The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Quotes from Around the Game

I’ve been conceiving of this kind of a post for some time now. My thought was to collect some quotes from all over and post them with my commentary. And now that I’ve actually gotten around to doing something about that, I notice that Baseball Prospectus already does this – well kind of. They post quotes – interesting ones, granted – but without any commentary. Hopefully the commentary is what will make my quotes article a little bit more interesting. And yes, I am stealing a number of quotes from them this week – although I found plenty of other good ones on my own. Generally though, this week’s collection of quotes is themed around idiots. Here we go…

“Fans – they don’t know anything about the game anyway.” – Marlins “pitcher” Darren Oliver reacting to the media’s questions about fans booing him.

Coincidentally, Oliver was recently removed from the Marlins rotation and was replaced by the legendary Tommy Phelps. Apparently, Jack McKeon doesn’t know baseball either because he took Oliver and his 7.78 ERA out of the rotation. Batters are hitting .341 against him. That means that if Oliver’s pitches were allowed to qualify for the batting title, they would be tenth in the league in hitting to date. Oliver simply flat out has not been any good this season – by any measure – and he needs to deal with it. To turn around and blame his struggles on the fans is mind-numbingly absurd. These are Florida Marlins fans he’s talking about. Both of them apparently. I can hardly imagine what Oliver would react like if he were pitching in a major market where both the fans and the media are actually hard on players (somewhere like New York or Boston). We would probably be in for a meltdown of epic proportions. Maybe the Marlins can trade Oliver the Mets for a sack of batting practice balls. That would be an interesting thing to watch unfold.

"With the exception of one or two issues that must be put to rest—such as finding a permanent home for the Montreal Expos and the need for a stronger and stricter drug-testing program—our game is in the midst of a great renaissance...Our television ratings are up tremendously, on both the local and national level, and our attendance is 15 percent greater than it was last year at this time." --Bud Selig, MLB commissioner

Fortunately for baseball, what Bud said is true here. What I think Bud really meant to say though is that both of these two issues, plus the cancellation of the 1994 World Series, as well as many others, are directly related to Bud and his mis-management of the game. Just think of what the state of the game would be if Bud weren’t getting in the way all the time.

"He's a Hall of Famer and he did what Hall of Famers do...He hit that (ball) nine miles. That's what they do to pitches right down the middle." - Josh Beckett, Marlins pitcher, after surrendering a 433-foot blast to Ken Griffey Jr.

Finally – evidence that Beckett acknowledged that a grooved pitch to Griffey wasn’t such a hot idea. But this was immediately followed by…

"That's (expletive), that's what it is. I didn't see it. I do take offense to that. I don't give a (expletive) if he's a Hall of Famer or not. I don't think I'll forget it. I don't know what the hell he was staring at. I don't know if he was questioning the intentional walk before that or what. You just have to make a note of something like that." -Beckett, upon hearing that Griffey had stared him down following the homer

Hey Josh – see your previous comment. Stop grooving pitches to Hall of Famers and you won’t have to worry about them glaring at anyone when they run around the bases. If you threw like you were capable of and kept your head in the game, you wouldn’t have to worry about such piddly things.

“I ain’t white. They’d never let me do that.” – Barry Bonds, responding to a reporter when asked about his thoughts on Roger Clemens being able to skip certain road trips (or portions of them) as part of his agreement with the Astros.

Granted, I am the first person to step up and defend Barry Bonds and everything he has accomplished, but this is over the line. I don’t think Bonds gets it here. If he were a pitcher, he would be able to get this kind of treatment too. Maybe Bonds has forgotten that as an outfielder (any position player really), he’s expected to play in somewhere between 140 – 162 games per year. Starting pitchers, like Clemens, are only expected to start somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 – 35 games per year. Since pitchers start once every five games, there are often three game series in which the pitcher does not pitch. Because Clemens is an established veteran and has a workout regimen that is nearly as renowned as his pitching ability, the Astros have agreed to cut him some slack about traveling with the team.

"If the question is 'Will I sacrifice a little bit of our future for present glory?' the answer is yes. But if the question is also 'Would I do something stupid?' the answer is...maybe." --Kenny Williams, White Sox general manager

It’s great to see your general manager admitting to the public that he’s prepared to do something stupid. There’s nothing quite like confidence coming from the top. What would Williams do if one of his players said something like, “I’m going to go out there and try to win today, but will I do something stupid? Maybe.” Such a player would likely be suspended, or fined, or demoted. Sometimes you wish you could do that with your team’s general manager, don’t you?

"Two words. Nineteen seventeen." --Williams, stating the last time the Sox won a championship, on why he'd trade the future for a ring today

I’ve never really thought of 1917 as two words before. I suppose it is, depending on how you hyphenate it. Oh, and by the way, for all of you breathless Red Sox fans – although there are more of you, our wait for a World Title has been longer and much less fulfilling: two words, nineteen seventeen.

"I don't know how many (expletive) times I see a guy get hit and nobody does anything...How many times have I been hit and there's no retaliation? I'm giving it everything I've got. I'm playing hurt; I'm playing in pain. And I'm not getting no help from no (expletive) body? -Jose Guillen, Angels outfielder

Granted, this quote was worked over numerous times by the media. The Angels hashed it all out too, as the pitchers, apparently, before Guillen’s comment, felt they were backing up their teammates appropriately. What impressed me most about this quote though was that Guillen started the sentence with “and” and may have invented the triple negative as well – all in ten words.

Upon leaving the Pittsburgh Pirates for a myriad of reasons, but before signing with the Anaheim Angels, oddball outfielder Raul Mondesi stated, “I took my children to school for the first time in my life. It was an amazing feeling.”

Apparently Raul’s kids are part of that special program that only attends school from March through September (don’t you wish it was that way when you were a kid). Based on Raul’s statement, we’re left to believe that during the offseason – typically from October through February for Raul, when most kids are in school – Raul’s kids aren’t in school. How fortunate for them. And how lucky they are to have a dad who can quit his job for two weeks and come back two weeks later and find one paying him the same amount, but with a better company.


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