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September 24, 2012

The Week in Quotes

September 17-23

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

NATIONALS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT
“It was one of those feelings you’ve never had before. I had no idea what to do. I haven’t won anything since friggin’ Little League.”—Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on Washington’s playoff berth. (Amanda Comak, The Washington Times)

“That was fun. But that’s not what I had my eye on. It’s a nice step to get here, but every manager that’s leading the division, that’s the only thing that matters, winning your division … I don’t want this.”
—Nationals manager Davey Johnson

“This is not an ordinary win. But in the ninth Drew comes in and it was probably the most I’ve seen our fans into a game in the ninth inning. It was a special moment there. … I think we’re all very proud of what we accomplished, and I’m happy for the organization and the city of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas. It’s been a long time.”
—Outfielder Jayson Werth

“It’s kind of one of those things where, in the beginning, it wasn’t so fun, I’m sure. And they were wondering is this the right idea, maybe? I don’t know if they were wondering that—but they had to go through some tough times just like us. They’ve come a long way, and for them to be able to be down there and help this stadium get close to as good as it’s going to get for atmosphere, it had to be pretty special for them.”
—Zimmerman on the Nationals' ownership group.

ST. LOUIS CLUBHOUSE ENJOYING WAINWRIGHT’S ‘KISS’ REMARK
“If we would have lost that game, I don't think I would have slept today at all. Carlos, I kissed him right on the cheek. I'm not afraid to tell the whole world, either. I wanted to kiss him on the mouth. He saved me. He saved the team today.”
—Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright after Carlos Beltran hit a game-tying solo home run to take the right-hander off the hook for a loss. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)

“No kissing teammates on the mouth.”
—A message, written in red marker, was left for Wainwright on a dry erase board outside the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field.

“That was kind of a strong statement, so we just wanted to make sure that he knew that wasn't a part of our celebrations. I understand where he's coming from because we were all very excited when we saw that ball leave the park. It's happened to us so many times this season when you're right there. It's nice to return the favor.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, tongue-in-cheek, when asked about the white-board message.

 LOST IN TRANSLATION, ESCOBAR SUSPENDED FOR HOMOPHOBIC SLUR
“I'm sorry for the actions of the other day. I'd like to apologize to the fans and the Blue Jays organization. It's not something I intended to be offensive. It was nothing intentional or directed at anyone in particular. I have nothing against homosexuals.”
—Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar, who was suspended three games after writing the slur in Spanish on his eye-black during last Saturday’s game. (Chris Toman, MLB.com)

“It is just something that has been said around amongst the Latinos, it's not something that is meant to be offensive. It's a word used often within teams. It's a word without a meaning.”
—Escobar

“There's a number of instances where Yunel has written messages on his eye black, and so we didn't really notice it or pay attention to it.”
—Toronto manager John Farrell

“I think what came out through all of this is the lack of education. It's not just an issue in sports; it's an issue in life. It's clear that the problem isn't going away, this is just an example of it.”
—Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos

"I don't know why people are taking this so hard and so out of place or out of proportion. I'm surprised that I'm walking in here and everybody's asking me about this. It's like, 'What happened? Who died?' It's just a word that we use." 
—Escobar’s teammate, Omar Vizquel

“I don’t have anything against homosexuals. I have friends who are gay.”
—Escobar, who added that both his hairdresser and interior decorator are gay. (Brendan Kennedy and Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star)

“In my house we call that word every 20 seconds. I’ve got three kids. For us it’s like, ‘What’s up bro? What’s up dude?’ It’s how you say it and to who you say it.”
—Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen, who was quick to jump to Escobar’s defense. (John Lott, National Post)

ATHLETICS CELEBRATE, CHAVEZ HAS BEEN THERE BEFORE
“I thought it was distasteful. That's not cool. That's not how you play the game. I am all for having fun, but that crossed the line. It is all about being humble.”
—Yankees third baseman Eric Chavez, calling out the Athletics’ for an over-the-top celebration. The A’s hit three home runs in the 13th inning, but the Yankees came back to win. (Spencer Fordin, MLB.com)

“I'll be brief on that. We play the game hard and we respect it out on the field. ... I think if you look around the league and see some things, you can pick something out of anyone's dugout. ... We play the game the right way on the field. If you try to keep things loose in your dugout, there's nothing wrong with that.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin’s response.

“We're just a bunch of dirtbag players, and we just go out and play hard, and it's not flashy by any means. Our team isn't flashy, we don't have guys that have 100 RBI. We don't have guys that have 20 wins. We don't have guys that are batting .300 with 30 homers.”
—Catcher Derek Norris (Mike Mazzeo, ESPN New York)

“Have you ever seen what the Cardinals do when they hit a home run? When a Cardinal hits a home run, the whole team stands in a single-file line. The guy who hits it [smacks hands] all the way down. That's the Cardinals. It's one of the oldest organizations in baseball and run by one of the most professional guys in the clubhouse.”
—Outfielder Jonny Gomes

TWITTER

—Former Astros catcher Brad Ausmus removed himself from consideration for Houston’s managerial opening. No word on whether he removed himself from consideration in the Michael Scott way or the Jim Halpert way. Ausmus is a special assistant to Padres GM Josh Byrnes.

Bruce Bochy on Madison Bumgarner, who had walked five and looked out of sync in his previous start. Bumgarner bounced back with six strikeouts and just one walk in his next outing. (Andrew Baggarly, @CSNBaggs, Comcast SportsNet)

—Ichiro has been red hot since coming over to the Yankees in a late-July trade. Entering Sunday’s action, he was batting .444/.474/.630 in September. (Mark Feinsand, @BloggingBombers, New York Daily News)

—Jon Heyman isn’t buying that Melky Cabrera truly feels guilty about his actions and doesn’t want to taint the award (or statistic?). Heyman’s sources make him sure that Melky would have been satisfied with $75 million of tainted money. (Jon Heyman, @JonHeymanCBS, CBSSports)

—Of course Bryce had water. Clown question, bro. (Adam Kilgore, @AdamKilgoreWP, Washington Post)

—After recovering from Tommy John surgery and pitching well this season, the injury bug bit Brett Anderson again. If he could return for a possible play-in game and pitch well, then someone ought to write a book and make a movie about the Oakland A’s. (Joe Stiglich, @JoeStiglch, Bay Area News Group)

THE REST
“He comes out and he's got his wrists all taped up, and Ronny Cedeno has a bad hamstring, so he comes out with his hands taped up and his eye black on and says ‘Hey, if you need a shortstop, I’m ready to play if you need a backup.’ He keeps things light, so it's been a good find for us.”
—Mets manager Terry Collins, on catcher Kelly Shoppach. (Adam Rosenbloom, MLB.com)

“He is the same guy as he was then. Fun-loving, played with tremendous enthusiasm and flair. Never stopped talking, he talked the entire time he played. Talked to the opponents, talked to his teammates, talked to the umpires. He was a riot to have around. He's like Jose [Reyes], that's why I'm sure he loves Jose. He loved playing, he loved to be out there. He did some wild stuff. He slid into second one time, they called him out so he picked up the bag and went into the clubhouse.”
—Terry Collins, on Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. (Adam Rosenbloom, MLB.com)

“This is like a dream. I feel like I’m still sleeping in it.”
—Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez on winning his 20th game of the season. (Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post)

“You're watching the scoreboard all the time to see what somebody's doing—or not doing. If we play a day game, you're like, 'Oh, I'm going to get home and watch that.' It's just part of the game now.”
—Cubs manager Dale Sveum on his end-of-season scoreboard watching. (Cash Kruth, MLB.com)

“Just another day of rest, away from you guys and this whole situation. It can be stressful, as I found out the last couple days. They’ll probably give him the OK to come home tomorrow (Sunday).”
—Reds acting manager Chris Speier on Dusty Baker, who was being held at a Chicago hospital after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. (Tom Groeschen, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“There’s a lot to those big round numbers—you can’t help but know where you are. But that certainly isn’t his focal point. He wants to help this team to win.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin on Josh Reddick, who’s struggling offensively one homer shy of 30.

“I saw a big one the other day. You know they have 'Toriitown,' the big cardboard things, fans standing in a row? Well they had another one one day that said, 'Keep Torii,' and I just thought that was special. And now I hear about the T-shirts [with the same message]. I'm very thankful, man. I go out there and play hard, and people respect my game, the way I treat people and the way I approach the game. I think people see that. And I'm thankful that they see that. But it's all up to the Angels.”
—Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, on the fans’ wishes for him to stay in Los Angeles. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)

“To just take that and not mention him as a guy to be considered as a Rookie of the Year candidate? To me, that's a little unfair. We still have 15 ballgames left and this guy has 25 home runs. That's quite an offensive season, with 300-some-odd at-bats. That's why we're going to keep working real hard behind the plate.”
—Rockies manager Jim Tracy, on rookie catcher Wilin Rosario. There isn’t much left to root for in Colorado. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)

“You can't change records because once you get into that it would never stop. It would create more problems than it would solve.”
—Commissioner Bud Selig, asked about changing the record book. He did, however, amend the rulebook to prevent Melky Cabrera from winning the batting title. (Carl Steward, MercuryNews.com)

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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