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PEOPLE SKILLS


"I can’t be satisfied with coming back to the Pirates and being a bench
guy, not after what I did last season. I think the Pirates have to realize
that. I’m not asking the Pirates to give me anything. I feel you should
earn everything you get in this game. I feel I earned the right field job
after what I did last year."

John Vander Wal, Pirates outfielder, who hit .299/.410/.563 last year,
requesting a trade after the team signed right fielder Derek Bell
(.266/.348/.425) to a $5-million contract


"We’ve talked extensively about how he fits in and what he is to this team.
But it still bothers him to some degree that we’ve signed a player who is
going to improve the club and…he feels could take playing time away from
him."

Cam Bonifay, Pirates GM, on Vander Wal’s request

SOSA RUMOR TRAINING OPENS


"I’m gonna play it out. I’m not an agent."

Sammy Sosa, Cubs outfielder, on his intent to play out the final year of
his contract


"I don’t think he’ll let the contract get in the way of his performance."

Don Baylor, Cubs manager


"I said it this year again. I’m staying here. If I’m not here, I will be in
Japan."

— Sosa, joking with fans

HE’S GOT THE FLAVOR


"He’s an RBI machine, hits for average, power. He’s going to bring that
added flavor that the Red Sox haven’t seen for a long time. "

Trot Nixon, Red Sox outfielder, on the team’s signing of outfielder
Manny Ramirez

TRUE AND FALSE


"Paul proved last season that when he stays healthy, he can be successful.
He’s a very versatile pitcher for us, pitching both in the rotation and out
of the bullpen and we’re happy to get this worked out."

Pat Gillick, Mariners GM, on signing Paul Abbott to a one-year,
$1.7-million contract


"David’s versatility has been very important to us the last few years. He
has played great defense for us at second and at third, and we are happy to
get him signed."

— Gillick, on signing infielder David Bell

IT HURTS TO BE A MARLINS FAN


"I wasn’t even paying attention to [Billy the Marlin]. Then suddenly one of
these projectiles came out and landed in front of a little kid and I said,
‘Wow, if that would have hit that kid it would have killed him.’"

Saul Shechter, who is suing the Florida Marlins, claiming just after
that traumatic scene he was hit by the next T-shirt, suffering permanent
eye damage


"The T-shirt was wadded up so tightly, and wrapped in duct tape, that it
ceased to be a shirt and was more akin to the baseball itself."

Peter Bober, Shecter’s lawyer

THE SINGULAR CASE OF WELLINGTON DE PAULA


"Major league baseball will not tolerate the practice of using false birth
certificates or identities. We are committed to investigating dishonest
practices and to taking appropriate measures when necessary to discourage
such practices."

Rafael Oscar Perez, manager of baseball’s office in Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic, on voiding two contracts


"We cooperated fully with Major League Baseball in its investigation into
this matter and accept the decision."

Frank Wren, Braves assistant GM, on baseball’s ruling on Junior
Alexander Felix Medina
, a 23-year-old right-hander who had signed as
Wellington De Paula, a 16-year-old


"The use of identical birth certificates obviously was a tip-off. There’s
nothing we can do about it."

Jay Alves, Rockies spokesman, on baseball’s ruling on Jose Ramon Canela
Marte
, a 19-year old left-hander who had also used the name and birth
certificate of Wellington De Paula

THE REST


"There’s no downside to this – no termination pay, no guarantees. If we get
to the end of spring training and he looks like he’s the same guy we saw in
Louisville last year, he gets released and he goes home and he plays
football and we go and do our thing."

Jim Bowden, Reds GM, on signing outfielder Deion Sanders to
a (later voided) contract for 2001


"It wasn’t that I ever doubted my ability, but there were times when I
thought I might as well go back home and start teaching or something. Maybe
something like this will give hope to other guys who are going through the
same thing I did."

Todd Walker, Rockies infielder, on signing a three-year deal after
spending much of last year in Tom Kelly‘s Triple-A doghouse


"That’s the only thing that keeps me going, the fact that I can possibly
come back to the East Coast,"

Mo Vaughn, Angels infielder


"…one of the great things about this country is that if you give it
enough time, entrepreneurial spirit and behavior can produce some dramatic
results. If we went back 10 or 12 years and tried to figure out what the
terrible, no-hope franchises were, they would be Cleveland, Atlanta,
Seattle and San Francisco, among others. Needless to say, their fortunes
have changed a little bit."

Donald Fehr, MLBPA head, on commissioner Bud Selig‘s
concerns about financial disparity


"This year in spring training we don’t have to have tryouts like we did in
the past. We can focus on making people better, without worrying about
who’s going to be in left field, who’s going to be in right field, who’s
going to do this and that."

— Tom Kelly, Twins manager

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