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60 ACROSS: “MARRIAGE IS _____”: CERVANTES

“That’s the way I fight boredom.”

–Marlins reliever Jim Mecir, on doing crossword puzzles (Miami Herald)

“The New York Times has a lot of those questions where it’s like ‘Jeopardy’ knowledge. Either you know it, or that’s it. You might have two letters left, and you still can’t get it.”

–Mecir

“I enjoy it. I’ve been doing this for a while. I’m not real good, [but] I can do the local ones.”

–Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella

“Image is a lot. More and more athletes are being thrust into the spotlight and being asked to represent themselves very intelligently verbally. In our society, we place a lot of emphasis on the verbal aspects of perceived intelligence. So if somebody’s very high in vocabulary, for example, we make an assumption that they’re very well read and experienced and intelligent.”

–clinical and sports performance psychologist John F. Murray

“I don’t know if it’s helped my game. It’s an outlet for useless information. [Knowing the meaning of] ‘insidious’ is not really something that’s going to play into the baseball scale of things. It’s just stretching your mind out a little bit and trying to figure out what letter goes where. I wouldn’t look at it any farther than that.”

— Cubs reliever Will Ohman

“I’m a pretty good fountain of obscure, random, useless knowledge. So when I don’t know something, I come away saying, ‘OK, I’ve got to know what that is.'”

–Ohman

“The nice thing is they always print the answers the next day.”

–Ohman

MODESTY IS MY BEST QUALITY

“If people think we’re going to run away with it, I don’t believe so.”

–White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on winning the AL Central (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“We’re not that good. We have to keep playing the way we’re playing and concentrate to win games. To be comfortable, you can’t be comfortable at all–because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

–Guillen

“I’m just having some luck right now and making my pitches. I’m sure there will be a rough time when it won’t look that easy.”

–White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, on his success

“They’ve done a good job at our expense. We just look like we’re certainly not doing much right. We’re in one of those stretches right now. We’ve had a tough time. It hasn’t been one area. We haven’t hit; we’re having trouble scoring runs. But we haven’t pitched well either.”

–Twins GM Terry Ryan, on the Sox’ success (New York Times)

“We can’t keep up with the White Sox–they’re ripping through everybody. They’ve got the best record in the major leagues. If people say we need to keep up with the White Sox, then we’ve got no chance. All we can do is keep playing ball, and we’ll try to sneak that wild card out of there.”

–Twins center fielder Torii Hunter, on catching up to the White Sox (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

RED IS THE ULTIMATE CURE FOR SADNESS

“I’ll tell them they stink if I think they stink and I hope they prove me wrong. I’ve done that and have had guys prove me right.”

–interim Reds manager Jerry Narron, on his approach to the team (Dayton Daily News)

“We’re a one-dimensional club; we hit the ball out of the park. That may be OK in the American League, but you can’t do it in the National League. You have to be able to manufacture runs. We’re going to have to try to do some things not expected at times.”

–Narron, on the home run-hitting approach (New York Times)

“I’m having a good time. The guys here are good dudes, and it probably was good for me to get away from the bad atmosphere that was in the Reds clubhouse.”

–outfielder Austin Kearns, currently in AAA Louisville, on being in the minors (Dayton Daily News)

“There comes a time when you want to get established with a team and play every day. Every time I’m with the Reds, they try to play four or five outfielders. You can’t work your way out of any slump because they put you on the bench.”

–Kearns

“I called him on that because I’ve heard there is. When Washington was in town, [Nationals GM] Jim Bowden told both Adam Dunn and me he continues to try to make trades for us.”

–Kearns, responding to Reds GM Dan O’Brien’s assertion that there’s no trade interest in Kearns

“In my opinion, that’s my opinion, which I’m entitled to have, Miley didn’t communicate enough. And I didn’t do it behind his back. Four or five times, I went to him and told him he needed to communicate more with the players.”

–Reds infielder Rich Aurilia, on former Reds manager Dave Miley

“Not everybody is going to like you. I understand that. And I read some of the things Aurilia said. I don’t understand why he didn’t like me. I played him, even when he wasn’t going good early in the year.”

–recently fired Reds manager Dave Miley

“I never asked [current Reds pitcher Eric Milton] and he never said it, but I got the sense he might be wishing he went somewhere else. I’m guessing a lot of guys over there wish they were somewhere else. They’re all envious of me.”

–former Red and current Met Danny Graves (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“I was one of the lucky ones who got out. I was fortunate. It was going downhill so badly. I was so glad to get out when I did. It’s too bad. Cincinnati is a great baseball town. But they’ve got a lot of problems in that organization. I feel bad for the guys over there. It’s got to be miserable for them. They’re all loving it for me.”

–Graves

“THE METS HAVE GOTTEN THEIR LEADOFF BATTER ON ONLY ONCE THIS INNING…”

“The thing about Jose is he’s so young and inexperienced, he gives you flashes of what a leadoff hitter’s supposed to be, but then he goes up and down. He’s got, what, 80 hits? That’s a lot of hits.”

–Mets manager Willie Randolph, on putting Jose Reyes and his .287 OBP back in the leadoff spot (New York Newsday)

“When he’s getting his hits, forgetting about the walks for a change, he looks and feels more like a leadoff guy. If he continues to get his hits like that, he’s going to be up there a lot more. He gets us going. It’s as plain and simple as that.”

–Randolph

“I’m going to do what Dusty wants me to do, but I’d love to be up at the top of the lineup. That’s where I have hit most of my life.”

–Cubs second baseman Todd Walker, who has been hitting sixth while Corey Patterson and Neifi Perez have been hitting 1-2 in the order (Chicago Sun-Times)

“My whole theory is you can’t steal first base. I’m not going to steal bases, but … what difference does it makes if you’re stealing second when Derrek Lee is hitting like he’s hitting with doubles and homers? If you can get on base in front of those guys, you have a chance. If you’re not, the reverse is true.”

–Walker

“I have learned that even though you might have certain opinions on things, Dusty is more knowledgeable than most people probably give him credit for. Corey can carry a team, but right now he’s not playing like he’s capable.”

–Walker

WE’RE NOT WORTHY! WE’RE NOT WORTHY!

“I think Carlos and Brady put those up.”

–Brewers manager Ned Yost, on the signs hung around Miller Park urging fans to vote outfielders Carlos Lee and Brady Clark onto the All-Star team (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

“You can’t beat Comerica Park. I don’t know what’s going on in Detroit, but when the All-Star Game comes to town, it’s going to happen. I can come to Arkansas and people are going to throw parties, and you’re going to have fun wherever you go. It doesn’t matter if it’s Detroit or whatever.”

–Twins center fielder Torii Hunter (Detroit Free Press)

“I think he deserves it, absolutely. There’s nothing I can do. What do I do? Do I say, ‘I don’t deserve it and I’m not going to go?’ What do I do?”

–Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez, who leads AL first basemen in All-Star votes, on Texas’ Mark Teixeira (New York Times)

“[Angels players] say they’d like to vote for me for the All-Star team, but they can’t vote for someone with no home runs.”

–Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy (Los Angeles Daily News)

“I don’t know, man. It would be a very huge honor considering that our manager is not the [NL] manager. I mean, honestly I would start one of his [La Russa’s] guys. They have a couple of guys who are throwing the ball well, like [Matt] Morris. So if I made the team, I would want him to start one of his guys, to be honest.”

–Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis, on being considered to start the All-Star game (MLB.com)

“I won’t be mad at all. How can you be upset at an All-Star Game?”

–Willis, on how he’d feel if he wasn’t chosen to start

THE REST

“We didn’t think that Park’s ‘cabbage pitches’ are illegal. But such practices can interrupt games, and we don’t want other young players to imitate it.”

–The Korean Baseball Organization’s rules committee chairman Hur Koo-yeon , on banning pitcher Park Myung-hwan from using iced cabbage leaves to keep himself cool during games (Korea Times)

“He threw me a pitch tonight I’ve never seen before. I’m sure it was a splitter, but it was wacky. It, like, knuckled up there, like a [Tim] Wakefield pitch.”

–Seattle first baseman Richie Sexson, on Oakland pitcher Rich Harden (San Francisco Chronicle)

“The umpire said, ‘This guy throws ghost pitches.’ [He] was asking me,
‘What was that?’ I told him I didn’t know.”

–Sexson

“Kirk Gibson got me once and hit me so hard I hurt for three days. If you let me hit Gibson every day for a year, I’d still owe him for that one.”

–Mariners catcher Pat Borders, on the worst home plate collision in his career (Tacoma News-Tribune)

“I was in Alaska pitching in the summer league for the North Pole Nicks. The uniform was red with white stripes and a bright green belt. Across the chest, Santa Claus was swinging a bat–I kid you not.”

–Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price, on the worst uniform he ever wore

“Here’s how undistinguished my big-league career was. I appeared in 10 games–six as a starter, four as a reliever. Three of those relief appearances were to go in and retaliate for Carlton Fisk being hit. I succeeded all three times.”

–Pirates bullpen coach Bruce Tanner (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“It was a contract written in invisible ink. Or an exploding contract. My contract already blew up.”

–outfielder Doug Glanville, on signing a one-day contract so he could retire as a Phillie (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“This was Doug’s first multi-hour deal.”

–Phillies GM Ed Wade

“When I see guys come out after five or six innings and hear someone say, ‘He had a [heck] of a game and gave it all he had,’ I get a little tired of that. When I played, pitchers who went five and six innings were afraid of getting cut at the end of the year.”

–former White Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood (Chicago Tribune)

John Erhardt is an editorial assistant at Baseball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John’s other articles.