POOL-GATE DAMPENS DODGERS CLINCHER
“You have to give credit where credit is due. They won the division; congratulations to them, but I would expect them to act with a little more class than they did. I doubt the New York Yankees would do something like that.”
—Diamondbacks infielder Willie Bloomquist, on the Dodgers celebrating their clinching of the NL West by jumping into Chase Field’s outfield pool. (Tyler Emerick, MLB.com)
“I didn't like it, but at the same time, we could have prevented them from doing it. I don't think I can tell them what they should or should not do, but whether I like it or not is a different thing.”
—Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“That celebration is the culmination of a long, long season and it's like Little League when you win. It's exciting. That stuff is spontaneous. I don't think it was planned to disrespect anybody or embarrass anybody. Everybody was gone, maybe 100 fans were left. We weren't rubbing it in anybody's face.
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“If we won it here, would the Padres be mad if we jumped the fence and made sand castles?”
—Mattingly. If not for Thursday’s win against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers’ next chance to clinch the NL West would have come at PETCO Park, where there is a beach beyond center field. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)
“A dozen people in Chicago were shot yesterday and everybody's talking about a swimming party. It's kind of a sad statement.”
—Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis.
LOOKING TO OCTOBER
“I'm planning on actually getting goggles this year. Last year my eyes were burning (from the champagne).”
—Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, after Friday’s win against Minnesota. Donaldson popped champagne on Sunday after the Rangers’ loss clinched the Athletics’ second consecutive AL West crown. (Matt Kawahara, Sacramento Bee)
“We feel like we can win anywhere. I'd much rather have home-field advantage, but do I want home-field advantage and not have Hanley or Adrian in the lineup? No.”
—Mattingly, on managing the team’s nagging injuries. Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier have all missed time over the past week due to injury. (Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times)
“This is different because in years past it was almost expected. To go through some of the things we’ve gone through the past three years, the injuries and nonsense and everything, to finally be back at this point is very, very rewarding.”
—Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, on the reversal of fortune that has led the Red Sox to win the AL East, after finishing last in 2012. (Peter Abraham, Boston Globe)
“Get on the bandwagon, there’s plenty of room. We ain’t done.”
—Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes.
“You're going to have four days off after the [regular] season, before the playoffs start. And all of a sudden, if you rest him three or four days now, that's seven out of eight days you don't play your best hitter going into the playoffs, without seeing a pitcher. That's not good either.
—Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on how he will handle injured slugger Miguel Cabrera’s playing time heading into the postseason. (Jason Beck, MLB.com)
LOOKING FOR OCTOBER
“If you make the playoffs, you should get at least two out of three. There's a difference between a one-game playoff if you finish the season in a tie and then the playoffs." … If [giving division winners too much time off is] a big concern, you could suck it up. I'm not into that expeditious mode. I've never been into making this thing happen more quickly, whether it's the game or the season. Including more doubleheaders in the season would shorten the number of days, and then you could fill it up at the end. There are creative ways to get that done in order to keep everybody happy and make it slightly more fair.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, explaining his thoughts about the year-old wild card format. (Adam Berry and Sam Strong, MLB.com)
“We are going to have to win out and hope for the best on other sides. It's not easy playing the game as is, but we battle and we grind, and sometimes it's like the saying Jim Thome used to use: 'Sometimes you are the bug, sometimes you are the windshield.' Past couple of days we've been the bug, so we need to get back to being that windshield.”
—Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, on the team’s dwindling odds to make the playoffs. (Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com)
“For us to get where we wanted to, we know we needed them. Now it seems like they're swinging a potent bat. That's nice to have. Every once in a while, you need a three-run homer. You can talk all you want about playing the game right, and we certainly try, but it's nice to spread a game out with a three-run homer.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, on the power-hitting contributions needed from team leaders Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher if the Indians want to clinch a postseason berth. (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)
“Meaningful baseball is something we've been wanting. For a lot of these guys that have been around here for six or seven years, this is real exciting, especially for those guys, and even for us young guys to play meaningful baseball in September in the big leagues is awesome. I think we've just got to keep a level head and keep pushing.”
—Royals reliever Tim Collins, on the team’s chance to break its long-standing playoff drought. (Dick Kaegel, MLB.com)
BILLY HAMILTON RUNS WILD IN FIRST MLB START
“My job is to steal bases, no matter how many I get. That's an accomplishment to get four in one game. Who knows what comes next?"
—Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton after going 3-for-4 with four stolen bases in his first career MLB start this week. (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
“He has a chance to be a great basestealer. He's one of those guys like a Rickey Henderson. You know they're running and there's not much you can do. You hope you hold the ball long enough so he doesn't get his best jump."
—Astros manager Bo Porter on Hamilton
“Billy makes it happen. Speed kills. I gave him the green light to go whenever he wants to — a couple of times when he was on second, I'd hold him because we couldn't afford to get him thrown out at third. Man, it was a great game.”
—Reds manager Dusty Baker (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)
“It was a pretty big game. I'm excited about it. Coming in, I was nervous. I got on the field and guys were on my side. They said, 'You've got to go between the white lines, no matter what level you're on.' That really gave me a bunch of confidence and settled me down a bit."
“He's amazing. Everybody in the ballpark knows he's going to steal. Everybody knows why he's in the game but nobody can throw him out. I don't know how he does it. It's been amazing to watch these last few weeks."
—Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco (John Perrotto, Sports on Earth)
“I'm not cocky but I have a lot of confidence in myself. It's like if I get caught stealing. If it happens, I'm going to run again the next time. If they want to be in the big leagues next year, I'll make sure I'm ready for it."
SAYING GOODBYE TO TWO MORE OF THE “CORE FOUR”
“(It’s) the end of an era for us and us being together. It happens. You should know this is not forever. The time will come and that time has arrived. You have to embrace it and move on.”
—Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, on the aging and legacy of the Yankees’ “Core Four” (Rivera, Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter). (Roger Rubin, New York Daily News)
“He was so supportive and told me I had to announce it. He thinks it’s going to make the day (Sunday) even better. To hear him say that, and to feel that way about it, I feel like we’re connected, in a sense. I feel like God has worked it out where it’s happened this way.”
—Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, on Rivera’s role in Pettitte’s retirement announcement. (Anthony McCarron, New York Daily News)
"To you fans, thank you for 19 years of support," Rivera told the crowd. "It has been a great run, guys. You guys have been amazing, you always have been here for me and for the organization. I will never forget that. You guys will have part of my heart here in New York. You have taken me in like one of you guys and I do appreciate that."
—Rivera, speaking to the fans during his jersey retirement ceremony at Yankee Stadium. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)
“I’m very thankful and blessed that people will even bring up my name in that conversation. I’ve had the success I’ve had because so many great players have been around me. Do I feel like I dominated this sport as a pitcher? No, I don’t. Every outing, for me, I feel like, has been an absolute grind.”
—Pettitte, on his case for the Hall of Fame.
“I’ve been retired and I know what it’s going to be like and it’s awesome.”
—Pettitte, on whether he will miss baseball in the coming years.
“This is for you, Mariano!”
—Metallica lead singer James Hetfield, before playing “Enter Sandman” – Rivera’s longtime entrance song – during Sunday’s pregame celebration of Rivera’s career. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)
Since the remainder of the regular season is pointless can I just come pitch in Oakland? Would be nice to get my cup of coffee out the way.
—Athletics minor leaguer Jeremy Barfield, with a public plea for the big leagues.
“It was a crazy play. I liked the play, but I didn’t like all that face in the butt. I felt uncomfortable and violated. I know he felt violated too. I’m glad it wasn’t my face.”
—Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, on Jonathan Villar’s “butt slide.” (Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle)
“Obviously, Ted Williams is the greatest hitter who ever lived; I am not. To be in that type of company means I’m old, I guess.”
—Mariners outfielder Raul Ibanez, who hit his 29th home run of the season on Saturday, tying him with Williams for the most home runs in an age-41 season. (Joseph D’Hippolito, Seattle Times)
“I've been wanting to do that for 17 seasons. Now I can cross that off my bucket list. It had never worked—that was the first time. Five or six times, I've given it a halfhearted effort. I can't believe it worked.”
—Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, on pulling off the hidden-ball trick on Matt Carpenter during Thursday’s game. (Patrick Saunders, Denver Post)
“I'm sure with any personality that goes to a rival, it's not going to be a warm and fuzzy reaction. I don't understand that, though. They could have signed him. They let him go. It's not like he decided to leave. It'll probably be half and half. A lot of people appreciated what he was able to accomplish, and there will be a mix of traitor talk.”
—Mattingly, on what he expects the fan reaction to be when Brian Wilson makes his return to San Francisco next week. (Austin Laymance, MLB.com)
“You can look at it two ways. Obviously, I hate striking out. I hate it and I hate it in certain situations more than others. But the type of hitter that I am, I’m still going to walk a fair amount, I’m going to see pitches and I’m going to get myself into counts. … It is what it is. At least I’ve been around here long enough to accumulate them.”
—Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who is closing in on becoming the franchise’s all-time strikeout leader. (Jeff Sanders, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“If you spend a lot of time around Bedard, he’s not really a guy that talks too much, especially not in crowds or groups of people, but I’ve witnessed him grabbing guys one-on-one and having that mentor type of relationship. That’s valuable, especially for the number of young guys that we have here.”
—Astros manager Bo Porter, on the relationship that veteran Erik Bedard has with the club’s young pitching staff. (Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle)
“I told them I would be very generous to stay here. I wouldn’t sit there and ask for anything outlandish. I’d definitely take a discount to stay here because I think I owe it to them to stay here and be a cheaper player. Nobody wants to play for free but I basically sat there and watched all season. I owe it to them and the fans to come back at a cheaper price. That’s kind of what we’re hoping for but at the same time I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
—Brewers outfielder Corey Hart (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
“They have to evaluate, just like we have to evaluate our players and make a decision when the season is over on them as well. It’s the same thing. It’s the way the game is … I’ve been happy with the way we’ve done things. Obviously some things haven’t gone too well, and some things have gone really well. I’m happy with my coaching staff, but that’s up to them. They’re the bosses and they make those decisions and evaluate.”
—Cubs manager Dale Sveum on his uncertain status beyond this season. (Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune)
“Like I always say, I'd rather be lucky than good. Sale is a tough man to face. For some reason, I've been able to put good swings on him and find holes. Honestly, those are not fun at-bats, trust me.”
—Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez on facing White Sox ace Chris Sale. (Bobby Nightengale, MLB.com)
“They mount over the years, unfortunately. They seem to get more and more extreme. As a player, all you can do is control what you do on the field. As a coach, you can't control anything. As a manager, you just sit here and hope and worry. I think the superstitions probably come a little bit more controlling, put it that way.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin on his many superstitions. (Jeff Kirshman, MLB.com)
“We kind of have that loose, free-and-easy attitude. That's something that you can't teach, the kind of chemistry that we have in the clubhouse. I knew we were onto something. Just the way everyone goes about their business, it's great to be at the ballpark, great to be in the clubhouse.”
—Indians pitcher Scott Kazmir (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)