Skip to content

Ballplayers: paid to hit and pitch, but they talk to the media anyway

Jul 15, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

Media Day

We’re in the middle of the NL player availabilities right now. The AL players will be made available in a few minutes. Somewhere right now there is a press conference about the Home Run Derby about to start. I’m not going to it because no one will be honest and say “Well, I’m just gonna try to hit the ball really far and see what happens.” Who needs it?

These events are really for the folks who live on player quotes. We, obviously, don’t live on player quotes here at HBT. Unless they’re funny or controversial, of course. Then we go to town. But hearing and repeating that it’s an honor to be selected to the All-Star game and that they’re soaking it all in and they’d like to thank the fans who voted for them, well, that doesn’t do a ton for us. And I’ve never been the fan of “ask the ballplayer the off-the-wall question!” school of journalism. Let’s leave that to gimmicky NFL people on the Super Bowl media day. Baseball and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog don’t mix that well.

Still, I went down and talked to some NL players and will talk to some AL players later because, heck, maybe someone would say something funny or controversial. No one did to me (we’ll have to wait for stories from other reporters before we know for sure). I talked to Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman and Andrew McCutchen. I was in a giant scrum around David Wright. I listened in on about a dozen other players being interviewed by other reporters. Among the highlights:

  • Jim Leyland had said earlier that, no surprise, Mariano Rivera will close the game out if necessary for the AL. I asked Kimbrel if Bruce Bochy had given any indication of the closer pecking order for the NL. I told him that he can answer quietly so Jason Grilli, sitting nearby, wouldn’t hear. Kimbrel said that he had no idea as he landed in New York about ten minutes ago and that I was like the fourth person he saw. When asked (by someone else) what his favorite park to pitch in was, he said “the big ones.”
  • Freeman is disappointed by the fact that a day or two after he won the Final Vote thing he got hurt and now isn’t able to play. I almost think winning the vote for him was the most fun part about it, though. He figured he’d get killed by Puig in the voting and thinks his family back in Orange County stuffed the ballot box like crazy. I told him 19 million people voted for him. He laughed and said “well, they helped.”
  • Jason Grilli is honored to be here. He also is unaware of any closer pecking order for the NL. Nor does he know if he’s the pitcher that Bruce Bochy has chosen to hold out of the game in case it goes 16 innings or something. I said that that’d probably be a starter. He said “yeah.”
  • Unsurprisingly, Andrew McCutchen does not think the Pirates are going to collapse this year. I asked him if that question bugs him. He added that it’s way better to be asked about a team collapsing than never having the team be good enough to inspire that question in the first place. He didn’t put it quite like that — he sort of got to that point after many words — but that was the idea. I feel like it was one of those things that, back in the day before tape recorders and media scrums, one single sports writer — a Damon Runyon type — would craft it into a more pointed and witty quote and attribute it to McCutchen all the same.

Sometimes I’m kinda sad we don’t live in those days, actually. I like to think of ballplayers as witty raconteur-types. But they aren’t. They’re ballplayers and they’re paid to crush baseballs, not say witty things to sweaty reporters. And therein lies my basic issue with the game of player quotes.

Latest Posts
  1. Phillies have “legitimate interest” in Yasmani Tomas

    Sep 17, 2014, 9:59 PM EDT

    yasmani tomas cuba getty Getty Images

    CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury hears that Phillies have “legitimate interest” in signing Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas, whose price tag is expected to top $100 million.

  2. Brewers intend to exercise their half of a $14 million 2015 mutual option on Aramis Ramirez

    Sep 17, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    aramis ramirez getty Getty Images

    Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Brewers intend to exercise their half of a $14 million mutual option on Aramis Ramirez for the 2015 season. But will the veteran third baseman exercise his half?

  3. Derek Jeter snaps 0-for-28 slump

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

    Derek Jeter AP AP

    His worst career slump remains 0-for-32 in 2004.

  4. Carlos Beltran excused from Yankees for family issue

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:23 PM EDT

    carlos beltran getty Getty Images

    Carlos Beltran has been excused from the Yankees to deal with a private family matter, according to MLB.com beat reporter Bryan Hoch, with manager Joe Girardi saying Wednesday afternoon that the veteran will be given “as much time as he needs.”

  5. Video: Matt Duffy hits pinch-hit two-run single, Giants now within two games of Dodgers

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:41 PM EDT

    matt duffy getty Getty Images

    Watch as Matt Duffy smacks this pinch-hit two-run single in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday at Arizona’s Chase Field to put the Giants ahead of the Diamondbacks for good …

  6. Ryan Raburn to undergo knee surgery

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

    Raburn parlayed a very productive season in a part-time role with the Indians last year into a two-year deal, but he hit just .200 with four homers and a .547 OPS in 74 games.

  7. Dioner Navarro out of Blue Jays’ lineup with dizziness

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

    Casey Janssen, Dioner Navarro Casey Janssen, Dioner Navarro

    After playing fewer than 100 games in each of the previous four years Navarro has had a solid season as Toronto’s primary catcher, hitting .282 with 12 homers and a .734 OPS in 131 games at age 30.

  8. Michael Wacha cleared to return Saturday vs. Reds

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

    wacha getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM, the Cardinals have cleared right-hander Michael Wacha to return to the starting rotation this Saturday evening against the visiting Reds.

  9. Twins closer Glen Perkins unavailable due to neck injury

    Sep 17, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT

    Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

    Perkins had a 2.44 ERA with just two homers allowed and a 64/9 K/BB ratio in his first 55 innings, but in his last eight appearances he’s given up 10 runs–including five homers–in 6.1 innings for a 14.21 ERA and .429 opponents’ batting average.

  10. Marlins officially shut down Giancarlo Stanton for the season

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    giancarlo stanton getty Getty Images

    Stanton, who hit .288 with a league-leading 37 homers and a league-leading .950 OPS before the injury, will end up missing the final 17 games of the season.

  11. The Dodgers are not having a good day

    Sep 17, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    Forget it, Jake. It’s Colorado.

  12. Mark Teixeira is back in the Yankees’ lineup

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT

    Mark Teixeira Getty Getty Images

    After a solid first half Teixeira has batted .179 with 43 strikeouts in 42 games since the All-Star break.

  13. Charles Barkley’s ceremonial first pitch went poorly

    Sep 17, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Charles Barkley

    Still not as bad as his golf swing.

  14. Marcus Stroman gets a six-game suspension

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:53 PM EDT

    Marcus Stroman AP

    Good to see MLB make the smart call and suspend Stroman for headhunting.

  15. Got four minutes? See all 211 of Jose Altuve’s hits

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Jose Altuve Getty Getty Images

    Altuve is on pace for the most hits in a season since …

  16. Concussion ends John Jaso’s season for second straight year

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:48 PM EDT

    john jaso getty Getty Images

    This year he hit .264 with nine homers and a .767 OPS in 99 games, including 47 starts at catcher.

  17. The Orioles call up Christian Walker

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    orioles logo

    He’ll mash lefties (hopefully) and play some first base.

Featured video

Orioles turn AL East on its head
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (4153)
  2. R. Castillo (3045)
  3. A. Rizzo (2607)
  4. B. Belt (2306)
  5. A. Pujols (2305)
  1. J. Hamilton (2178)
  2. H. Ryu (2156)
  3. E. Gattis (2088)
  4. C. Young (2088)
  5. C. Davis (1967)