I WAS AT THE GYM-WHAT BAD COULD HAPPEN TO ME THERE?
“The gyms you worked out back in the day, it was readily available. Guys at gyms talked about it. I believe it was the winter of ’89 into ’90, I was given a couple weeks’ worth. I tried it, never thought anything of it, just moved on from it. As far as using it on a consistent basis, the winter of ’93/’94. I did it on health purposes. If you look at my career in ’93, ’94, ’95, ’96, I was a walking MASH unit.”
–Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire, on his reasons for using anabolic steroids.
“I was given this gift by the man upstairs. My track record as far as hitting home runs, my first at-bat in Little League was a home run, they still talk about the home runs in high school, they still talk about the home runs in Legion, they still talk about the home runs I hit in college, I led the nation in home runs. They still talk about the home runs I hit in the minor leagues.”
-McGwire, in an interview with Bob Costas of MLB Network.
“We agreed to not talk about the past. And it was not enjoyable to do that, Bob. Let me tell you right now, sitting up there and listening to the Hooten family behind me and the other families behind me that lost their loved ones, and every time I kept on saying, ‘I’m not talking about the past,’ I hear these moans. It was killing me. It was absolutely killing my heart. But I had to do what I had to do to protect myself, to protect my family and to protect my friends. Anybody who was in my shoes that had those scenarios set out in front of them would have done the same exact thing.”
“I would have loved drug testing when I played.”
SOMEONE GOT A FUN NEW TOY!
“How cool is this? Words cannot describe how excited we are to get the season started.”
–Tom Ricketts, the Cubs‘ chairman, at the annual Cubs fan convention.
“They’re fans, they love the Cubs. That’s good. … The Ricketts family, from what I heard, they love the Cubs. It’s just like any other fans. I know they will do anything to help this team to win everything.”
-Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano
“I hope next year at this time, everyone’s just as happy as they are today, and that we’ve … done something to earn that enthusiasm and respect.”
-Cubs owner Laura Ricketts, addressing the fans.
“I saw Geo today and I hadn’t seen him since the end of the season. I said, ‘Boy, you look like you’re in great shape.’ He said, ‘We’re not having this not winning again.’ It wasn’t, ‘Look at how hard I worked.’ The first comment was that he was ticked off that we didn’t win. I think that will be the attitude.”
-Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on his talk with catcher Geovany Soto.
“The fact is that our goal is to have the best facilities in baseball when it comes to spring training. What’s happened in the last few years is other teams have passed us-they’ve leapfrogged us in terms of what kind of facilities they have.”
-Tom Ricketts, discussing the club’s spring training facilities in Arizona.
“After today, I don’t think you’ll see a lot of us in the media.”
-Cubs owner Todd Ricketts
“The questions were tough. You know what happens? When you heighten expectations and you don’t meet them, people get disappointed. This wouldn’t have happened a few years back. A second-place finish would’ve been met with a lot of enthusiasm. Here, it’s been met with disappointment.”
-Cubs manager Lou Piniella on the team’s lack of success last season.
TRAILER PARK BOYS
“He’s succeeded in doing that. He has much more power than I had at his age. I wasn’t really a guy who hit the gym much. He hits for average, is consistent, is left-handed, and Canadian. What’s not to like?”
-Former MLB outfielder Larry Walker, on Justin Morneau.
“The commissioner sent me a letter of apology. He said he couldn’t promise that it would be on TV every year, but he promised that there would always be a singer.”
–Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, on an incident in which the Canadian national anthem wasn’t sung before the All-Star Game.
“I don’t watch his games, don’t know what he’s doing wrong. I work on his head and tell him to hit the ball from left center to right center. You never get of a slump with a bloop single the other way or by pulling a homer down the line.”
“The bad news is that I played 9 ½ years at Coors Field. The good news I did it all on pancakes and Spaghetti-Os.”
THEN I GOT ON THE PHONE AND TOLD MY ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER TO MAKE A FOOL OF HIMSELF
“We spoke on Tuesday and he told me about the diagnosis. I said, ‘OK, as long as it follows the protocol,’ and I wished him well with everything in general. I told him it has to follow the protocol.”
–Mets general manager Omar Minaya clearing up points of confusion regarding Carlos Beltran getting arthroscopic knee surgery from Dr. David Steadman this week.
“Our office has gone out of its way to cooperate with the Mets. It’s hard for me to believe that a world-renowned knee surgeon operating on a world-class, highly paid athlete would operate on him without the team’s consent.”
-Carlos Beltran’s agent Scott Boras
“We’re reserving our rights. Where it goes from here, we’re not sure.”
-Mets assistant general manager John Ricco
“That has to be sorted out between the doctors first. That’s the protocol.”
-Minaya, on whether he gave his consent for the surgery.
“I can’t imagine another club doing something like that. If they don’t trust Omar, what does that say about the state of their organization?”
–Anonymous rival executive on the Mets letting John Ricco handle the conference call for the Beltran issue. (John Harper, New York Daily News)
GET THAT MONEY, SON
“Once they guaranteed a fourth year, both sides assumed it was going to get done, because we had made it clear all along that we were trying to do as well as we can, and there was not going to be a hometown discount. We wanted to do a deal that was market-fair. Any time you can set someone up for life, money-wise, you do that deal, you don’t pass.”
–Matt Sosnick, Josh Johnson‘s agent, on the $39 million dollar contract his client signed with the Marlins this week.
“If you’re going to give somebody a long-term deal, I think this guy has all the qualities. He’s a worker, he’s a quality guy, and what he does on the mound every five days doesn’t hurt him, either. He’s a good teammate, a good person and a good-character worker. He’s got all those, and I don’t think we went wrong there.”
-Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on his starting pitcher.
“I think in our case, it was sort of a no-brainer. It got to a point where the money was too good, and the risk-to-reward was such that $39 million is a lot of money, and he’s going to be a free agent at 29, and it just made sense for us.”
-Sosnick (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“If somebody would have told us, particularly me, having lived the work stoppages of ’72, ’73, ’81, ’84, ’85, ’90, and ’94, that we would have 16 years of labor peace with the players and the umpires, I’d have said they would be crazy. This has been good. That’s why the sport has grown. I don’t think anyone realized the damage we were doing to the sport. People were tired of reading and hearing that stuff every day.”
-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig officially signing a labor agreement with the umpires this week. (Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com)
“It’s weird, I feel like a 12-year-old. I have a lot of energy. I’m kind of wired all day. I’ve got a little one now, and it’s helped me at home. I give mama some rest. I’m active the whole day. I used to be a little sluggish – like ‘I want to take a nap.’ Now I feel great and I just want to put myself in the best position to help the club.”
-Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, on his new conditioning program.
“Teahen is just a master at that stuff. It’s unbelievable. I would say that at least 90 percent of the guys would say he was the funniest guy on the team. He doesn’t even talk a lot, it’s just that everything he says has some humor to it. It’s really impressive. He’s going to be missed.”
–Royals starter Zack Greinke, on former teammate Mark Teahen (Dick Kaegal, MLB.com)
“We believe sabermetrics is a generic term and should remain in the public domain. SABR is part of a larger movement toward open-source sharing of information. Having a private company own a federal trademark registration for a term in common use in our industry is not in line with that philosophy.”
-SABR Executive Director John Zajc on a filing by Deep Focus Inc. to copyright the term ‘sabermetrics.’ (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“It wasn’t like I had to explain to how to use me. It’s appropriate for me to be on the panel for something like the Hall of Fame announcement. But they certainly don’t need me to discuss whether Tony La Russa pulled Joel Pineiro too soon.”
-MLB network anchor Bob Costas (USA Today)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.