GAME NO. 163
“He has logged well over 200 innings (217). For us to try and roll the dice knowing the outcome of what happened earlier in the year in Arizona, it wouldn’t have been a wise decision.”
“We’d have been really screwed if somehow we had gotten beaten with Peavy on the mound with three days’ rest and not had him in this tiebreaker game.”
–Towers (Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com)
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK
“We had a good team, we had a good group of guys on top of that. I prayed about this a lot. For some reason, it just came over me that we were going to do it this year.”
“You can’t explain why things happen and why you feel certain ways, but it happened. So when the question was asked, ‘Do you think you’re the team to beat?’ I said, ‘Yes, finally, I think this is our year.'”
“I’m not worried about that type of stuff right now, but it is nice to hear. It’s overwhelming, really.”
–Rollins, on his MVP candidacy. (Andy Jasner, MLB.com)
YOU’VE GOT TO BE MENTALLY TOUGH
“I grew up in a small place. It was a redneck town, [and] I had to be a mentally tough guy. When I was a kid, there were 13 kids in our family. I used to have to fight for my breakfast. For someone to say something , that’s fine. I can handle all that. That’s how you win sometimes, by showing, rather than reacting.”
—Charlie Manuel, Phillies manager. (Mark Herrmann, Newsday)
“This has been an incredible ride, and we’ve got to keep going.”
–Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell
“I’m no prophet, just a baseball player.”
–Jimmy Rollins, on his preseason prediction of a title.
THEY CALL HIM THE DREAMCRUSHER
“[Bleep] everybody on the Mets. I’m going to kick their butts.”
—Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, after a brawl with the Mets on Saturday. The Marlins knocked the Mets out of playoff contention the next day.
“[Olivo] said, ‘You want to fight?’ and I thought he was kidding. So I said, ‘OK, let’s go.’ But I didn’t understand it because he is my friend. We were talking before the game.”
–Mets shortstop Jose Reyes
“Yeah, I did. I missed. He’s lucky, too.”
–Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo, on taking a swing at Jose.
“I saw everybody tried to get me. I’m not scared of anybody. I can take anybody anywhere. I don’t care. I saw DiFelice and–what’s that pitcher? Perez? That’s the two pieces of [garbage] they have on the team. If they have a problem with me, I don’t care. Any time, anywhere.”
“[The Marlins] just took it personally. They were probably mad because I watched [the home run]. I understand why they were mad, but so what? I don’t care.”
–Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge
“I don’t care if it’s broke, I’m going to play. It’s not good for them. because they need that game [today]. And we need it, too.”
ENEMIES WITHOUT AND WITHIN
“We’ve been throwing four innings a night, for months! Our pitching coach has no experience talking to a bullpen. He can help you mechanically, but he can’t tell you emotions. He has no idea what it feels like. And neither does Willie. They’re not a lot of help, put it that way.”
–Mets closer Billy Wagner, in comments reprinted in the New York Post.
“I don’t want people to misinterpret what I was saying. I wasn’t trying to knock Willie or Rick, because they’ve been great. As bad as we’ve played, they’ve been the most supportive coaches I’ve probably been around.”
–Wagner, clarifying his comments.
“This is not the time for this kind of article to come out. We believe in Willie. We believe in Rick. And we wouldn’t be where we’re at today if it wasn’t for their leadership, and constantly patting us on the back and kicking us in the butt.”
“It’s never about me. I want that clarified–it’s not about me. It’s the results that we’re dealing with. I definitely don’t want to sound like I’m trying to be a loud mouth, or a leader of this team. Because I’m not the leader of this team.”
–Wagner (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)
FLUSHING THE SEASON AWAY
“We f—ed it up as a team, plain and simple.”
—Pedro Martinez, Mets starter, on the Mets’ historic collapse.
“I’m here to win. That’s what it’s all about for me. I’m not here trying to impress anyone. Money is not an issue for me. I’m here to win and teach these guys how to play winning baseball. When I don’t do that, obviously they’re going to get rid of me or whatever. I don’t have any qualms, any problems, any worries about stuff like that. I grew up in this town. I know how things work.”
–Mets manager Willie Randolph
“We were in a tailspin, and there was no conceivable reason why. Obviously, it’s painful. It hurts. At the same time, we did it to ourselves. We gradually let it slip away. In all honesty, we didn’t deserve to make the playoffs.”
–Mets third baseman David Wright
“He’s a great manager. I’ll go to war with Willie any day. He’s not in here jumping up and down and hollering when we win and he’s not throwing guys under the bus when we lose. It’s not his fault. It’s the 37, 38 guys in this room who didn’t do their jobs.”
–Wright (Anthony Rieber, Newsday)
HE’LL NEVER WORK IN THIS TOWN AGAIN! FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF STAYING HERE
“He said he wanted to explore other options, that it doesn’t come along very often in this game when there are options to be explored.”
–Marlins GM Larry Beinfest, on the departure of Marlins pitching coach Rick Kranitz.
“The bottom line here for me, either you’re in or you’re out. Either you are committed and want to be here–and those are the people we’re looking for–or you’re not. And Krannie was not able to make that commitment.”
“We thought that Krannie was doing the job. We thought he could help us next year. We wanted him back. As far as the talent level on the field, if we didn’t have the quality of pitching, then that’s my fault. I’m accountable to that. Krannie worked with what we gave him and we thought he did a good enough job to return.”
–Beinfest (Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post)
OK, LET’S REALLY TRY TO WIN NEXT YEAR, ALL TOGETHER THIS TIME
“I don’t want the topic of conversation to be who’s in third place.”
“I hope this gets turned around immediately.”
–Young (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
COMPARING YOURSELF TO THE WORST DEFENSIVE SHORTSTOP IN BASEBALL ISN’T GOING TO DO YOU ANY FAVORS
“I’m angry because this is not the time for this. Why don’t they talk about changing [New York Yankees shortstop] Derek Jeter‘s position? Jeter has, like, 20 errors. We’re not winning. We’re not a winning team. Why do they keep talking about me, me, me?”
—Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, on talk of moving him off short.
“That’s what I said, I’d prefer to go somewhere else and show the world how good of a shortstop I am when I’m playing on a good team.”
“Miguel is all about winning. It was clear from us talking. He wants to win. It’s that simple. He made it clear that he likes it here and would like to stay here. But he also wants to win.”
–Orioles president Andy MacPhail, on his meeting with Tejada. (Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun)
“I sat with Wang, which is really boring. That’s one thing I found out: There’s not a whole lot going on.”
—Joe Torre, on letting Jorge Posada manage the final game of the season. (Adam Himmelsbach, The New York Times)
“Us young guys, we have to learn on the go, we’ve just got to learn in the big leagues. That’s why you see most of us … when we play different teams, we talk to all of the veterans and get as much as we can from them. In the weight room we talk to them as much as we can, trying to pick their brains apart.”
–Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir. (Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times)
“Sports are a lot like politics–spin plays a big role. You can tell a very good story this offseason for the Rockies and Brewers. The Brewers have a lot of up-and-coming players. But with the Mets’ collapse, there’s no way to put a positive spin on it, especially in a market like New York.”
—Marc Ganis, sports marketing consultant (Chris Isidore, CNNmoney.com)
“A.J., to a large degree, still has some untapped talent. I still believe he can be a .300 hitter like he was prior to getting here. I also believe he can hit with power and drive in some big runs, and he’s done that over the past few years. More importantly, he’s a guy we have won a championship with. It’s our last bit of housecleaning before we started the offseason.”
—White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, on re-signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a two-year deal. (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
“I can’t believe he did that. I’ve never gotten anything like that. For him to go and do something like that, I don’t think I can put into words how much that means to me.”
–D’backs manager Bob Melvin, on Livan Hernandez buying him a magnum of Cristal to celebrate the NL West championship.
“I’m not the only one doing it. I play every day. I don’t complain about going out there. I’ll see you guys next year, because I’m shut down tomorrow.”
—Delmon Young, Rays right fielder, after not running out a ground ball. (Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times)
“That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life. It looked like Hank Aaron breaking the home run record.”
–Mariners closer J.J. Putz, on the homer. (David Andriesen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.