TIME TO CROSS THE STREET
“It wasn’t yellow when I wore it.”
-Former Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, on the uniform he wore to celebrate the last game at Yankee Stadium yesterday.
“For the better part of my life, I didn’t believe in ghosts. After Games Four and Five of the 2001 World Series, I’m a true believer. Yankee Stadium is a baseball museum, with ghosts.”
-D’backs manager Bob Melvin
“In my first game at Yankee Stadium, I played right field. When I took my position for the first time, the right-field Bleacher Creatures were all waving at me. I fell into the trap. I waved back at them, thinking, ‘This isn’t so bad.’ As I did so, about 20,000 middle fingers shot back at me. Only in Yankee Stadium.”
–Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer
POUR ONE OUT FOR THE HOMIES THAT COULDN’T BE THERE
“It’s been a labor of love, obviously. I don’t need things, tchotchkes for my family. I have memories. And think of all the memories I have here.”
-Yankees play-by-play radio announcer John Sterling
“The one memory I have of Yankee Stadium is serving a suspension while with the Tigers in New York. I sat in the stands with my family, ate nachos, had a beer and watched the game. What a day.”
–Astros catcher Brad Ausmus
WHAT IS THIS GAME YOU SPEAK OF, ‘FOOTBALL’?
“Since the moment I turned pro, I wanted to match my win total to the number on my jersey. It took me 10 years, but I finally got there.”
-Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka
“He’s on a pace to drive in about 90 runs, he plays a Gold Glove-caliber third base, and he hits right in the middle of our lineup. He [only] went from slow to slower.”
-Red Sox manager Terry Francona on Mike Lowell‘s injury. (Boston Globe)
SOMEONE POUR US A GLASS OF WHAT HE’S DRINKING
“I frankly wanted to go to Minnesota. The Cubs would have had a lot of fans there as well. Wherever the Cubs go, that (phenomenon) takes place. But Minnesota was out. We had no choice. Between the rain and the domes in use, we had no choice. We couldn’t send them out to the West Coast. The (Astros) had to be in Florida (on Tuesday night). If I sent them to Dodger Stadium or Seattle, they would have played a doubleheader Monday, then flown all night to Miami. People can sit around and second-guess. But as I go back through my notes, there were no other viable alternatives. I couldn’t send them somewhere where it was going to rain.”
-MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
“To require players like Lance Berkman to drive at 4:00 a.m. (Sunday) from San Marcos back to Houston to catch an (10) a.m. flight to Milwaukee is outrageous. Major League Baseball endangered the lives of the team and their families. Some things are more important than baseball and money.”
-Texas state senator John Whitmore
“The TV ratings are startling-we need to get into that. The attendance is not that bad, given their team. They’re averaging almost 30,000 a game. I have faith that the Washington franchise is going to be a great franchise. They need to be competitive. They know that. Ted Lerner knows that.”
-Selig, on the the state of the Nationals.
“I still have great affection for both of those gentlemen. I must tell you that. But I’m proud of how we reacted to it, really proud. We’ve got the toughest testing program in sports. Baseball has addressed the problem and for the most part has solved it. We’ll continue to work hard, do things with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. … Historically, it didn’t produce the attendance boost that everyone said. I have the attendance from every year going back to 1901. People say, ‘The owners wanted to do this.’ But you know, in 1998 and ’99, attendance actually dropped a little bit. We’re at numbers now that you wouldn’t have dreamed about 10 years ago.”
-Selig, on Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire and the record chase of the ’90s. (Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com)
MYSTERY OF THE TERRIBLE FIRST-HALF OPS
“Zero chance of that. I will never change. I will hit like this for the rest of my life, and I’ll never be able to tell you why. Whatever I change, it has to be mental. It’s not like I get out of shape for three months of the season. It has nothing to do with seeing the pitches, the mechanics of my swing, nothing physically. And I don’t know mentally what to change. Obviously, it has to change.”
–Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, on his first-half struggles.
“I’m not going to play every game in spring training. I’m not going to start hitting in November. I’m not doing it because I know for a fact that’s not it. If I thought it was, I’d do it. I don’t know if my expectations are so high at the beginning that, if I do start slow, I try harder to make up for it. I don’t know.”
“I’m going to sit down this winter and think about it, and I’ll let you know if I figure something out.”
-LaRoche (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
PRAY THIS TIME HE MEANS AMPHETAMINES, REDS FANS
“You don’t like too many free agents because it’s hard to replace everybody. I’ve never been on a team that had this many free agents.”
-Baker, on the probable turnover on his ballclub.
“What you want is some light at the end of the tunnel. What you want is some hope-real hope, not manufactured or fake hope.”
-Baker (Justice B. Hill, MLB.com)
CAN THE INDIANS AND TIGERS PLAY AN EXHIBITION SERIES IN OCTOBER?
“Just because he’s upset somebody else hit a home run, don’t take it out on me. Anytime you do that, we’re going to have problems, before the game, after the game, whatever you want to do.”
-Tigers DH Gary Sheffield, on his conflict with the Indians.
“His act is tired. All that macho, throwing your equipment off. All this stuff. Trust me, he doesn’t want any of this. Trust me. If he does, just let me know, man to man, and I guarantee he wouldn’t want any more.”
-Sheffield on Indians catcher Victor Martinez
“Three strikes and you’re out. And if it’s number four, it gets more violent. Trust me.”
-Sheffield (Yahoo! Sports)
“Well, the difference is huge. When I played baseball, I had all the comforts and all the success. I was in a completely different world… Here in jail, it’s the complete opposite; you begin to see what suffering can be from a young age.”
-Former major leaguer Ugueth Urbina, on imprisonment. (ESPN Deportes)
“When all this stuff was going down with Manny, I remember walking in the clubhouse, talking to a couple of guys, and I got one response that just threw me for a loop, and I said, ‘Guys, how bad is it?’ I knew it was bad, and I just said, ‘How bad is it?’ And all I heard, what they told me, was, ‘Carl Everett.’ And I lived that nightmare… and when I heard that, I said, ‘OK, I know exactly what’s going on, I can’t believe it got that bad.'”
-Former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, on the Manny Ramirez situation. (Chad Finn, Boston Globe)
“In a short series you’ve gotta go with the hot hand. I’ll do anything to help the team. Starting or relieving, I’ll do anything I can to help.”
–Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez, being broad-minded about his role. (John Harper, New York Daily News)
“Tony’s won a lot of baseball games. He writes the lineup and I’m not in it. That’s fine. There’s no argument. That’s his opinion and he’s the manager. Last year, I compounded the problem by not accepting the role and not being ready. This year, I’ve sucked it up and made sure I’m ready if I’m not in there. Now I’m to the point where I have to look out for my career as well. It’s been two years. I didn’t play well last year but I thought I’d done my part this year. But I don’t see (increased playing time) happening.”
–Cardinals infielder Adam Kennedy, on his lot with the Cardinals with a year left on his three-year deal. (Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“If I can’t pitch, I guess it’ll be time to find reality, find a 9-to-5 job in the real world. I love the game. If I’m not playing it, I watch it. I’m one of the few guys I know who goes home in October and watches playoff games-that’s how much I love this game.”
–Mariners lefty Erik Bedard on surgery to his labrum that will cause him to miss most of the 2009 season. (Larry Larue, The News-Tribune)
“I look at the video. I see what they’re calling as strikes. When [Angels veterans] get up there, they’re balls. But when young guys get up there, they’re strikes. Pitches six, seven inches outside the plate [are strikes], that’s not fair. I said, ‘Those pitches are too far outside, clean it up.’ And he tossed me.”
–Rangers infielder Ramon Vazquez, on the strike zone in his team’s series against the Angels. (Yahoo! Sports)
“I was texting in the back seat, and before you know it we’re sitting on the curb and it’s like, what’s going on right now? It was kind of cold and we’re sitting there, and I was just trying to get to the hotel to get some rest. I guess we fit the description pretty good-we’re in Pittsburgh, young, African-American driver, nice car. It was embarrassing.”
–Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, after Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan gave Martin and teammates Joe Beimel and Delwyn Young a ride from the stadium to their hotel, and they were pulled over for having excessively tinted windows.
“The fans will say, ‘You suck.’ I will say, ‘See you next year.'”
-Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, on finishing out the regular season in Boston this week. (Peter Abraham, The Journal News)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.