ICH BIN BASEBALL PLAYER
“[The game] felt like anywhere else. You didn’t really capture
the fact you were in China unless you knew you were in China.”
—Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, on his team’s trip to face the Dodgers in China.
“We’re not in Los Angeles any more. The way Chinese society works is considerably different from the way we work. It’s easy to say it’s stifling, that’s no way to run a society. But I’ve been coming here for a quarter of a century, and I believe it works well for the people here.”
—Joseph Reaves, the Dodgers’ director of international operations
“The Dodgers would beat us by 8 to 10 runs. Playing baseball is a trend–as a country develops, they start playing baseball.”
—Lifeng Zhang, captain of the Chinese international team
“Obviously, we want as many Chinese as possible to be there, but we also understand that this is a big event in the ex-pat community. It’s a fine line to straddle. We want our players and everyone else to know they are in China, but
we also want Chinese fans to experience an American baseball game. The video board will be exactly what they would show in San Diego and the music that’s played will be just what you would hear at Dodgers Stadium.”
—Jim Small, MLB Vice President of Asia. (Colum Macleod, USA Today)
“Some guys said they didn’t want to go because of the long plane ride and the interruption in their routine, or because they were just scared. But as it got close, they were all feeling regretful and saying how lucky we were.”
–Padres reliever Heath Bell (Alan Ball, The Wall Street Journal)
ANOTHER DODGER FAN DOOMED TO A LIFE OF DISAPPOINTMENT
“What is the name of the man wearing the white suit? Is he the best? Should I root for him or number 25?”
—Zhang Xu Deng, 12-year-old Chinese prospect.
“I guess it’s like any other Dodger game–they don’t show up until
the second inning.”
–Dodgers right fielder Matt Kemp
“For the ball to come, when the man in the beige uniform goes by, you have to wave and shout, ‘Aahhh! Aahhh! Aahhh!'”
–Eleven-year-old Ming Ming Li, on how to get freebies at ballgames. (Kurt Streeter, Los Angeles Times)
“They cheered at the right times.”
–Padres closer Trevor Hoffman
HE IS WISE BEYOND HIS OBP
“If we want to repeat, we’re going to go and do it. Everything is possible in life. Hey, whatever you want to be in life, you could be.”
“Hey, you’re the architect of your life. Let me tell you something. We’ve got so much bad stuff inside, it’s up to us to make the best of it.”
“It’s about life. It’s good. You should read it. Go and buy it. Sometimes you go and read a book and that person who wrote it, all his experience that he got in 50 years, you get in one day if you read a book.”
–Manny on The Secret
“He’s taking some meditation class now. He thinks that might help him to get his spirit going around so he can go to different places. Some crazy stuff, you know how it is.”
–Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz
“I’m ready. Let’s go to Japan today.”
“For other people, it’s a great year. That’s in the past. Talk to me (about) right now. If we want to repeat we’re going to go and do it. Everything is possible in life. I’m ready to go. I don’t know about other people. I’m ready to go. You crazy? I’m one of the best players in the league. That’s last year.”
–Manny, on his 2007 campaign. (Howard Ulman, Boston Globe)
A RIVALRY FOR THE AGES… AND/OR MARCH
“Why should we anticipate something? So it happens for the next 19 games we play them? No. Why would it linger on? Why would you continue to do it? If something happens, it would be stupid. It gets to a point where it’s got to end.”
–Rays manager Joe Maddon, on the bad blood between the Rays and the Yankees.
“I’ve got no problem going to Orlando just to let things simmer down. I wouldn’t take back what I did. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from other players in the major leagues via text message.”
–Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes, on bringing the fight to the Yankees in this week’s brawl.
“Did his spikes go up a little high? Yes, they did. You don’t want to try to hurt anyone, and I believe Shelley wasn’t trying to hurt him.”
–Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on Duncan’s slide into second baseman Akinori Iwamura.
“I was taught from T-ball on up to have your teammate’s back. That’s why I reacted the way I did. Shelley Duncan went in the paper and said he was going to do this. This was premeditated. He said if he had the opportunity he was going to do this. To me, that makes it even worse. He stutter-stepped and knew he was gonna be out by a mile. He was thrown out of the game before I even got there. I don’t know how necessary it was for him to even come on this trip after he said he was gonna do something to one of our players.”
IT’S UNAMERICAN. IT’S SATANIC. IT HAS DESTROYED THE FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY
“What you saw today was the definition of a dirty play. There’s no room for that in our game. It’s contemptible. It’s wrong. It’s borderline criminal. I can’t believe they did that.”
“Probably rubs some people the wrong way because of the way he plays so hard, but he doesn’t rub us the wrong way. I don’t think it’s such an incident if there wasn’t the hype. It became an incident because of all the rhetoric during the past five to six days.”
“Obviously, I read Melky’s comment saying he didn’t do anything. Obviously, the commissioner’s office saw something different.”
–Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, on Melky Cabrera‘s punch to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. (ESPN.com)
PECOTA COMPARABLES INCLUDE TED BUNDY AND JACK THE RIPPER
“He doesn’t care about anyone else than me. He loves to get into the biggest vehicle–that’s usually an 18-wheeler, or a mail truck–and blindside me out of nowhere and start giggling. He’ll exploit your weakness; he’s the silent assassin.”
—Indians outfielder David Dellucci on Travis Hafner.
“Oh, I just got out of some handcuffs and killed a guy.”
–Hafner’s report on what Dellucci missed in the first few minutes of No Country for Old Men
“He may be the only guy in the world who was pulling for the psychopath killer. I don’t know if he was able to judge the difference between that character and himself.”
“I’m fairly quiet unless it’s around people I know real well. Then I’m real talkative, but I’m never going to scream loud or anything like that.”
–Hafner (Amy K. Nelson, ESPN.com)
SOMEONE TELL OZZIE THAT THEY ARE 0-0
“They’re killing me. They’re killing my family, my coaching staff, and the White Sox fans. I hope they care the way we care. I’m tired of seeing this shit every day.”
–White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on his team’s spring training performance.
“Trust me, if this thing takes the wrong direction early on like it did last year, I swear to God, if it reaches that point, I’m going to Jerry and saying, ‘Look, don’t let my contract make it so I’m holding you hostage; we can talk about something different. You can rip up my contract and do a new one, less years. You won’t have to pay me for this.'”
“I like my ballclub. Some people don’t like it, but that’s baseball. That’s why people have different opinions. I am happy with what I have, and I feel good about this ballclub. Hopefully we can play the way we want to and win some ballgames. I think we should be in the pennant race.”
–Guillen (Jesse Sanchez, MLB.com)
MICE RARELY HAVE A PLUS FASTBALL, BUT WE SEE HIS POINT
“Being insulted by Papelbon is like being attacked by a mouse.”
–Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, on criticism from Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.
“Whatever, dude. Obviously, by that comment, he’s trying to start something. I’m not gonna get into it back and forth. I mean, I said that because I honestly believe it. People nowadays, whether it be reporters, ESPN analysts, guys that don’t play the game, don’t understand what it’s about. What the grind is about, what the clubhouse is like.”
“I don’t know why he would take it that way. I’m saying guys that have never been on the field don’t have the right to speak their mind about things that they don’t know about. I’m not insulted by what he said.”
“John Henry and I traded a couple of jabs good-naturedly. So now, all of a sudden, this player, this 20-something kid who really doesn’t know his way in the world, comes out with a personal insult. There’s no excuse for that.”
“It was nothing personal against John, nothing personal against Larry, nothing personal against Francona, nothing personal against the team or the fans. It was just a general comment that is the truth. I respect the Red Sox and their fans, but the Yankees are the most popular team in American sports. Ask Jerry Jones in Dallas, he’ll tell you that. That’s why they want to do business with us. So it’s just a fact.”
–Hank Steinbrenner (Kevin Kernan, New York Post)
AND ANOTHER THING…
“I don’t want these teams in general to forget who subsidizes a lot of them, and it’s the Yankees, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets. I would prefer if teams want to target the Yankees that they at least start giving some of that revenue sharing and luxury tax money back. From an owner’s point of view, that’s my point.”
–Hank Steinbrenner, on his desire to be remunerated by the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Girardi has his players’ back and I have his back, and that’s never going to change.”
“There are going to be problems, especially if they go after our stars. It’s not going to be tolerated. We never have done it to them. It’s just not going to happen anymore.”
–Steinbrenner, on the Rays.
“All I can tell you is that I will support everything he does, and that will never change. Because this is the manager I wanted, and that’s not anything against Joe Torre. That’s the manager we wanted at that time. Times change.”
KYLE FARNSWORTH’S DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE INTERIOR
“He’s got such an image in the public. I didn’t know what to expect from him, but once I got through that hard shell, I found out what a quality guy he really is.”
–Dodgers reliever Scott Proctor, on Kyle Farnsworth.
–Farnsworth’s marketing consultant Steve Fortunato
“If you get booed, if you have a bad outing, it’s not fun, but it’s not the end of the world. I could be driving a garbage truck, waking up at 4 a.m. every day and working all day long. You have to look at it that way. I love playing the game, and nobody can take that away from me.”
“Setting up for Mo is totally different than setting up anywhere else.You’re setting up for the best, and the fans recognize that. How many people even know who the setup guys are for other teams? It’s almost like closing.”
–Farnsworth (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)
STEADY AS THE SPRING TRAINING IS LONG
“A position player has a better chance to get on base than the pitcher. And the more guys on base in front of Albert, the more runs you score. It makes sense.”
–La Russa, on his plan to bat his pitchers eighth this year.
“Let me ask you something. Do you think the guy hitting eighth
has a strong surge of confidence? I’m actually complimenting the ninth
hitter by saying he’s a second leadoff hitter.”
–La Russa (Jim Molony, MLB.com)
“I know he’s met her, gone out with her, but I don’t know if you consider that dating… but hey, a boy could do worse. It doesn’t surprise me any. Last year up in Boston he was dating a Victoria’s Secret model, so he’s moving up the ladder… I mean, he’s got pretty good taste.”
—Clay Buchholz‘s dad Skip Buchholz, on his son’s burgeoning affair with Penthouse Pet Erica Ellyson. (Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa, Boston Herald)
“It’s better than having two. It’s a good problem to have. It’s going to be tough to make out the lineup, and (manager) Joe (Torre) realizes that. We have four solid outfielders, but Joe will work it out. We’ll always have a good guy on the bench, put it that way.”
–Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer, on his team’s outfield situation. (Tony Jackson, Los Angeles Daily News)
“I think it’s worse now knowing he might not be back. More than likely he won’t be back, which is pretty sad. Dougie was a great teammate. He was not only my personal catcher but a lot of guys in that clubhouse respected his opinion. He watched other hitters. He watched other pitchers. There were even times when David [Ortiz] would be hitting and he’d say, ‘Hey, you’re doing this wrong.’ He cared about everybody on this team. Even though he was a backup catcher, his opinion was important to everybody.”
–Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, reacting to the release of catcher Doug Mirabelli (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I think it’s a relief for Dice-K, knowing that there was uncertainty
certainly up until early this morning. So the fact that she’s healthy and the baby’s healthy, this is one thing that he can put behind him now.”
–Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, on the birth of Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s first child. (Reuters)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus