As always, we turn to Calvin, a cartoon character, for our logic.

All Talk: Significant Quotes From the Off Season

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Everybody likes to say things!  Just look at me, I’m wildly abusing exclamation points this morning!  But the off season, in which less baseball is played and more is talked about, offers a chance for stories with “just speaking” at their center to trickle into the spotlight.

Here are several of my favorite out of context moments from these tricklings.

“Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time.”

Michael Wittels

Let’s start things off with a “Huh?!” as the father of FIU prospect Garret Wittels explains the rules of law.  Currently in the middle of the second-longest hit streak in college baseball that was postponed only because winter happened, Garret took some time off to travel down to the Bahamas to let loose, have some fun, and willingly hand over DNA samples to the authorities in response to being implicated in a rape.

Of course, we’re far from conclusive here.  Videos apparently show the girls (teenagers) in question being more aggressive than Garret and the friends he was with, and they didn’t know who Garret was until the following morning, according to Michael Wittels, who again, was very far away at the time.  Also one of the girls threw up on herself.

Its another despicable case of “he said, she said,” making Michael’s words all the more sinister.  In a world of celebrities who refuse to stay confined to their homes at all times, his words ring true.  And in any other context would have been cast off as the ramblings of a paranoid homeless guy, or an excerpt from a Lone Gunmen episode.

“They got their boy back I guess.”

Jayson Werth

And with that, J-Dub sealed the Cliff Lee Sweepstakes shut with one passive aggressive swipe of the mouth.  Jayson had departed his fine Phils with a weirdly negative vibe, despite being a valuable right handed power hitter in their lineup and a fan favorite because of sort of being a crazy person.  He claimed he could tell he was not part of the Phillies future plans, even though they had offered him a fair sum of money to stick around and it wasn’t their fault the Nationals were willing to give him the face of god to play in D.C.

We Philadelphians are an unforgiving breed, refusing to let sleeping dogs lie and choosing instead to kick them while we have the chance, because remember that time when this particular dog shat on my driveway 13 years ago?  Let’s get ‘im, fellas.  But even we were more congratulatory than blindly furious at Jayson’s departure.

Anyways, once the Phils reached out and got their Cliff Lee back, there were dueling press conferences to cover both their announcement of Lee and the Nationals’ announcement of Werth.  Werth, his heart clearly broken at not getting to be a part of his buddy Cliff’s next few years, [hopefully] ended the drama with a concise little whimper of frustration.

“Nothing is scarier than being the general manager of the New York Yankees.”

Brian Cashman

When compared to scaling the side of a building in an elf costume, being the Yankees GM is probably scary.  But the visions I’ve conjured up of what Cashman’s got to do to keep his job are kind of disturbing, and here, only recently, he’s sort of offered confirmation of said horror tales.

Sure, he was being facetious.  Ha, ha, ha,… everybody laugh with Brian about how facetious he’s being.  Great work.

But in less camera friendly way, was this a cleverly masked cry for help?  Was Brian smiling at passing cars on the highway, but then holding up a sign indicating otherwise?

[Fark]

If anything, this little utterance was indicative of my theory that the New York Yankees, while an iconic baseball franchise, doubles as  a notorious terror-cult, from which Brian Cashman is offered no escape and was most likely flogged for days on end, given the lack of movement in the New York sector during the off season.

Any objections?  Rebuttals?  Responses?  No?

Good.  Moving along!

“As Royals’ fans, we have plenty to worry about this season.”

–Clark Fosler, Royals Authority

Another haunting mantra, but less provoking of intense imagery and more likely to bring on a series of pensive, morbid nods.  It appeared on Royals blog Royals Authority just a few days before Christmas.  I don’t know how many days prior to seasons of the past that Royals fans have admitted exactly this, but it seems like the previous decade has heard it a lot.

But whoa!  Nobody’s going to do a whole paragraph needlessly needling the Kings of Kauffman.  This mentality of Fosler’s appeared in a post regarding the Zach Greinke trade, from Kansas City to Milwaukee–once again leaving the Yankees out in the cold–but also uprooting one of the most glaring bright spots the organization and its fans could celebrate.

I’m waiting, as are many, for the Royals to be that team who hasn’t done anything in decades and then explodes into contention, getting talked about on Sports Center more than ever before. Fosler’s words indicate that 2011 will not be that season, triggering an image of yet another frozen solid landscape for the Royals to fight through.

“The Milwaukee Brewers, which suffered through a second straight losing season and endured the fourth-biggest drop in attendance in Major League Baseball in 2010, needed just eight days to announce they would freeze ticket prices at Miller Park in 2011.”

–Jerry Beach, Ticket News

And on the other side of the Greinke deal, the Brewers slapped together a fanbase who wanted to see some baseball; as long as that baseball comes out of Zach’s hand every five days.

This little factoid, released by Ticket News, paints such a picture of how much a blockbuster trade can affect a franchise, all the way down to the ticket sales.  The Phillies, stockpiling ace starters, have sold out game after game 120 times in a row.  The Brewers, after significant plummets in their fan attendance, saw a hot spring of hope burst out of the bedrock as Greinke’s deal was inked.  Could this be the start of an economic turn around for Milwaukee, and in the end, America?!

No.

But this news offers a stark contrast to the sinking Royals, who were forced to give him up in a sacrifice that probably didn’t help ticket sales.  The prospects the Royals got for Greinke, however, shows that both teams are targeting the future; one is just more immediate than the other.

“They’re just scaring the heck out of people.”

–Community Board 6 District  Manager Frank Gulluscio.

What’d you think?  The raccoons were just going to forget about you?!  No.  Never.  They’re hungrier and more invasive than ever, taking over the Little League Baseball fields in Forest Haven, NY on Long Island.  There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight and now even the possums are getting uppity.

During an off season of surprise moves and jilted lovers, the raccoons are a satisfyingly simple nemesis:  HOW DO YOU STOP AN ENEMY WHO WANTS ONLY YOUR GARBAGE?!?

“I’ve only said hello to him. He doesn’t say too much.”

–Carl Crawford on Jacoby Ellsbury

“We talk every time we played each other. We joke around with each other.”

–Jacoby Ellsbury on Carl Crawford

Fresh teammates, the notoriously green lit Carl Crawford and the one time-defrauded Jacoby Ellsbury, don’t seem to realize the nature of their relationship.  Forced intimacy can be tough, but undoubtedly the ESPN Boston fluff piece from which this was taken will raise some eyebrows in the Red Sox locker room.  Or, it will never be addressed and no one will care.

Either way, according to Carl, its a cold, frigid landscape of a relationship, but according to Jacoby, they go fishing every weekend.

I haven’t seen a dynamic this awkward since I was stalking Shane Victorino.

“He was not born here…If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, “See? Look! Here it is. Here it is.” The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn’t answer anything. And why? Because he’s hiding something.”

Luke Scott on Barack Obama

Its amazing there’s this threshold of public exposure one can cross when they go from “Normal guy with stupid thoughts” to “Kind-of celebrity with stupid thoughts so let’s give him a microphone.”

Years ago, I was at a Phillies-Astros game in Citizens Bank Park.  I forget why, but somebody hurled a hotdog at Luke Scott while he was playing right field and it hit him in the back.  He called time and demanded the umpire do something.  The ump, confused, did nothing, and the game continued.

I say this because until now, it was the only window into Luke Scott’s personality I had.  And it wasn’t a big one.

Now, of course, we know altogether too much about him and his beliefs.  While its nice to see a news story out of the Orioles that isn’t “WHY DO WE STILL SUCK” or “BUCK SHOWALTER WILL SAVE US,” this one raises a few questions. What exactly does Luke think Obama is hiding?  Was he willingly traded to the Mid-Atlantic region to devise a nefarious plot?  Where does he think Obama was born?

Personally, if I ever meet Luke Scott face-to-face, I will take great pleasure in demanding to see his birth certificate which, apparently, he never has more than 10 minutes away from him at any time.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Cliff Lee FIU Kansas City Royals Luke Scott Milwaukee Brewers New York Yankees Zack Greinke

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