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June 25, 2012

The Week in Quotes

June 18-24

by Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum, Andrew Koo and Matthew Rocco

THE GREAT PINE TAR WAR OF 2012
“It's kind of a common practice that people have done this for years, and to point one guy out because he had pitched here a couple years ago, there probably was some common knowledge based on that, and so I thought it was a real cowardly — and I've used that word twice this year (also about Boston's Bobby Valentine) I guess, so it was kind of a (wimpy) move to go out there and do that under those circumstances.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon on Nationals skipper Davey Johnson, who asked the umpires to check reliever Joel Peralta’s glove upon entering Tuesday’s game in the eighth inning. Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals back in 2010, was caught with pine tar in his glove and subsequently ejected. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“I didn't just make it up or dream it up. But I mean, there were conversations before the game. He was out there, and I was talking to some of the guys and I said, 'How'd we let this guy get away?' I thought he pitched pretty good for us, and I saw he's been a kind of invaluable set-up man for Tampa Bay. One thing led to another and I got probably more information than I really needed. I don't know.”
—Johnson, who intimated to some prior knowledge of Peralta’s tactic.

“That's my BP glove, I'm out there every day playing catch with it; it's hot here. That's what I've got to say about it.”
—Peralta

“To single out Joel Peralta tonight, that is my concern. That Joel does not get vilified, that's my concern. Because this guy has done a great job. He's been an excellent relief pitcher. And to in any way tarnish what he's done to this point because there's going to be suggestions made based on what happened tonight, and I think that's wrong and inappropriate. Because it's been a common practice for many, many years for anybody to try to get an edge in many, many ways.”
—Maddon

“I promise you one thing: You're going to see brand new gloves throughout the major leagues starting (today).”
—Maddon

“He looks like a cheater. He looks like a jerk. And he's not. He's not at all. And that's just too bad.”
—Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell, on Peralta. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“Insider trading, man. It's bush. It's bogus. That's way too easy, right there.”
—Maddon, on Johnson’s decision to have the umpires check Peralta’s glove. The Rays skipper also characterized the move as “cowardly.” (Scott Boeck, USA Today)

“I didn't know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss anyway. He has a tweeter. He can get to more people than I can. I'm not going to get in a shouting match with him. I understand where he's coming from. His job as manager is sticking up for his players. He doesn't know me from a hole in the hill, or me him. I didn't take them personally. He's a good manager. He protects his players like I would, too.”
—Johnson, responding to Maddon’s jabs. (Paul White, USA Today)

DICKEY DOES IT AGAIN
“It's pleasant to see him, but not see him pitch.”
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Mets knuckleballer R.A Dickey’s one-hit, 13-strikeout performance against Baltimore on Monday night, which made him the first pitcher since 1988 to throw a one-hitter in consecutive starts. The Baltimore skipper played an integral role in Dickey’s decision to incorporate the knuckleball into his repertoire back in 2005. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“Personally I think he is the best pitcher in the game right now.  I don't know if there is a question about it, especially based on the scoreless inning streak that he has going. … It's really incredible.”
—Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, on Dickey.

“It's surreal. You almost get emotional out there, especially that last hitter. You hear everybody, like one big heartbeat beating. That's the best way I could explain it.”
—Dickey, who allowed his first earned run in 44 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Sunday night.

“It’s been ridiculous. Just the comments I get at first base. ‘It’s unfair.’ That’s what they say, ‘It’s unfair.’ ”
—Mets first baseman Ike Davis on Dickey’s second consecutive one-hitter. (Jackie Friedman, The Star-Ledger)

 “This is the best I’ve ever seen it. I’ve caught him now for parts of three years. This is the best knuckleball, personally, that I’ve been back behind the plate for.”
—Mets catcher Josh Thole on Dickey’s knuckleball.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHICKEN IN THE CLUBHOUSE
“I can’t wait to face those chickens. I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before. … I think I’ve said too much already.”
—Mets closer Frank Francisco on playing the Yankees. (Mike Puma, New York Post)

 “Frank [Francisco] thought it was funny. At first, I told him the Yankees sent it over for him. He had a look of concern on his face. And then he said, 'You bought it.' And I said, 'Yeah, I bought it.' Everyone got a good chuckle out of it. He ran around here for a little bit. And we played the game.”
—Mets reliever Tim Byrdak had a clubhouse attendant purchase a hen in Chinatown for $8. The chicken was named “Little Jerry Seinfeld,” a reference to Kramer’s cockfighting chicken on “Seinfeld.” (Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York)

 “We originally called him ‘Little Derek Jeter.’ ”
—Byrdak (Mike Puma, Frank Rosario and Don Kaplan, New York Post)

 “As much as I enjoy the Byrdak humor, he should be aware Little Jerry Seinfeld is no chicken.”
—Jerry Seinfeld

PEAVY AIN’T PLEASED
“I don't mean any disrespect, but a team playing the way the Cubs have been playing, we have to beat those teams. Please don't take that out of context, because the Cubs are a big-league team, and you have to show up every night because any team can beat anybody. But teams that we feel we should beat that aren't playing that well, we have to show up and take advantage of these opportunities.”
—White Sox starter Jake Peavy, who took the loss on Tuesday night despite allowing just one earned run over nine innings as the Sox fell 2-1. (Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune)

“We’re just not playing good, fundamental baseball. When you’re going bad, the little things will get you.”
—Peavy (Daryl Van Schouwen, Chicago Sun-Times)

“I [messed] it up. I lost the game for the man, that’s it. The man threw a hell of a game, I lost it for him. Point blank. Case closed. We lost. My bad. That’s it.”
—White Sox third baseman Orlando Hudson, referring to his third-inning throwing error that opened the door for the Cubs on Tuesday.

“I think if you ask anybody in the clubhouse, they’ll tell you we have to play better than we have the last week and a half. It’s just the fact of the matter. And I’m speaking of myself, too, of the games I’m losing. I have to find a way to win those.”
—Peavy (Chicago Sun-Times)

WE’RE GOING STREAKING!
“You don’t see too many teams win that many games in a row. You just try to ride that wave as long as you can.”
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, whose team extended its win streak to 10 games with Monday’s 6-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. (Zach Berman, New York Times)

“We don’t think about it when we’re out there, but we don’t want to be that guy.  You’re watching everybody have their starts, we all pull for each other and we all push each other.”
—Yankees starter CC Sabathia, on the universal desire to not be the pitcher who snaps the winning streak.

“Usually, you’re glad with one, two or three guys throwing well. We’ve got four and five dominating like an ace right now. They’re all five aces, so you can’t ask for anything better.”
—Yankees catcher Chris Stewart

TALKING PARK EFFECTS, AGAIN
“I didn't have one conversation this winter on how the ballpark was going to play this year because we had five previous years to this where there was somewhat of a normalcy to it. The set of circumstances we have been presented with this year, we have seen in the past, but not something I anticipated. I am not using that as an excuse. But if I knew the ballpark was going to play the way it has, we would have looked at a different model as it relates to kids versus veterans in the rotation.”
Colorado Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd, on the capricious Coors Fields affecting Rockies pitchers and airborne baseballs. (Troy E. Renck,  Denver Post)

“I had such consistency with my command last year. That's what I noticed. I wasn't consistently trying to find it. However it affects your stuff (in Denver)—because it is real—it's the idea that you are always adjusting. If you were pitching here for 30 starts a year, I think you would figure it out. But I wouldn't say you couldn't throw a curveball here, because you can. People do it. You have to do it a little differently. It's challenging.”
—Rockies starter Jeff Francis, who returned to Colorado this year after a season in Kansas City.

“You can tell by the stadiums that are closer to the beach, with the marine layer, how the ball doesn't carry as well. The cold weather at night knocks balls down.”
—Angels ace Jered Weaver, who threw a no-hitter back in May, in which he allowed 14 fly balls. (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)

“Seattle, it was very hard to hit home runs there. Dodger Stadium was a little easier. Oakland also was very tough. You can hit a ball as hard as you can, just crush it, and then you watch it fall into a guy's glove. Easy play. The air is so thick. It can get to you mentally. I've seen it with a lot of guys, how frustrated they are.”
—Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, whose career has been spent largely playing on three different west-division teams.

“It's confidence. I think I got beat down a little bit. I got pretty comfortable [in St. Louis] and it felt like a tornado hit [in San Diego]. [...] Nothing against the Padres or Buddy Black, who's a great manager to play for. I love them all. It was just a tough place for me. Every good ball I hit to right-center, center and left-center just seemed to die. So I started trying to pull, and got into some bad habits. I wasn't myself.”
—Outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who escaped Petco Park this year to play for the Reds.

“In Colorado, I hit a ball to left that I thought at best was going to move the runners up. It was a normal fly ball, and it kept going and turned into a three-run homer. Then we're in Oakland, and I hit one that I know is gone. It's only a matter of how far gone. Then I look out there, and Coco Crisp is catching it one step on the warning track.”
—Angels power-hitting corner Mark Trumbo, who came into Sunday leading the team in TAv.

LOOKING FOR LINCECUM
“Last year, I'd eat anything I wanted and I didn't even care. I was like, 'I don't care, I'm fat, I'm thicker than I'm used to being and I'm doing fine.' Then my body started feeling different. My legs started feeling the effects of the 30-plus pounds I'd put on. But what's happened is then I just completely changed it. I don't think that's a smart move either. ... I got rid of it way too fast, drastically.”
—Struggling Giants starter Tim Lincecum, on figuring out the puzzle, starting with his dieting, to return to his Cy Young form. Lincecum lost 33 pounds in the offseason, a dramatic drop that his body didn’t agree with. (Gwen Knapp, San Francisco Chronicle)

“His whole body changed, and that weight can affect your mechanics as well. I don't give a damn what his weight is, but I know what too big is and I know what too little is. He showed up too little.”
—Pitching coach Dave Righetti. Lincecum gave up In-N-Out Burger and swam regularly in his off-season regimen. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

“I used to have a chip on my shoulder. ... I had Napoleon's syndrome just because, you know, I wasn't a big guy. I had that pissed-off feeling of trying to prove people wrong. I think that's kind of the edge I need.”
—Lincecum, on using anger as motivation.

“Sometimes he gets too excited in a game. He probably tries to do too much. He probably tries to do more than he can.”
—Giants catcher Hector Sanchez. (Daniel Brown, San Jose Mercury News)

“He’s my dad. Regardless of what I want to talk about, at some point he’s going to make me talk about something I don’t necessarily want to. With that, you’ve got to understand he’s on my side. He’s not out there trying to make me worse. When he’s critiquing me or what not, not to make me worse, but to make me better. There’s an innate kind of comfort just talking to him. When you get past that 10 minutes of bickering with each other it turns into an actual good conversation and it has a good rhythm to it.”

—Lincecum, on finding answers, or at least guidance, from his mentor and father, Chris. (Knapp, San Francisco Chronicle)

TWITTER

—Nationals manager Davey Johnson jokes about Moyer, whose request for release from the Orioles was recently granted. When Johnson took his final hacks in 1978, Moyer was a rising star at Souderton Area High School in eastern Pennsylvania. (Adam Kilgore, @AdamKilgoreWP, Washington Post)

—Orioles’ reliever Darren O’Day thinks Peralta’s suspension (eight games) is too severe, but points to the bigger problem that MLB has with setting standards for suspensions. (Darren O’Day, @DODay56, Baltimore Orioles)

—CBS’ Jon Heyman reported that the Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox. Boston received right-hander Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge. The Red Sox will also send the White Sox $5.5 million. (Jon Heyman, @jonheymancbs, CBSSports.com)

—That’s right, folks. Kevin Correia is available! Pirates GM Neal Huntington is probably sifting through dozens of offers for Correia, who sported a 5.40 FIP entering Sunday’s start against Detroit. The decision Huntington needs to make: who does he want more, Trout or Harper? (Rob Biertempfel, @biertempfeltrib, Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

THE REST
“That was a huge pickup by Jim Thome. I couldn't be happier for anybody in the clubhouse.”
—Phillies’ closer Jonathon Papelbon after Thome broke the all-time record for walk-off home runs in Saturday’s win over the Rays. Papelbon reportedly had offered Thome $5,000 to hit a home run after Papelbon had blown the save in the top half of the ninth inning. Thome held up his end of the bargain. (ESPN.com)

“Obviously when you don’t have the record that everybody wants after 67 games, it’s crap like that that you have to address.”
—Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, on an ESPN report that characterized Boston’s clubhouse environment as “toxic.” (Michael Vega, Boston Globe)

“You know what? (The fans) got to see the young Beltran and the old Beltran, so I guess it's good.”
—Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, who went 2-for-5 with four RBI in his return to Kauffman Stadium on Friday night. The 35-year-old was drafted by Kansas City back in 1995, and played for the Royals from 1998-2004. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

“I voted for him today.”
—Orioles shortstop JJ Hardy, who did his part to bolster teammate Jason Hammel’s All-Star bid.  Hammel’s 2.61 ERA ranks sixth among qualified pitchers in the American League. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

“There was a little fire there.  I wanted to close it out.”
—Indians starter Justin Masterson, who struck out the side in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 8-1 victory over the Reds to secure a three-game sweep for the tribe. In his past three starts, the 27-year-old has surrendered just one earned run while striking out 24 over 23 innings of work. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“We are in contention, so we are going to do whatever we can to make the playoffs.”
—Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, reiterating the central thesis of Saturday’s “State of the Team” address in Baltimore. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“When (Miley) came to Double-A (in 2010), he was left-handed, threw hard, four had pitches, was a ground-ball guy and could overpower some guys. He was a ground-ball who was also a strikeout guy. Granted, it’s Double-A, but at the same time you had (Braves pitcher Mike) Minor, and he was more highly touted. I just thought that Wade was a little more polished, had better off-speed and kept the ball on the ground better.”
—Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate pitching coach Dan Carlson, on NL Rookie of the Year candidate Wade Miley. The D-Backs are 9-3 in Miley’s starts, who has produced a pristine 2.19 ERA and 2.94 FIP. (Nick Piecoro, azcentral.com)

“I thought about it. And I know what happened to [Kendrys] Morales, so I wasn't going to jump. But no chance. I jumped.”
—Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, reviewing his thoughts when he ran the bases celebrating his walk-off home run. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“Easy. Seven Presidentes (beer) and a sleeping pill and be ready for the job tomorrow.”
—Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s response when asked to sum up the team’s 15-5 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night. (Joe Capozzi, The Palm Beach Post)

Jonah Birenbaum is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jonah's other articles. You can contact Jonah by clicking here
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Andrew's other articles. You can contact Andrew by clicking here

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