The dude was trying to break up a double play. Holliday plays hard. You have to appreciate the way he plays. He’s not labeled as a dirty player. He didn’t go spikes up. The only thing that made it look bad was that he slid late. That’s it. Whether he could reach the bag or not, I don’t know. If I’m in that situation, and I’m playing to win, trying to get to a pennant race, I’d do the same exact thing. Even though we’re second to last and in fifth place in this division, I still try to flip infielders. It’s as simple as that. I try to play winning baseball, and that’s all that is.
You call a play dirty when a guy is going out there trying to hurt somebody and that’s not what he did. If Holliday wants to go in and hurt somebody he will. He’s 6-4, 235, 240 pounds. That’s him playing hard. The way we take it when we see it is we want to defend our players at the time. When you go back and really look at it and how the game is played and how it should be played, there’s nothing wrong with that. If the umpires want to make their call and say he was too far off, so be it. Being dirty or being malicious, it’s not even close.
There are a lot of unwritten rules in baseball. There are a lot of things that happen on the field that stay on the field. When I came up, umpires treated the veterans a little differently than they treated rookies. It was not in a bad way, it was just a respect thing, a seniority thing. Veterans have a little bigger strike zone when they’re pitching against a rookie. When I came up, Maddux, Glavine were getting calls on balls off the plate. You don’t say anything. You earn your time and you earn the right to say things.
But then it comes to a point where an umpire sometimes will say something out of the box. He doesn’t mean any harm, but he’ll say it to a young guy who doesn’t know how to take it and it gets back to the team and gets back to the manager or the front office, and after looking at the Marlins series and how the season has gone like ours, it’s not well received at all, even if it’s said in a joking manner. Maybe it can rattle a guy and when the outcome of that at-bat when he’s spoken to is a negative with a strikeout, it really doesn’t look right. The big thing in baseball is it’s a fraternity. Umpires are included in this fraternity and we all need to be on the same page and work together. Communication has to be out there.
Mike Quade had our backs in his post-game interview the other day. He said exactly what needed to be said — he didn’t say too much and didn’t say too little. He got it out there and it was heard and hopefully it doesn’t happen again. The umpire knows who he is and the player knows who he is and the umpire knows what he said. Hopefully, there’s an apology that comes the next time that crew comes to town and if not, just make sure it doesn’t happen again.
You have a guy like Ryan Dempster, who’s your bulldog when he comes in. It’s his day to pitch and you’re excited to see him on the mound. When he has to come out of the game, there’s that fire in him that he wants to stay out there and he wants to keep going strong. You have two strong-minded guys, Q and Demp. Q believed in one thing, going with his bullpen. Demp believed he could keep going strong. At the same time, people have to understand you need that. You don’t want a passive manager, you don’t want a passive starting pitcher. Sometimes you bump heads. We have 7 1/2 months together. It’s not all love. Sometimes it’s war, even in the locker room. We treat it like a family. What happened yesterday happened, and today you move on and go from there. Maybe Ramon throws six, seven innings and doesn’t want to come out and the bullpen is ready and it happens again. At the same time, that’s something that will always happen in the game of baseball just because of the competitiveness and the fire between players and staff.
If it had been Zambrano, it would’ve been blown up and blown out of proportion. The camera stays on Carlos. They’re waiting for him to have his next blow up. Dempster’s had blow ups, but you just haven’t seen them or hear about them. I’ve had my blow ups and you never hear about them. It happens to everybody. I guess it’s a Catch-22. If it’s Dempster, he gets a pass. If it’s Carlos Zambrano, it gets talked about more because he’s Big Z.
The kid who really impressed me on the Iowa team was Marwin Gonzalez, a switch-hitting shortstop. He hit a couple doubles, nice bat. He’ll be a pretty good player. I have to speak about Bryan LaHair and what he’s doing. His numbers are phenomenal. At some point, hopefully he gets a chance to help the team, whether it’s here or somewhere. Welington Castillo is looking good back there and still learning. He looks good at the plate. Jonathon Mota, he played second and third, had some good at-bats, really nice hands. I think that infield, regardless of who they put out there, is one of the best in Triple-A. Bill Dancy is running things and righting that ship. Look at his winning percentage as a manager. He was my field coordinator in ’99 with the Phillies. Some of the young guys were throwing the ball well — “Bergie” has a sub 2.00 ERA. He’s got big league stuff. Scott Maine was doing well. He made one bad pitch when I was down there.
All the young guys who are first-years in Triple-A, like Marwin and DJ and Welington, need to keep stepping up and keep getting better and keep learning and take that from now until they get to the big leagues.
No fear. None whatsoever. First at-bat at Iowa, I took the first pitch and my thought process the whole time was, “See the ball.” It wasn’t, “What’s going to happen?” That didn’t cross my mind. In the second game, there was no thought process whatsoever, it was just baseball. I knew I was ready then. I’m glad, because I wasn’t really sure how I was going to react and I reacted very well.
It was Spring Training 2000, my first Minor League camp. I’m eating at the Cheesecake Factory in Tampa. Bernie Williams walks by with his wife and stops by and says, “Hey, Marlon, how are you doing?” I look at him and I’m thinking to myself, how in the world do you know who I am? You’re Bernie Williams. Same thing with Derek Jeter, same thing with Gerald Williams. It seemed like that whole click, Posada, all of them, they treated baseball like a fraternity, like it should be. Everyone was equal, and it didn’t matter who you were. If you were a part of a team or an organization, they treated you like they were your brother. I’ve always respected that, I’ve always respected the Yankees because of the way they handle things.
That’s always been in the back of my mind and that’s the way I’ve tried to be. I didn’t know how in the world they knew all the guys like that in that area — you had the Yankees, the Phillies and the Blue Jays in Tampa area. I guess that’s the Yankee Way. That was my first Spring Training. Bernie Williams. I’ve always respected that. It’s a respect thing. Just the way they handle themselves and treat everyone the same. Do they do that here? There are some guys that do. I try to be like that.
First off, I’m at the three-week mark, so I get to start running today. I’ll be running around on the field Monday so I’m progressing just like I want to and healing. Week No. 3, start running; Week No. 4, ramp it up a little bit and more activities on the field. Week No. 5, go out for a rehab assignment. Right now, I’m on pace.
Today I started shagging a little bit harder to find out how my legs feel. I’ve been long tossing for a week now so my arm’s still there. The strength is still there. I’ve been in the weight room every single day. I’ll go in there three times during the game and I’m hitting during the game, too. I’ve been working hard. I have to make sure when I go on the rehab assignment, I’m not DH’ing. I want to go in center field and start running around and play nine innings. Everything’s going positive as far as my healing.
With the team, it’s been a tough road trip, tough teams. We haven’t played the way we wanted to play — everybody knows that. It seems like all aspects of the game aren’t there at the same time — pitching, hitting, defense, timely hitting. We have to figure out a way to get Oswalt today and go back home with a win under our belt. It’d be positive on the plane ride home. Hopefully, we’ll get some home cooking and try to straighten this thing out.
It’s not too late. I told some of the older guys if we can decrease this thing by six, seven games going into the All-Star break, and be five, six games out, we still have a chance. We’re not focusing on trying to get a 15-game winning streak but trying to win a series at a time. Hopefully, nobody takes off in the Central.
It seems like it doesn’t get easier. The Brewers are winning, they’re hot. They’re not playing at home, which is a good thing but that won’t make it any easier. Just the Yankees being the Yankees, they’re professionals, they’re expected to win and they’re going to come in and do their thing. We have to get our focus. We know we can play any team.
I’m glad everyone has taken steps to make sure I’m OK and they’re not rushing to get me back on the field but making sure I heal correctly. That’s the main thing. I’ve seen Dr. Rosin here in Chicago. I’ve already had three, four appointments with him and I’m going to see him again today. I saw a facial guy, and in Boston, I saw neurologists, I saw radiologists, ophthalmologists. I had three facial doctors — they checked me, and then one guy went and got his boss and the other guy went and got his boss. I had the team doctors, Dr. Adams and Dr. Gryzlo, when I came back here look at it. It hit me in a sensitive spot. It hasn’t really been tough because I’ve had a great support system. I’ve had great doctors working with me and nobody has misstepped anything. I can’t be thankful enough for that. My support system with my family and friends and the fans writing in and wishing me well, I can’t thank them enough.
I have no clue when I’ll be back. All I know is I have to heal first, that’s first thing. Second, start baseball activity. Third, then I have to go on a rehab assignment and see how my body feels and see how I respond as far as seeing the ball. It could be a timely thing or it could be very quick.
I’ll be fine. Watching pitches and everything, I haven’t flinched. The ball’s been thrown at me. I’m one of those guys when something happens, you say, Oh well, it happened, and move on. Until you get that first ball actually thrown near you or at you, you’re not sure how your body or your mind is going to respond. Hopefully, I’ll be OK.
It’s nice to come out here — I can’t wait to come out here and see the fans and salute the bleacher bums.
Thanks for the get well messages. I’ll be OK and come back playing as hard as ever!
Note: I told Marlon that several fans had left get well messages on his blog, and he really appreciated the thoughts and sentiments. If you want to jot down a note, leave it here. We’ll make sure he sees it.
— Carrie Muskat
Let’s start with two of the guys we were hoping would be here for a long time, Mateo and Colvin being sent out. A lot of guys have been in that position. I had a great rookie year and got sent down my second year, third year, fourth year, fifth year and then I finally established myself. Sometimes a young guy has a great first year and shows what he has, shows the talent and the league makes adjustments and they have to re-adjust. I think he fell into the category of all the other outfielders were hitting and they couldn’t figure out a way to plug him in there last year. We know Mateo has great stuff. He can pitch, 95, 96, great slider. He has to re-tool, refine some things down there. Colvin same thing. Everyone knows he can hit. He has to regain that stroke we know he has, get him at-bats, make sure his development doesn’t get stunted and he can come back and help this team.
As far as this team now, we’re not even close to where we need to be. Thank goodness it’s not too late and it’s not September and we’re not 10, 15 games out already. We still have a chance to turn it around and that’s what we need to do. It starts with the veterans and we all need to step up and do our jobs. Veteran hitters need to drive in runs, veteran pitchers need to keep us in games. Veteran pitchers in the back of the bullpen need to close it out, which they’ve been doing all year. It’s very simple. Pitching, hitting — timely hitting — and defense. You do that and you’ll win games. That’s what we need to do. It’s easy to say but difficult to do, but the teams that get to the playoffs all do it.