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June 9, 2014

The Week in Quotes

June 3-9

by Nick Bacarella, Morris Greenberg and Nick Wheatley-Schaller


BASEBALL MOURNS PASSING OF DON ZIMMER

“Great baseball man, a baseball lifer. He was a mentor to me. I had him 10 out of my first 11 years in the big leagues, so wherever he went, I went. He taught me a lot about this game. A close friend. I’m going to miss him.”
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on the passing of former player, manager, and coach Don Zimmer. Zimmer served as the Yankees bench coach from 1996 through 2003. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“That’s a tough one to swallow. Everyone knows how much Zim has meant, not only to our organization, but to baseball as a whole. Your thoughts and prayers go out to his family. That’s tough news. I found out halfway through the game. That’s a rough one… He’s someone that taught me a lot about the game. He’s been around and he’s pretty much seen everything. His stories, his experiences, he was close to my family and good to my family. We’ll miss him.
—Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“People don’t know this, but that was one of his first decisions as my bench coach—to eliminate wearing ties on the road trips. There was a reason for that, I later found out. When we were home, Soot would tie his tie for him. He didn’t know how to do it. On the road, he would ask me if I could do it for him.”
—Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre, recounting Zimmer’s disdain for non-baseball attire. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)

“My second year here, we won 70 games for the first time in this franchise’s history, so I decided to have the clubhouse guy get some bottles of champagne for the players to celebrate. Zimmer sees this and he comes up to me and screams: ‘Are you crazy? What are you gonna do if we ever finish .500? Buy ’em all Jaguars!’”
—Former player and manager Lou Piniella, on his and Zimmer’s time with the then-Devil Rays. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)

“Tell Birdie Tebbetts he could probably get me for a dozen baseball bats.”
—Zimmer in 1959, jokingly proposing a trade between Zimmer’s Dodgers and the Milwaukee Braves. (Bob Wolfley, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

“You'd just start laughing because it was like, he's just a simple person, but they treat him like a rock star," Tom said. "The players laughed at him all the time. They laughed at him because they knew that he didn't know who these guys were. Danny DeVito's hugging on him. My dad's like, 'How ya doing? How ya doing?' It's just a riot. I could write a book on all that stuff, I really could. I hope I can remember it.”
—Zimmer’s son Tom, on the warm treatment Zimmer received during his baseball days. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

“I know he's up there looking down. He always said, 'I started on the ballfield and we were married on the ballfield.' And he ended up being celebrated for his life on the ballfield. I can't think of a better way to go.”
—Soot Zimmer, Don Zimmer’s wife, at the public tribute held in Zimmer’s honor at Tropicana Field on Saturday. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)

“He didn't have a church, so church was here.”
—Tom Zimmer. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

BENCHES CLEAR IN BALTIMORE

“It was obvious the pitcher threw at him the second time,” Vanover said. “And then [Machado] threw the bat. That wasn’t accidental. He threw the bat, so two ejections.”
—Crew chief and home plate umpire Larry Vanover, on the intent behind A’s pitcher Fernando Abad’s inside pitches and Orioles third baseman Manny Machado’s errant bat toss. Both players were ejected immediately following the incident. A video of the play can be watched here. (Alejandro Zuniga, Baltimore Sun)

“Obviously, it's going to get heated. But you can't do nothing about it. The only thing you can control is [to] come back out there and play baseball.”
—Machado. (Alejandro Zuniga, Baltimore Sun)

“You start to think about who does this guy think he is, and that causes, I don’t know, some drama to start, I guess,” Jaso said. “The game should be played the right way. And when it’s not played the right way, people should be told, you know, in a certain way.
—A’s catcher John Jaso. (Alejandro Zuniga, Baltimore Sun)

“I thought Manny handled it better than someone with some experience [would],” he said. “It was also a good experience for him to have. He cares. It’s a learning experience for all of us.”
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter. (Alejandro Zuniga, Baltimore Sun)

THE REST

“I think with Travis, he has a lot of confidence, I think he’s hit at every level in the minor leagues, defensively he’s been outstanding just a matter going down there and getting at-bats that don’t have necessarily the pressures to kind of perform like here. He has to go down there and get in your groove and hopefully get hot and get some of the confidence he needs and gets going and gets on a roll and then take that and bring it back up here with him.”
—Mets third baseman David Wright, on catcher Travis d’Arnaud being optioned to Triple-A after Saturday’s game. The highly touted prospect is hitting .180/.271/.273 in 39 games this season. (Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News)

“I’ve been to Massachusetts and Maine, that kind of area, and I’ve heard the radio stations talking in French. Besides that, I really don’t know much about it. I’m a huge outdoorsman, so I’ve always watched hunting videos, and I know Canada’s got good hunting and fishing, and that it’s a beautiful country. So I don’t think I’ll have one problem with it.”
—Max Pentecost, a product of Kennesaw State University and native of Georgia, on being drafted by the Blue Jays. (Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star)

‘‘It’s difficult to depart from such a historic brand, and we are protective of our iconic elements. But we’re not going to be held back by them.’’
—Crane Kenney, Cubs’ president of business operations, on the Cubs leaving WGN (Dan McGrath, Chicago Sun-Times)

"He's continuing to work with the therapist and do a little bit of strengthening, but he can't swing a bat yet, it's not time yet. He's itching, he's pacing. But that's one of those things where he's 21 years old and if it doesn't heal right, it can affect him long-term. So we want to make sure he's good before he's able to get back out here. So we don't know yet (when he'll be back). I'd like to see him back by the first of July. I think that would be a good target, but we just don't know. It depends on how everything else goes."
—Nationals manager Matt Williams, on Bryce Harper’s recovery from an injury (Josh Land, MASN Sports)

"His defense is already prolific. It's not the diving catches; it's all the ground he covers and his throwing arm and his throwing accuracy. I didn't know this, even coming into Spring Training, that his arm was as accurate and as strong as he's shown us this year. He's a very instinctive player, and for a guy that was a middle infielder, he's been doing this now for a couple years, and it's very special that he's been able to not just be able to play the position, but excel at it.”
—Reds manager Bryan Price, on center fielder Billy Hamilton’s defense (Mark Sheldon and Manny Randhawa, MLB.com)

“When you put the weight of this team on your own shoulders, which is self-induced. As much as we explain to him that we all have to do our piece, you’re taking a guy with natural leadership characteristics and he wants to be the guy who makes it all happen. I see that he cares so much that it’s beat him down. Anybody is susceptible to just being fried.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on giving catcher Yadier Molina a day of rest (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“I think to be around with these young guys, they make you feel younger. You just enjoy the moments with them and they make you feel good, every day joking around, which is nice. We’re just starting to know each other.”
—Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu, on being back in the major leagues (Mike Puma, New York Post)

"You hate to put these kind of names on him, but you kind of see some Roger Clemens in his delivery, in the power delivery that he has. He's just way bigger than Roger. We've seen the fastball up to 102 miles per hour. Not that velocity is everything. It's a power body and a power arm. We like everything about him, really."
—Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek, on second overall pick Tyler Kolek (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

"It kind of confused me, really. [Gonzalez] told me to go grab a bat and I was just standing at the bat rack completely lost. I had no idea whose helmet I should grab or whose [batting] gloves. It kind of took my mind away from it a little bit, which was helpful and nice."
—Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, on almost coming up to hit for the first time in his career (Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com)

“It was like ‘N Sync with Justin Timberlake or ‘N Sync without Justin Timberlake.”
—Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, on the differences between the first and second halves of his Sunday start. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“He’s in good humor. He obviously got stung pretty good on the backswing by Ortiz. Right now we’re not really sure on the status. They’re calling it a mild concussion — mild to the extent that they think he’ll be fine by (today). That being said, he won’t play (tonight). But they do think he’s going to be fine by the morning.”
—Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, on catcher Alex Avila’s status after being clipped by a David Ortiz swing on Friday. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“They are throwing the pitches, and I’m not doing my part, by swinging at those pitches out of the zone. Things that are not characteristic of me. But that's what they are doing. The one who has to make adjustments is me.”
—White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who has struggled since returning from the DL. Abreu went 1-for-12 in the team’s weekend series against the Angels. (Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune)

“If I strike out like that. I’m upset with myself, but he hustled right out of the box and got on base.”
—Giants slugger Michael Morse, on Angel Pagan beating out a dropped third strike play. This was a key contribution to the Giants’ walk-off win against the Mets on Saturday. (Steve Kroner, San Francisco Chronicle)

“I didn’t really mean for myself to adjust to it, but I definitely have. My mindset is a little different. Normally I’d be like, ‘All right, I'm driving him in.’ But I was trying to set the table and get him over just because we have so many big bats right now.”
—Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, describing his changed approach now that he is hitting second in the lineup. (Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News)

“I’ve never had a pitching coach, just learned from TV. I can’t wait to have a pitching coach behind me.”
Texas Rangers first round pick Luis Ortiz. He models his game after Felix Hernandez. (Mike Heika, The Dallas Morning News)

“I think it means the system is working. I think it just proves that we’re developing the talent and they’re getting to the big leagues.”
—Astros owner Jim Crane. Recently, Astros rookie George Springer won rookie of the month for this past month, and first base prospect Jon Singleton made his MLB debut. (Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle)

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
Morris Greenberg is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Morris's other articles. You can contact Morris by clicking here
Nick Wheatley-Schaller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

Related Content:  Quotes,  Major League Baseball,  MLB

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