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June 30, 2014
The Week in Quotes
THOUGHTS ON TONY GWYNN AND CHEWING TOBACCO
“Honesty. Honesty is what you saw and what you got. He never tried to show anybody up. All he did was do what he did. Even though he was on the other team, you still had to admire the way he went about his business. To me we don’t have many , maybe not any… Derek Jeter has conducted himself in similar fashion. And the whole thing about it is, it’s role models for our kids. Kids are the ones we should be trying to show the way to, and Tony was certainly the type to do that.”
“I was close to him. It was funny that growing up he was my favorite player, and having an opportunity to play for him and actually get to know him from a different perspective, not just as a baseball player. … If the average baseball fan could understand what type of person he was, I think they’d love him so much more.”
“I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it. I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn’t think it was going to be such an addiction. … Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life.”
“I quit chewing tobacco, plain and simple. I’ve been chewing for 11 or 12 years, but I knew I needed to do it during the season because if I could do it during the season around guys doing it all the time, I knew I would be OK.”
“Needless to say, it was pretty awesome. Made the at-bat a little more difficult, had to fight the emotion and the tears and stuff like that. But that’s why guys who play here like to play here. When things are going well or regardless of whether they’re going bad or good, I think the fans stay behind us. Much appreciated by the Gwynn family.”
MAJOR LAWSUIT AGAINST INDIANS UNDERWAY
“It’s been offensive since day one. We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people.”
“Can you imagine the baseball team in this city not being called the Cleveland Indians? I can’t picture that.”
“I’m more busy than playing baseball. In baseball, I just take a few minutes to do my job. Now it’s the whole day. That’s what I wanted to do, help as many people as I can. We are all together for the same reason. It’s humbling to me—I have major leaguers, superstars, I have Hall of Famers, Hall of Famers-to-be, and many others. They’re here to help the foundation and the community.”
“The important thing to me is that he’s able to bounce back. And that the knee is not an issue and it doesn’t get in the way and if it doesn’t then we can have him back fairly quickly. I’m hoping that this little break will help him physically be better and stronger. Because for it to get to that point my thought is maybe there was a little weakness in there before. But our hope is, yes, he will be better and he will be strong and he will help anchor this rotation.”
“This isn't a rebuild. It's a down year. Do the Red Sox maximize some pieces they can trade now to go with some of the other pieces they already have? If they do, I think Koji is a great piece. He may not be that No. 1 starter—a year and a half of David Price or Jeff Samardzija would probably take precedence—but there are clubs looking for bullpen help, and I would certainly think you're looking at the ability to bring back one impactful player and probably a B-level prospect for a guy like Koji.”
"The hitters will let you know what's hard enough. On a night like tonight, when he really had everything working, and he threw the ball where he wanted to, that's what happens. He pitched. I don't think the radar gun really came into play."
“I think it is still coming. It’s still a process. You can’t settle. You’ve always got to keep working. Next time, I want to throw my breaking ball better for strikes. I was able to throw it, but very few were in the zone for good pitches. You’ve always got to get better.”
“I didn't think I had that good command. I didn't focus on that. I threw strikes, and it came out like that. That's probably the best strike-ball ratio I ever threw in my life.”
“More than anything, probably just getting out of my zone, chasing the pitch they want me to chase. I’ve got to have overall better at-bats, and if they walk me, take the walk, let the next guy do it. A little bit over-eager when guys get on second base. Right now it's something I've got to mentally get past and realize it's just another at-bat… I'm just searching a little bit. I've been searching for a while. At some point, it's got to come around. It always does. But obviously it's late June. It's a battling time. You've got to keep battling. Whether things are going well with the team or not well, you have to keep working hard and trust that it's going to come around.”
“That’s a bizarre outing—you (give up no hits over four innings) and strike out nine, then they score all their runs off the home run in the next two. That’s a bizarre outing.”
“I’ve been able to work out of some trouble this year that maybe in prior years I haven’t been so good at. I’ve been able to slow the game down a little bit better and recognize situations and understand when is the time to pound them with sinkers and when is the time to mix it up, especially with runners on base… In years past, I’ve fallen into the habit of throwing a lot of sinkers because that’s my best pitch and maybe not necessarily setting it up and going about it in the right way.”
“I just have confidence in myself. A lot of people say I’m like C.J. Wilson or Derek Holland. I like to think I am. I’m a big fan of David Price, too. He’s a bulldog on the mound. That’s how I take it when I’m on the mound. Now, I’m not 6-4. I’m only 5-11. But I feel like I’ve got the stuff that’s good enough to pitch in the pros right now.”
“I get that question a lot. I think a majority of that comes down to the fact that most catchers are wired to have their mind and eyes on multiple things, which can happen with other position players, but I don’t think it’s as common.”
“Obviously there's a lefty going, so I didn't really expect to play just because of that fact. But it's kind of something we've both been dealing with, having success and then not playing the next day. It's different, but it's what our roles are right now.”
"A guy came up and in on me throwing 95 or whatever and just dropped me. It knocked me out for five or 10 seconds. I got up and I had a huge knot on my head where it hit the rim of the helmet and the helmet bent in. Thank God it hit the helmet. It caused a hematoma on the outside of my skull, and I had to have surgery to close off a small artery in my temple that had been cut open and healed closed and created a big blood knot (on my forehead).”
“He’s a coach first and a player second. He’s here to help our young players make the transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues and to show them how hard he works, how well he works, which he does an unbelievable job.”
"There's a wide range of what he can do. It puts something in your head, he's a tough guy to go up there and sit on a pitch because you never know what you're going to get. He has a heck of a mix, he drops down, invents some stuff out there. He's fun to catch."
"His change is going to be important keeping those guys off his fastball. I thought he threw a lot of changeups his first start and they were really good for a young guy. The changeup is going to be huge for him. The slider is an out pitch. The key to him will be to be able to locate and throw that slider for strikes. He's going to have to do that to get deeper into games."
“I feel like trying to throw a true four-seamer and it's coming out more like a two-seamer. I'm not saying that it's got the two-seam rotations but it's got the movement of a two-seamer, so it's got too much left-to-right action. It's not really keeping the angle and not really pounding it down, and I think it's just something that I kind of focus in on mechanically to get back to hitting the spots a little bit better and not having it tail over the plate.”
"So he'll report, see how he feels. Again, nine innings his first time out last night. We have to look at how he feels today, but he can DH tonight... Three, five, seven, nine (innings) - he's progressing. We certainly want him back-to-back nines, whether it's mixing a day off in there or not. One nine-inning stint is not enough. So we'd have to go (nine innings) again at least. So that could be today, it could be tomorrow… I'm not going to share it just yet. But yeah, I do. I have a plan."
“When you're that guy, it's hard to be realistic about doing away with something like that. You can make suggestions, especially after an injury. It's something we address frequently. I don't want to take away the backyard mentality of trying to make a play the best way they feel they can make it.”
"I just fight, fight, fight, trying to make contact. I stayed with my approach. Then when he throws the ball in the middle, I have to hit it. Yeah, I knew [it was gone]."
“He’s got an arm. It’s a little erratic. And late in the game [Friday], there were some situations where he didn’t know where he was at. We were telling him to play in [at shortstop] and he was backing up. That’s understandable. He’s been in A-ball. He’s got a lot to learn… We all saw where his talent is right [now], it’s his swing and his running. He was flying. Very talented young man. He’s just has to improve on his defense. He’s got the skills. He’s got the arm.”
“It doesn’t seem like he’s getting much better. I don’t think he’s comfortable with it. He can play if we get into an emergency situation. Unless that happens, he won’t play.”
“I think we all look for the opportunity to pick the team up, look for a way to be positive.”
“It doesn’t really come into play except in the aftermath. It’s pretty cool. Those guys have done a lot for this game, and hopefully I can be in their shoes some day. It’s definitely something I savor.”
Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus.