HE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE CYCLED STEROIDS DURING NEGOTIATIONS
“Once I reached the decision that I didn’t want to chair the next round of negotiations, there’s a clock that relates to the bargaining. And it was important to step down, have the players consider what to do next, name new leadership, and have that individual develop the negotiating strategy with the involvement of all the players. And that takes a while. I don’t know if it’s fair to say I’ve lost my taste for it. It’s fair to say I’ve done it for a very long time. My conclusion is it’s better for me to see what else I can do… I think it will be good for everybody.”
–Donald Fehr, Director of the MLBPA, announcing his plans for stepping down last week.
“Kruk, what I saw last night, it just upset me. He said he was mad about the 1994 World Series being canceled. Well, as I recall, Tom Glavine was running those negotiations. And if he would have wanted to fold, we would have, but we wouldn’t have the things we currently have if we would have folded in ’94. Donald has always done what the players asked.”
–Rays reliever Joe Nelson, reacting to John Kruk‘s bashing of Donald Fehr on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight
“Donald never showed up and injected anybody. He fought for our rights. If enough guys would have shown up to the meetings and said, ‘That’s it, we’re steroids testing,’ Donald would have pushed for that and it would have been accepted by everybody.”
–Nelson, on Fehr.
“I think people understand it. It’s our job as guys that have been through it to let them know that the guys before me-like my dad-paved the way for these guys to be afforded some of the things they’ve been afforded. Without him, there wouldn’t be any of this. We’ve been fortunate enough over the last 15 years not to have any stoppages. Hopefully, we can continue to not have stoppages.”
–Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., on Fehr’s impact on the game.
“And the great thing about what he does, he gives you the pros and cons and represents both sides at those meetings. ‘If we vote for this, this will be the positive side. But if we lose, this will be the negative side.’ And the players are the ones who decide and push for what direction they want him to go. The guys that I’ve seen or heard come out and say stuff, they’re either currently not playing, or they weren’t at those meetings and they don’t know how the process goes, because Donald always gives you both sides of the equation.”
–Nelson (Bill Chastain, MLB.com)
MAYBE ADD THE DEVIL BACK TO THE NAME?
“As we were planning for the season, we circled this series as one of the most compelling of the year. It’s a rare privilege to host a rematch of the World Series, especially against a team with local connections. Based on all the information we had, we projected full houses. It’s a huge miss.”
-Rays president Matt Silverman, on the lack of drawing power exhibited by the Rays-Phillies series this week.
“Quite frankly, we don’t know what to attribute it to, but it’s not just the economy. It’s bewildering. There seems to be great affection for the team and excitement for the ’09 campaign, but it’s not showing up at the gate at all.”
“I don’t know how it might have drawn at other locales within Tampa Bay, but a matchup of World Series teams would clearly have drawn a good deal better in every other baseball market.”
–Silverman (Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times)
THAT’S WEIRD, WHEN SOMEONE CALLS ME THAT I JUST CRY
“The last time someone called me a piece of shit I tore my ACL. So, I mean, I’ve learned how to deal with that. I’m fine. You know, it’s Lou Piniella. To me, Lou Piniella is somebody. If it’s a motivating tactic and he’s taking a different switch since people are saying he didn’t have fire, then I understand. I take a lot of heed in what he has to say. It matters. I take it to heart and I’m better for it.”
–Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley, on an argument with manager Lou Piniella that led to him leaving the ballpark during a game.
“This isn’t me. I’ve always excelled at playing baseball, and to come here and suck like I have, it’s just not a good feeling. And there’s really not one guy who I can sit and talk to. I’ve been on teams where I have guys I know, or somebody I can just vent to.”
“We just don’t have that bond. ‘D-Lee’ is cool. He’s quiet. But things change. I had a good rapport with [fired hitting coach Gerald Perry]. I trusted Gerald and I could talk to him, and he’s gone. I think I clicked with [ex-Cub outfielder Joey] Gathright, and he’s gone. So you just kind of feel like you’re on an island, and trying to stay afloat.”
–Bradley, on not clicking with his teammates.
“The teammates, they’re there and they say all the right things. But it’s just [small talk].”
“Like I’ve said, I don’t have the same set of rules as other people. I’ve committed mistakes in my past to where you don’t get the leeway other guys might get. To a certain extent, I guess that’s fair.”
–Bradley (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)
LOU, THAT WASN’T DOPE, IT WAS OREGANO MIXED WITH HONEY
“Look, I have smoked dope one time in my life. And it didn’t do a damn thing for me, and I never tried it again. I’m fortunate because of that. A lot of people do. You can even buy it in California from a pharmacy. I do know young people make mistakes at times and learn from mistakes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life personally, and I’ve learned from them.”
-Cubs manager Lou Piniella, on reports that Cubs catcher Geovany Soto tested positive for marijuana during the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m sure it’s already getting around the ballpark in Brevard County. All I’ll say is it was not a performance-enhancing drug. We all know the issue Jeremy has had in the past. He obviously has a very sensitive issue he has to overcome. This is all about Jeremy now. This is a problem that goes beyond his career. It’s more important to get the person fixed. Jeremy is destroyed by this.”
–Jeremy Jeffress‘ agent Josh Kusnick, on his client getting suspended 100 games for his second drug-related infraction.
“He knows what he did is wrong and is incredibly remorseful. We’re hoping people support him during this difficult time.”
–Kusnick (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
THE MOST DIPLOMATIC FORM OF SUCKING
“My fastball is probably better than I give it credit for. I probably didn’t establish enough fastballs. The intensity of the game will show down the road. And maybe those numbers go up, but it’s irrelevant if the numbers go up and my ball goes up. I know what in-game adjustments I have to make. I’m astute on one thing. This type of game sticks in my memory.”
–Red Sox starter John Smoltz, after his season debut this Thursday against the Nationals.
“What I feared most was wanting to do so well.”
“I can’t be disappointed. I lost a little rhythm there in the first inning, just like I did three other times in my career when I came back from a long layoff. I just tried to slow down as much as I could, but I have to give them credit, they battled me, seven-, eight-, nine-pitch at-bats. I made a bad pitch in each of those at-bats to give up a hit, but I’m very encouraged with how good I can be, the way I felt, and with everything going forward.”
–Smoltz (Ted Keith, SI.com)
“That’s on him, man. I told him I could play. That’s all his decision. I haven’t really talked to him. When he told me I wasn’t playing, that was the extent of it.”
–Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on sitting out the first two games of this weekend’s Subway Series with the flu. (Ben Shpigel, The New York Times)
“For everybody that said we should have traded Juan Pierre last winter or at the start of the season, where would we be without Juan Pierre now?”
–Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)
“I don’t think the intention was to get him for a couple months and then trade him.”
–Indians starter Cliff Lee, on his club dealing Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals for reliever Chris Perez and a PTBNL. (USA Today)
“The efficiency just isn’t there. To get deep into games, we need more first-pitch contact, more pitching ahead and burying guys instead of nibbling and picking. It’s not the inability to throw strikes, because he shows the ability repeatedly to do it in the bullpen. What he gives you that’s a positive is the effort in the bullpen, the intensity. Things are better there, so you don’t want to pull the plug too quickly. But you do want to see results.”
–Pirates general manager Neil Huntington, on the struggles of Ian Snell. (Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“It’s driving me crazy. Every single time I get to the hotel room or I’m at the house and it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, I’m irritated because I can’t play the guitar. I just can’t do it, because it gets numb.”
–Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, on not being able to play the guitar because of his carpal-tunnel syndrome. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
“It’s impossible to prove that. Please analyze it among yourselves. I cannot.”
-Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, after he was asked if he was more locked in at the plate than ever before. (Art Thiel, SeattlePI.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.