WE CAN ONLY HOPE HE’LL BE THROWN OUT OF HIS LAST GAME
“If I weren’t announcing this right now, I’d be wanting to manage again somewhere. But it’s time to go ahead and say it. I don’t think I’d ever give up the idea of managing, unless I could say, ‘That’s it,’ and that’s what I’m saying, is that it’s it.”
–Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, announcing his plan to retire after the 2010 campaign.
“I don’t want to announce my retirement and have a day here and a day there. This gives me a chance to say goodbye to the writers, the clubhouse guys, the grounds-crew guys that I’ve known forever, who have given us time on the field when they didn’t have to with early workouts. Guys you meet in the game over 50 years are pretty precious.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it, when he walks away. He’s been like my favorite granddad. He’s been the one constant who has been here throughout the whole entire run. It would be culture shock for me to play for another guy.”
-Braves third baseman Chipper Jones
“It’s stressful. It really is. But at the same time, it’s the most fun you could possibly have. Being able to stay connected is the biggest thing for me. I’m not going to miss the uniform or anything. I’ll be around it enough while being involved in the minor leagues a little bit, and a little up here.”
-Cox (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
MAYBE YOU CAN JUST CALL TAMPA BAY
“We’ve done the best job we can do under the circumstances in the situation we’ve been given. At the end of the day, if that’s not good enough, that’s not good enough. But until those two factors change, the next guy sitting in this role, whether that’s five years from now or 10 years from now, is going to be faced with the same problem: How do you get by the Red Sox and the Yankees?”
–Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi
“Let me make this clear-it doesn’t matter if J.P. Ricciardi is the GM, or Joe Blow is the GM. Two years from now, five years from now, seven years from now, the reality that we face in Toronto is the division is not going to change. The Red Sox and Yankees are not going away. If the Yankees want to, they can take their payroll to $300 million.”
“The biggest thing that people forget is that when Toronto won the World Series, they had the highest payroll in baseball. There’s a direct equivalent to that. If we’re going to play in the big man’s division, and we’re not going to spend that money, it’s going to be really hard for us to compete with those teams.”
“I don’t wake up every day and say, ‘Oh my God, I’m holding on.’ That’s working in fear, and I’ve never done anything in fear. I’m proud of what we’ve done here, and if it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. There’s too many good things going on here that we made good decisions on to shake my confidence.”
“Let’s say the value of our franchise is $500 million. The Yankees spent that on three players last off-season. So it doesn’t matter who sits in my role, the division is not going to change, that’s the reality.”
I HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE TO BLAME
“I’m going to hold myself accountable. I haven’t driven in as many runs as I should have. Most of it has to be put on [the players]. We’re the ones out there who are playing.”
–Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, on the firing of his manager, Cecil Cooper.
“You never want to see your manager get fired. He gave it his all. We fought for him for two years, and he fought for us for two years. It’s a business and a sport at the same time. Things like that happen, and you have move forward from there.”
-Astros center fielder Michael Bourn, on Cooper’s departure.
“Part of our problem is that we’ve become accustomed to winning, this franchise has. But isn’t it true that almost every college team, high school team, pro team, they go through cycles. Nobody wins all the time.”
-Astros owner Drayton McLane, on the team’s recent struggles (as in, those encompassing the last several seasons).
“When I look back, I’m certainly not proud of this year I’ve had. Cecil Cooper is a good guy and a very decent man and somebody who’s been here a while and experienced a lot of success in this organization. He was here when we went to the World Series. He’s been around a long time. It’s like a loss-you feel it. When I heard the news on the radio coming to the park, I was kind of shocked and definitely saddened and don’t feel good about it.”
-Astros first baseman Lance Berkman (Brian McTaggert, MLB.com)
TERRY FRANCONA WROTE A NICE THANK-YOU TO RON WASHINGTON AFTER THIS WEEKEND
“We did take the loss, but I think that my pitching was not completely bad.”
-Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, on his seven-inning, one-run performance over the weekend.
“We are real encouraged. It’s not going to change the loss for us, but any day your starter pitches well-especially him-it makes the glass look a little more full.”
-Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Dice-K’s performance. (Mark Herrmann, Newsday)
“Their manager’s a cool customer, so it doesn’t really surprise. If I said I wasn’t surprised that they’d won 11 out of 13, I’d be lying. But it doesn’t surprise me that they’re doing well. They’re right there every year. They always show up. They’re a very impressive organization. I don’t think they’ve really gotten the credit they deserve.”
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on the Twins. (Kelly Thesier, MLB.com)
“We’ve got some guys here who know all about sacrifice. Some have to be taught, and I hope the guys that know about it are teaching some of the other guys. If not, that’s where your coaching staff has to step up. But you’re not getting anywhere in life, period, if you don’t understand that the work has to be put in.”
–White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, on his team. (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Dunn was the most misunderstood player I have heard about in recent memory. The way he was misconstrued was almost unbelievable. He plays banged up. He’d go out there 162 games if you’d let him… He’s not a cheerleader, but if there is still such a thing as a leader by example in this game, he is it. He’s a pillar in the clubhouse. He really wants to learn to be a good first baseman.”
–Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, on slugger Adam Dunn. (Thomas Boswell, Washington Post)
“Andorra is a winter playground for the wealthy and powerful residents of Europe, of which, God willing, Aroldis will be as well. Given all our options it became the perfect choice. He even has health insurance, life insurance, and a pension all before he even signs his first major league contract. We are very proud of this.”
-Agent Edwin Mejia, representative of former Cuban national and pitcher Aroldis Chapman, on the prospect’s petition to become an MLB free agent as an Andorran. (Jorge Arangure Jr., ESPN.com)
“He was raised in a Christian home. He believes that God don’t make mistakes. … And if that door in Chicago closes for him, he thinks another one will open. It always does.”
–Charlena Rector, Milton Bradley‘s mom on her son’s struggles in Chicago. (David Haugh, Chicago Tribune)
“Let’s face it, if you don’t hit a lot of home runs, strikeouts are a big deal. If you’re hitting 40 homers like Reynolds, it doesn’t really matter.”
–Dodgers pinch-hitter Jim Thome, on Mark Reynolds‘ season. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)
“A guy like Cy Young, who has an award named after him, that’s pretty special. Just keep on truckin’, you know? That’s what I tell these other guys. You never know what’s going to happen as long as you work hard and come to the ballpark every day and do your best.”
–Rangers reliever Eddie Guardado, on possibly retiring with 906 career appearances, which would tie him with Cy Young for 21st on the all-time list. (Jeff Wilson, Fort-Worth Star Telegram)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.