Potent quotables: Everyone loves bobbleheads

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“Bobbleheads are our most expensive giveaway item. And they have the most perceived value.

– Dennis Lehman, executive vice president of business for the Indians, takes bobbleheads very seriously.
The team went ahead with their “Victor Martinez Bobblehead Night” on
Saturday, despite him being traded to the Red Sox on Friday.

“We have to have a special type of
veteran pitcher, who is willing to give of himself as a teacher and
mentor type of guy. We have to get a team-oriented person, a person
that is going to give his time and his knowledge. It’s not an easy
task.”

– Nationals interim general manager Mike Rizzo is currently casting the “big-brother type” to his boy-band of starting pitchers.

“I’m just depressed that this isn’t
progressing the way I want it to progress. I’m throwing, playing catch.
There are different symptoms now. I’ve got zero strength in my left
calf due to the nerve. I’m just waiting for it to get better.”

– Tim Wakefield, who turned 43 years old on Sunday, isn’t likely to return from the disabled list anytime soon.
He went 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA, earning his first trip to the All-Star
Game, before landing on the disabled list with a lower back strain on
July 21.

“I know I’ve got to go out there and
pitch one or two innings. I’ve got to throw strikes and keep the ball
low. That’s exactly what I have to do.”

– Top-prospect Neftali Feliz knows what he has to do in order to be successful in the bigs.

“It just seemed like one thing after
another. [It] just seemed like every one of the surgeries he had, as
soon as he got healthy from one of those, something else kind of crept
in and happened.”

– Jeff Niemann speaks about his friend Wade Townsend, who was released by the Rays on Monday.
Now 26-years-old, numerous arm injuries resulted in the 2005
first-round draft pick posting a 5.59 ERA over 211 1/3 innings in the
minors.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.