AND THEN A HERO COMES ALONG
“I think it’s time for the Pirates and Mr. Coonelly to come clean with the fans of Pittsburgh and let everyone know about their dealings with Pedro Alvarez.”
—Scott Boras, Pedro Alvarez’ agent, on the grievance filed by the players’ union over his client’s first contract.
“You don’t see a statement like that every day. But that tells you a lot about those two. There is no love lost there at all.”
—Anonymous American League team official, on Boras and Pirates president Frank Coonelly.
“The reality is, this is a 21-year-old, and this is a very powerful agent who is able to exert his influence over established major league players. We have to keep that in mind, too.”
—Pirates general manager Neil Huntington
“You’ve just got to have an agreement by the deadline. We had an agreement by the deadline and the terms were submitted in a timely manner, so I’m not uncomfortable with the situation.”
—Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on Eric Hosmer getting pulled from a game because of his role in the signing deadline grievance.
“Mr. Coonelly is fully aware of the grievance procedure. For him to suggest that a representative of a player has any control over the actions of the union in filing a grievance with the commissioner’s office is patently absurd.
“Regrettably, we are not surprised that Mr. Boras would attempt to raise a meritless legal claim in an effort to compel us to renegotiate Pedro’s contract to one more of his liking.”
—Pirates president Frank Coonelly
“The Pirates violated major league rules. It’s time for the Pirates and Mr. Coonelly to come clean with the Pittsburgh fans.”
“Mr. Coonelly is fully aware that a certified agent has the duty to notify the union of major rules violations by a club. What action the union takes following a grievance is totally within its purvey. And the violations that have been reported have related to the conduct of the Pittsburgh Pirates only.”
—Boras (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
SOMEBODY HAS TO BE THE TURTLE, SOMEBODY HAS TO BE THE HARE
“I’ve seen teams play like this when they’re 30 games out. There’s no excuse for it.”
—Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa
“He’s a tough-love guy. I see where his emotions are. He’s frustrated by it, just like a lot of the players.”
—Dodgers manager Joe Torre on Bowa.
“I don’t think there’s any prototypical passionate team where you’ll have guys hanging from lockers. To me, this game is more about your determination than showing somebody what they think it should look like.”
AT LEAST HE KNOWS WHAT THE SOLUTION ISN’T
“I’m not sure if Ardoin and Berroa are going to add to the probability of getting people on base.”
—Joe Torre, on his backups at catcher and short.
“I play the game, go have fun. I’m on vacation. I don’t got nothing to lose. I got one more month left, you know, go to the house, relax and see what my situation is going to be.”
—Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez
“There’s a lot of things you’d do different, just from watching Joe. If he’s not too happy with somebody, he’ll talk to them and no matter what is said … it’s like (the players) talked to their dad. Joe has a way. I don’t care if you’re Manny Ramirez, he treats everybody the same. He handles personalities, man. It’s a trait that he has that I don’t know if anybody else in baseball has.”
—Larry Bowa, on Torre’s handling of the clubhouse. (Randy Miller, Philadelphia Inquirer)
“All I’m doing now is extra. I’ve already did what I am going to do in my career.”
—Ramirez, on his performance of late.
“He’s a Five-A player. You’ve got Four-A players. He’s Five-A—in his own category. What goes unnoticed is the work that goes into it. He gets up early, works out on his own. He doesn’t tell anybody about it, but he goes about his
business and works hard. It’s not a fluke. There’s a reason he’s as good as he is.”
—Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, on Ramirez.
“Basically, Manny, he doesn’t literally say this, but it’s basically, ‘Just follow me.’ We didn’t do anything early, all of a sudden he hits the home run and it lightens the mood in the dugout because, not only the fact he hit a home run, but just his personality when he got back, it’s pretty special. It’s been really fun watching him from this side.”
—Torre (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)
132 PITCHES IN A PENNANT RACE… WHAT’S THAT? THEY’RE NOT IN A PENNANT RACE?
“Timmy is honest. There have been a couple of games when he said that his legs are cramping. He was adamant that he felt great, and the pen had been used quite a bit. We had no problem sending him back out.”
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy
“His eyes aren’t wide open anymore. Timmy is very humble. He doesn’t think he’s God’s gift to baseball. He’s friendly to everybody, he never rejects an autograph, he’s as down to earth as you can get.”
—Giants reliever Jack Taschner, on Lincecum. (Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times)
HE HAS A LARGER BRAIN THAN MOST MAMMALS
“Everybody’s looking at [CC] Sabathia and [A.J.] Burnett, not just us. We’ll see. The main concern is, are their arms going to be OK after this season?”
—Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, on his team’s interest in free agent pitchers.
“It’s very frustrating. We haven’t given up on this year, but we’re
definitely going to be better next year. That I can promise.”
“No way they should have given Robbie that contract. He’s the last guy who should have gotten a contract like that. They never gave a deal like that to Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams or Jorge Posada or Mariano Rivera with so much time to go before free agency… They picked the wrong guy.”
“Pedroia doesn’t have one-quarter the talent of Cano, but he’s outplaying him by a mile.”
—Anonymous Yankee (Jon Heyman, SI.com)
KNOWING THE YANKEES, THEY’LL MOVE HIM OFF SHORT JUST WHEN HIS DEFENSE THERE BECOMES COMPETENT
“I’ve never played anywhere else, so I don’t know where I would play. I’m pretty sure in Little League we moved around some, but I don’t remember where I played. I pitched sometimes.”
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter
“It was different for me. Shortstop was the best place for me because of my size and how I played. But for somebody like Derek, he could play first base, third base, left field. You don’t know until you try it.”
—Former shortstop Ozzie Smith
“If I’m shifted two steps toward third base and the ball goes up the
middle, people say I have no range to my left. That’s why those statistics aren’t accurate. You’re changing for every batter, sometimes with every pitch. You really can’t make one statistic for every shortstop. You have to go by what you see.”
—Jeter (Peter Abraham, The Journal News)
“We just thought that if we had a chance to move it forward we’d take advantage of it. They both epitomize the professionalism that we pride ourselves on and also are very talented guys. Their presence on the club speaks for itself.”
—Astros general manager Ed Wade, after signing Darin Erstad and Brian Moehler to contract extensions.
“He’s a member of the staff. What he does remains to be seen—that’s up to him to continue to put his best foot forward. There’s no promises, other than he gets paid on the first and fifteenth next year.”
—Wade, on Moehler.
“We knew going in the character, the work ethic, and professionalism that he’s shown throughout his entire career. With some of the struggles we’ve had with some of the other outfielders, with [Michael] Bourn struggling in the early stages of his career and Carlos [Lee] going down, I don’t know where we would be without Darin, from the standpoint of his playing ablility. From the
standpoint of his clubhouse presence, he fits perfectly with the blueprint that we tried to put together for quality guys in the club.”
—Wade (Krysten Oliphant, MLB.com)
IF MIGUEL HAD SIGNED WITH THE ASTROS, HE’D HAVE A CONTRACT EXTENSION BY NOW
“[Hillman] doesn’t like me, that’s how it’s been since spring training. I think he just doesn’t think about me. The thing is, I can play baseball. Maybe for him, I’m not that good playing for him. Maybe that’s how it’s been.”
—Royals catcher Miguel Olivo, on manager Trey Hillman.
“He throws guys out and Buck doesn’t. I also like his bat a little better, especially his power.”
—Anonymous scout, on Olivo.
“I’m lucky. I thank God I put up the numbers I put up however much I play. It’s hard for any player. I play every fourth day, every sixth day, every 16th day. It’s hard for any player. But when I’m in the lineup, I play my best.”
“In (Hillman’s) mind, or some coach’s mind, I can’t play. I don’t think they know I can play.”
“We hear it every time he says it. We can’t add a 10th slot (to
the lineup). We do every day with the lineup what we think is best for the battery and overall team. Nobody’s said anything to me or approached me with anything I haven’t heard. Whether it’s me or any other coach, if he feels like we’re not listening, he’d be mistaken.”
—Royals manager Trey Hillman
“I don’t know what happened. I think [Hillman] doesn’t like me sometimes. I don’t know. There’s no way. When I’m in there, I do my job. I try to do my best. Every time I go over there [to the coaches], I say something, but I think nobody listens to me. That’s what I think.”
—Olivo (Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star)
“I don’t trust anybody more than I trust him when it comes to stuff like that. Just to go down there and hear it from him. It’s something I needed to do, just to clear my mind. He said my ligament looked fine. That’s what I was afraid of… It was a big relief.”
—Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett on his visit with his doctor, Dr. James Andrews. (Seattle Times)
“I could honor Carmen Electra. I think she’s beautiful.”
—Yankees play-by-play man John Sterling, on Yankees pitcher Alfredo Aceves’ choice of Dennis Rodman’s number 99. (WCBS Radio)
“CC’s going to get his reward in terms of a paycheck. People are going to be tripping over themselves to get to this guy. Not only is he a phenomenal competitor, not only does he have three above-average pitches, he is one of the greatest teammates a guy can have.”
—Brewers manager Ned Yost (Peter Abraham, The LoHud Yankees Blog)
“Did we have a guy to second? One guy? I would say that’s probably not pretty good. Usually, when you get one guy to second, you will probably lose that game, unless you hit a lot of solo home runs.”
—White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
“I’m not going to say I will get the last laugh, because I will get fired from this job. Am I enjoying this? Yes, because he tried to make my life miserable. He did everything in his power to make my life go the wrong way, but he didn’t make me miserable, because I don’t believe him. Maybe if somebody else wrote that stuff about me, then I would put attention on it. And that’s what he wanted. He wanted attention.”
—White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on the resignation of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti this week. (Chris DeLuca, Chicago Sun-Times)
“It is certainly inappropriate to engage in any conversation with the fans during a game. You need to ignore it and respond in a way that doesn’t draw attention to yourself.”
—Royals general manager Dayton Moore, on Jose Guillen arguing with a fan.
“I understand that I’m hitting .250, and the fans are expecting a lot more than they’re seeing. But the word he said, trust me, anybody would want to go there.”
—Jose Guillen, on his behavior.(Hartford Courant)
“When you signed with the Marlins, I remember you had a lot of offers. You called me late at night and said what would you do? I said, don’t go to the Marlins, no way, you should go to the other teams, they’re not a contender. I woke up the next day and on Sportscenter, it said you had signed with the Marlins.”
—Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay, to Yankees broadcaster Al Leiter. (YES Network)
“That’s a stinking no-hitter that we all got cheated on.”
—Brewers manager Ned Yost, on CC Sabathia’s one-hitter; the Brewers petitioned the official scorer to reverse a hit call into an error on the pitcher. (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
“I ate the Green Monster. It tasted pretty nasty. It was pretty painful.”
—Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, on his dramatic catch of a Marlon Byrd fly ball this week. (Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.