BOB WATSON’S INTRANSIGENCE COMES IN HANDY FOR THE FIRST TIME
“The bottom line is we’re not shutting down the season. Our owners are not going to shut down the season. We’re not going for that. There are all kinds of solutions. That’s not Bud’s stance. If they want to hold that against him, they can.”
-Bob Watson, Director of US Olympic baseball
“I think baseball and softball will be reinstated in the Olympic format. I think in ’09 they will vote it back in. They have been lobbying hard behind the scenes. I think that vote is going to be baseball’s return.”
-Watson, on a vote that would restore baseball to the Olympics by 2016.
“The fact is we are trying to meet a whole lot of concerns the IOC had, mainly doping standards. All these things have been addressed. Our doping standards are the most stringent in all of major league sports.”
“All those programs have really grown. The Dutch program is doing well, as well as Italy. I hope this won’t affect those programs in 2012.”
-Team USA manager Davey Johnson
“In the next eight years, the World Baseball Classic will take on the life of what (World Cup) soccer is. Players are taking it a lot more seriously. We had a lot of guys coming in who want to participate.”
-Watson (Google News)
HE RAN OUT OF VACATION DAYS TO TAKE, SO IT’S TIME TO GET SUSPENDED
“I wish we were like 10 games up or 20 games down, then I’d get a 10-game suspension. But my team is going through a pretty tough time right now, and I have to be with them 100 percent. I let my club down for two days.”
-White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on his feud with the Royals that resulted in a two-game suspension.
“After you see Greinke hit Swisher, that clicks in your mind like, ‘What’s going on here? You start looking around like, ‘Are they abusing my team, or do they think we’re scared?’ That’s why I made that comment. A lot of people thought when we went to Kansas City we were going to have some problems. I didn’t do anything because I truly believe those guys didn’t throw at my players”
“Now I know I can’t do anything about it because they’re going to have a warning, they’re going to be looking at me. I’ll just move on, quiet, and I’m not going to start anything. I will finish something, but I’m not going to start.”
-Guillen (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
THE GHOST OF LEFT FIELDERS PAST
“There was an environment that was not conducive to winning surrounding this club.”
-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, reflecting on the clubhouse before the trade of Manny Ramirez.
“Believe me, it’s easier for us [not to face Ramirez], but I don’t think they’re going to make the trade if they feel they don’t still have a good offense without him. Did the trade surprise me? I don’t know what went on there, but it did surprise me. Sometimes people need to get something done to show they lead the ballclub.”
-The garrulous Ozzie Guillen
“It surprised me when it happened. I would have bet my house and everything, and I would have lost. But the Red Sox do good business. They know what they’re doing and you have to respect that.”
“I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but believe me, I never think Manny’s a quitter and he never will be. That’s the way he played the game, but they created their own monster. They created Manny. Manny was Manny, and now all of a sudden Manny’s not Manny. That’s their business and I wasn’t there, but I don’t think Manny’s a quitter. I don’t.”
-Guillen (John Tomase, Boston Herald)
FOR EXAMPLE, JOSE MOLINA PREFERS AN ALMOND MOCHACCHINO AFTER A TOUGH LOSS
“Players react in different ways. I know he was upset.”
-Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on Ian Kennedy’s low-key reaction to getting knocked around Angels Stadium.
“He’s in our rotation. We’ve done this dance before. He’s in our rotation.”
“What do you think? You think it’s fun watching that crap? Silly question.”
-Girardi, on getting beat by the Angels.
“What was it, a bunch of singles and three doubles? I’m just not real upset about it. I’m just going to move on and I’ve already done that.”
-Scranton ace Ian Kennedy
“I could tell he was upset with the way he pitched when I went out there. Some guys are able to say what’s on their mind. Some guys sometimes aren’t able to say what’s exactly on their mind. It’s something I will talk to Ian about.”
-Girardi, on Kennedy.
“Some guys understand how to handle the media a little better than others. It’s important that we know his heart, not necessarily that everyone does.”
“It was a hundred percent the right move to make… we’ve come up with so many situations where we haven’t gotten that extra hit. I think it would be foolish to lay back and let the game come to us. You have to play to win.”
-Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, on attempting to steal third with one out with Xavier Nady at the plate, and getting thrown out.
“He’s trying to get 90 feet closer. I don’t have a problem with it whatsoever.”
-Girardi, on Rodriguez’s ill-fated steal attempt. (Peter Abraham, The News-Journal)
THERE’S ONE VOTE FOR NATURAL GRASS
“I just haven’t felt comfortable stealing bases because of my leg. I haven’t felt strong or fast or quick. You see me get picked off. I can’t even be as quick as I want coming back to the bag.”
-Rays outfielder Carl Crawford, talking about his hurting hamstring; subsequent to this comment he was put on the DL with a hand injury.
“It’s pretty tough to play on the artificial turf. It grabs your hamstring every time you take a step.”
“It’s soft, but it’s like walking on sand. It makes you work muscles that you don’t have to work elsewhere or on natural grass.”
-Crawford (Tony Fabrizio, Tampa Tribune)
HE WOULD LIKE TO RESPECTFULLY ASK BARRY TO QUIT SPAMMING HIM
“We’ve had some preliminary conversations via e-mail with scouts to get their thoughts on who might be available at this point in time, and see what fits for us. Because of my travel schedule, I haven’t had a chance to talk to Cooper about where we are. In the next couple of days we’ll have a chance to have that dialogue.”
-Astros general manager Ed Wade
“That’s a tough one. To lose a guy from your team is hard. But Carlos is a guy who has been, in the last month or two, carrying this team. We felt like we had a chance. Now we lose one of the best hitters on the team, and it’s hard. I’m sorry for him, because I think this year could have been one of the best years of his life. It’s not good.”
-Astros manager Cecil Cooper
“In the meantime, getting Abercrombie up there gives us depth off the bench, and it’s great to have a guy like Darin Erstad with our club that can play left field for us.”
-Wade, ever the optimist.
“That would certainly sell tickets. I’d love to have him on the team. I think he would be great if he could perform at a level we’re accustomed to seeing. If he’ll play for the minimum (league salary), I would certainly take a flier on that.”
-Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, on the possibility of replacing Lee with Barry Bonds. (Brian McTaggert, Houston Chronicle)
“I’ve never felt this good in my career at the plate. I believed I was going to help [the team] to make a comeback and do the best for the team but now, I’m out. It’s pretty bad. I have to get it operated on and they say six to eight weeks, so probably, I’m out [for the year], unless the guys make a comeback and I’ll be back for the playoffs.”
“With men in scoring position, he’s just been an awesome player. Getting big hit after big hit. He’s carried us over the last month and a half or so with home runs, base hits, and he’s played terrific defensively. It’s a big hole to fill.”
-Cooper (Alyson Footer, MLB.com)
THEO EPSTEIN’S JAW DROPPED ALL THE WAY TO PROVIDENCE
“The Yankees knew I wanted to go to Boston. They picked up my option so I wouldn’t wind up there. I would have loved it because I love that atmosphere [in Boston]. It means something. At this stage of my career, I want to feel that again. That’s what I play for. That’s what gets me revved up.”
-Tigers DH Gary Sheffield
“I can be in the outfield and play every day. I don’t want to DH. I don’t feel like a baseball player when I DH. I don’t know how to be the leader that I am from the bench. I can’t be a vocal leader. I can’t talk to guys from the bench because I don’t feel right about it.”
-Sheffield, on his preference for playing in the outfield.
“I’m in a role now where I don’t know what to do, really. The guys are out there busting their butt for nine innings, they come in and they hit and they grind. I just sit down and hit. That’s all I do, so I can’t be in a leadership role from that position.”
“I don’t prefer platooning here, but I understand because I got off to a slow start, that’s part of it, but I feel I’m playing better now. I’m back to being a threat I need to be. I don’t get pitched the same like everybody else. I get pitched very carefully. Now that I’m a lot better physically, I can handle tough pitching. I can be the player that I know I am.”
-Sheffield (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
HE’S THE WIDER, MORE SOUTHERN VERSION OF MARIANO, I TELL YOU
“Broxton’s our guy. He’s a guy you can trust. Stuff like that happens. It’s how you respond and come back.”
-Dodgers manager Joe Torre, on closer Jonathan Broxton.
“I said, ‘Are you OK? Yeah, so am I.’ We did that with Mariano. He struggled at times when we gave him the role from Wetteland. I looked into his eyes and said, ‘You’re going to keep getting the ball.'”
“I have no reservations with his makeup. He has the equipment to be a closer. If anything, he may go over the top and try to overthrow the ball. Once he trusts his splitter, he could be devastating. He reminds me a little of Don McMahon, a big guy who throws hard and doesn’t say much.”
-Torre, on Broxton. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“He asked, ‘How short?’ I said I’d get back to him. To me, it’s a sensitive issue for a player that’s been doing something for a long time. As a player, I’d be turned off if I was told, now that you’re here, do this and this and this. We’ll have to see the results. If that happens, I’m out of town. It’s a long homestand; I could be taking a beating. I never imagined when I started managing 25 years ago I’d be talking about this. Some old-timers would be spinning in their graves over this.”
-Joe Torre, on Manny Ramirez cutting his dreadlocks. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“I remember watching Ferguson Jenkins in spring training. He ran the whole game-line to line the entire game. And everybody wondered why he went 300 innings. He ran.”
-Reds manager Dusty Baker, on his running philosophy. (Justice B. Hill, MLB.com)
“I don’t think the pitchers made bad pitches tonight. I was just able to hit them.”
-Cubs minor leaguer Micah Hoffpauir, after clubbing four home runs in a game. (Alan Friedman, MLB.com)
“I know for a fact there were a lot of guys in the past who just got too old because nobody saw them. They were good players who didn’t make it because nobody saw them play. Now it’s easier because every team is down there. If you’re good, somebody is going to know that.”
-Former Tiger Juan Samuel, on scouting in Latin America. (Tom Gage, Detroit News)
“We definitely jumped into the deep end, involved with the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and being very deep into conversations with other clubs, too. But I came away very pleased with the process, with the dynamic in the room.”
-Pirates GM Neal Huntington, on the blend of scouting and statistical analysis in his organization and that blend’s impact on his deadline dealing. (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“I said that the United States doesn’t even know who was on that team four years ago, but we are still talking about this team that lost. The passion Venezuela has for baseball is different from everywhere else. Every other week, they come up with something different about that competition.”
-Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen, on the Venezuelan team that went to the World Baseball Classic. (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
“Now, if he goes out and busts his butt… it’s different. It may happen for a week or two weeks or three weeks, but at one point in time he’s going to get comfortable and go back into being a one-gait player.”
-Anonymous scout on Ken Griffey Jr. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“We appreciate all of Jose’s hard work and professionalism. We wanted to have every opportunity to try and trade him. Even though that opportunity may still exist, now that we’ve passed the July 31 deadline it was important for us to continue our transition into a club that is looking towards the 2009 season, even as we try to win as many games as possible this season.”
-Mariners general manager Lee Pelekoudas, on releasing DH Jose Vidro (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
“When I was a kid growing up, the Oakland A’s would fight each other every single day-that’s why they called them the fighting A’s-and they won the world championship. It’s not a major deal. It’s what happens. It makes teams better.”
-Brewers manager Ned Yost, on altercations between players on the Brewers. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“We’ve got to win, man. We’ve got to win. We’ve got to start doing things to win ballgames. We’ve got an awesome team, we’ve got a great team. We’ve got all the talent to win everything. But we’ve got to start winning.”
-Yankees catcher Ivan Rodriguez (Peter Abraham, The News-Journal)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.