, coming off two Tommy John surgeries, throwing 82 miles an hour?'”
–NRI Brian Anderson (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)
THE MAN IS IN HIS GLORY
“I’m sorry his running mate, Manny Ramirez, isn’t here. I guess his grandmother died again. Just kidding. Tell Manny I didn’t mean it. But I do want to quote him. He said, ‘When you don’t feel good, and you still get hits, that’s when you know you’re a bad man.’ I don’t know what that means. But if bad man means good hitter, he’s a really bad man, because he was clutch in the World Series and clutch in the playoffs.”
–President George W. Bush
“I appreciate the dress code. Thanks for wearing pants.”
“I feel good, it made me feel important–the president is thinking about me. I like it. It makes me feel important to be mentioned.”
–Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez, on Bush’s remarks about him.
“I was doing meditation in my house, so I feel more important. That’s what I do now. In my time off, I read books and I meditate. That’s what I do.”
–Manny (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)
“To me, the ark of the covenant, the holiest of holy places is wherever the Chicago Cubs are, yet I prefer spring training in Florida. I’m more familiar with the critters that you have down here in Florida. Out in the desert, who knows what things are? And nobody knows the antidote.”
–actor Bill Murray, on spring training. (Associated Press)
“Brett Gardner is not your typical Yankee-profile type of player. We’re trying to break that profile to some degree because there’s more to this game than hitting for power. We think he could be a Juan Pierre who takes a walk. Here’s a guy who can steal bases; he can get on base; he plays the short game. We need athleticism like that, especially when you have a bunch of these old
farts filling the roster out. Those young burst-of-energy, athletic guys really stand out on a team like ours.”
–Yankees general manager Brian Cashman (Peter Abraham, Lo-Hud News Journal)
“It was a saying that he had put in a frame for me. Don’t let the fear of striking out get in your way–Babe Ruth.”
–Angels infielder Brandon Wood, on a gift his dad gave him this offseason. (Bill Plunkett, The Sun)
“I had been going out there and wanting to prove myself in light of the contract, the attention and all that stuff. Those intentions are good, but you block your ability and talent by having tension in your body. After a few rough months in a row, you get to a point where you kind of say, ‘Screw it.'”
—Giants pitcher Barry Zito, on living up to the expectations of a big contract. (Jerry Crasnick, MLB.com)
“Umpires get hit with line drives. I’ve probably seen 50 of them get hit. If coaches have to wear helmets, umpires should. I’ll sign a waiver. And there should be a grandfather clause. These are very cumbersome. They talk about delay of game, and when the helmet falls off, you’ll have to stop the game. It should be an option. I know I’m talking for a lot of guys who won’t say anything. I’ll write a check for 162 games if I have to to not wear it.”
—Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa, on having to wear a helmet this season. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.