THERE IS SOME QUESTION AS TO WHICH TEAM DAVEY IS EVEN COACHING
“To see them pull off two great wins against the Dominicans, I was real proud of them.”
-Team USA manager Davey Johnson, on the Netherlands squad.
“I know them real well. There’s some new players, but there’s still a lot of the same guys that I had.”
–Johnson, on his past coaching experience with the Netherlands.
“Given the economy, given that we expanded into four international venues for the first round-and obviously had some trepidation about doing that for the first time-we could not be happier with how things have broken.”
-MLB executive Bob DuPuy, on the World Baseball Classic.
“Embarrassment is the only word that comes to mind. It is unacceptable. You go out and play like that, you get what you get.”
-Team USA outfielder Adam Dunn, after losing to Puerto Rico on Sunday.
“From a ratings standpoint, from an attendance standpoint, and more importantly from an acceptance standpoint … it really is doing everything we hoped it would do.”
THE SWEET NECTAR OF FRIENDSHIP
“You get to know guys playing against them, as players. But one of the good things about something like this is you get an opportunity to put personalities with the players.”
–Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on his growing romance with Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.
“I like to keep it loose and have fun. I think [Jeter] kind of laughs at me the whole time. He probably thinks I’m crazy.”
–Pedroia, that little scamp.
JOHN DANKS CAME TO HIM IN HIS DREAMS
“Since when have we followed a mainstream course? Definitely he could play in the big leagues right now. At the end of [spring] are we going to decide that this is his time? That remains to be seen. We have to see how it all fits together. It may not be as simple as Player X is better than Player Y.”
–White Sox general manager Kenny Williams
“I would rather [groom young] starting pitchers by first giving them a taste of the [major league] bullpen. Three-inning stints in the bullpen as opposed to right-out-of-the box responsibility for six innings.”
“They have to put the work in. Fortunately none of them is afraid of hard work. They will be as successful as the amount of work they put in, the amount of dedication they have. But they certainly are [top prospects], and there are more beyond that back on our [minor league] fields. The difficult part is, like last year, to develop the younger core but at the same time win. That’s tricky. I would have liked to have seen, had we been healthy, what we could have done in the playoffs.”
–Williams, on his farm system.
“What I was trying to explain to everyone after the ’06 season, was that we were going to do some things that were going to make people uncomfortable. But they were necessary if you were going to have any chance at sustained success.”
–Williams (Dave Van Dyck, Chicago Tribune)
HE IS ALSO WILLING TO FULFILL THE BATBOY DUTIES
“Trust me, I would love to catch, but I can play another position, and I’m willing to play another position, because I’m a player and I love to play. That’s the most important thing for me. I’m a winner. I love playing this game. I would love to be on a team and help it win. Whatever it takes to win ballgames, I’d do anything.”
-Free agent Ivan Rodriguez
“I think Ivan is going to be ready to do whatever it takes to help a team-be it behind the plate, be it first base, be it third base if he needs to. I think he’s going to be willing to do that.”
–Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo, on Ivan Rodriguez.
“Who do you want me to get rid of, [Delmon] Young, [Michael] Cuddyer, [Carlos] Gomez, [Denard] Span, or [Jason] Kubel? Which one?”
–Twins general manager Bill Smith, on saying no to Barry Bonds on the Twins.
“I said that [outfield] is one area of strength and depth on our club, and we’re going to go with the guys we’ve got.”
–Smith, on what he told Bonds’ agent.
HE WOULD SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY AT THIS POINT
“Nobody hits .220 in spring training as a team. Come on. Two hundred? Are you kidding me? I don’t care if it’s spring training. I don’t care what it is, .220 is .220.”
“We can’t go one stinking game without making an error, and they’re easy errors.”
–Cooper (Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle)
HE ALSO TOLD ME THAT IF I EVER SPOKE CANDIDLY TO THE MEDIA AGAIN, THAT HE WOULD EAT MY SPLEEN
“A big thrill for me. I really enjoyed that. I had a nice, long talk with him. We compared notes about what we do, how we do it, how many meetings we have. He’s a brilliant guy, so down-to-earth.”
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on his outing with Bill Belichick and Tony La Russa.
“He seems to have that star-like [Tom] Brady-but he seems to have some dirtballs that really play the game right. They’re winners, you know? He seems to know how to get those guys. I thought that was very interesting.”
–Leyland, on Belichick’s approach in the NFL.
“We were talking about the closer being like the field-goal kicker. With five seconds remaining, you’ve got your kicker. Most of the time, they make them, if you’ve got a real good one. The closer, you’re holding your [breath] for three outs in the ninth inning.”
–Leyland (Jon Paul Morosi, Detroit Free Press)
“When I went through tough times, he knew that I had trouble sleeping, so he would call me early in the morning, when he knew I’d be awake, and he’d say ‘Look, don’t worry about it, man. You’re going to do good today.'”
-Red Sox infielder Julio Lugo, on Manny Ramirez. (Gayle Fee, Boston Herald)
“When you can walk in a locker room and not even have to look at a lineup, that’s a feeling of comfort. All you have to worry about is your routine. For some reason we get it into our head that if we’re moving from the three hole to the four hole or the four hole to the five hole, you just change your personality. You don’t try to do it. It just automatically happens.”
–Rangers outfielder Marlon Byrd, on consistency in the team’s lineup. (Anthony Andro, Fort-Worth Star-Telegram)
“I just like the way they added depth and filled their needs without spending $423 million.”
–Anonymous scout, on the Red Sox offseason. (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)
“It was tough, what I went through. It was something that I never expected. I was looking for years. I wasn’t really looking for tons of money, like people said on the news. I was looking for years. It really surprised me. It hurt. But I was fine. In many ways, I’m OK. I just want to play the game and still do my things.”
–Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu, on not garnering a multiyear contract in the offseason. (Ken Davidoff, Newsday)
“I knew Cuba was a good team, but particularly there was nothing I was too worried about. While I was doing the warming up, did I look so fierce? I thought I had a smile on my face, did I not?”
-Team Japan starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, on striking out eight in his team’s victory over Cuba on Sunday. (ESPN.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.