June 9, 2014
The Week in Quotes
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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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!’”
“Tell Birdie Tebbetts he could probably get me for a dozen baseball bats.”
“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.”
“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.”
“He didn't have a church, so church was here.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
‘‘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.’’
"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."
"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.”
“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.”
“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.”
"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."
"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."
“It was like ‘N Sync with Justin Timberlake or ‘N Sync without Justin Timberlake.”
“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.”
“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.”
“If I strike out like that. I’m upset with myself, but he hustled right out of the box and got on base.”
“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.”
“I’ve never had a pitching coach, just learned from TV. I can’t wait to have a pitching coach behind me.”
“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.”
Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus.