It's all in the words

The 2004 season was one filled with some interesting and often off-the-wall quotes.

Originally Published: November 5, 2004
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Ten favorite quotes of the year (regular-season division)
10. From Tigers humorist Dmitri Young, on trying to play while sick:
"My nose was running like an Olympic sprinter."

Ray King
King

9. From Cardinals reliever Ray King, who was so inspired by the sight of President Bush throwing out the first ball on opening day that he promptly ran 3-and-0 counts on the first two hitters he faced:
"The president threw one more strike than I did."

8. From Giants philosopher-manager Felipe Alou, trying to describe the appeal of the wild-card concept -- in his own, inimitable Lion King fashion:
"The wild card is the purgatory of the lost. It's a place souls go and wait millions of years until redemption."

7. From Padres manager Bruce Bochy, after sending Kerry Robinson up to pinch-hit with two men on -- only to watch him bounce into a triple play:
"You're thinking he's a good guy to stay out of the double play. Well, we did that."

Lance Berkman
Berkman

6. From Astros slugger-quipmaster Lance Berkman, on his strategy for taking a bunch of pitches during the All-Star Home Run Derby:
"I told myself that at least that way, even if I didn't hit any home runs, at least I'd be on TV for 15 minutes."

5. From Andy Stewart, of Canada's Olympic baseball team, on how he estimated the attendance at a game against the Netherlands:
"I was looking for my wife and counting the people. After I got to one, I didn't have to go a lot higher."

4. From that modern-day Casey Stengel, Marlins manager Jack McKeon, after being asked when Josh Beckett would come off the disabled list and make his next start:
"It'll be anywhere from Sunday to Sunday -- but I doubt it'll be Sunday."

Ron Gardenhire
Gardenhire

3. From Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on how bench coach Steve Liddle saved the day after the Twins got an early-morning wakeup call in Kansas City because of a tornado warning:
"He just took a bag of our bats and put them in the window. He knew nothing would hit it."

2. From Red Sox first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, after hearing that Toronto pitcher Justin Miller had been banned from pitching in short sleeves because Major League Baseball ruled that his tattoos were too distracting:
"He should put a picture of Ricardo Rincon on there. If I see him out there, I guarantee you I'm going to swing and miss three times."

1. From Yankees manager Joe Torre, after a Kenny Lofton foul ball had roared into the dugout and conked him on the head:
"It didn't take any hair off. That had already been taken care of."

Three favorite quotes of the postseason
3. From Houston's Lance Berkman, on what the Astros and Cardinals could do to steal a little national attention away from That Other Series (Yankees-Red Sox):
"Maybe if we had two or three bench-clearing brawls. Turn this series into a mosh pit out there. Maybe hire Don Zimmer and get him to go after Tony La Russa right by their dugout. That would get some attention."

Terry Mulholland
Mulholland

2. From veteran Twins humorist Terry Mulholland, on the harsh realities of losing a postseason series to that team from New York:
"I thought the Yankees did well -- given their financial constraints."

1. From the self-proclaimed king of the Red Sox idiots, Johnny Damon, after the Red Sox found themselves one game away from winning the World Series:
"You know, a lot of people say they didn't want to die until the Red Sox won the World Series. ... Well, there could be a lot of busy ambulances tomorrow."

MVQ's of the year
There's no such thing as a Most Valuable Quotesmith award. But that doesn't mean we can't invent one. So we're paying tribute to two men who crank out funny lines as dependably as Toyota cranks out four-door sedans -- Phillies outfield-humorist Doug Glanville and Brewers coach-witticist Rich Donnelly.

Our favorite Glanville quips of the year:

  • On the theft of the Phillie Phanatic's head this spring: "I'm sure if this had happened back in the year 1300 or so, people would go, 'I don't know what all the commotion is about. People lose their head all the time.' "

    Doug Glanville
    Glanville

  • After a week in June in which the Phillies waited out 8½ hours worth of rain delays: "They might start charging us rent. It could be a new revenue stream."

  • On ways players could kill time during those rain delays, but still fulfill their competitive instincts: "We should start building an ark -- maybe have a boat race: They build an ark. We build an ark. Then we can race down the Schuykill or something."

    And now our most memorable Rich Donnelly quotes of the year:

  • After a stretch in which the Brewers played four extra-inning games in a span of nine home games: "We may be the only park that starts selling beer in the seventh inning."

  • After violating the age requirements to join a group of senior citizens for Seniors Stroll the Bases Day, Donnelly reported he'd turned around his social life: "I sold four season tickets, booked three appearances, and I've got two Parcheesi games in Appleton."

  • After hearing that Brewers minor leaguer Jeff Liefer had caused a 15-minute delay of game by getting locked in the dugout bathroom in Indianapolis: "Now that is what you call long relief."

    Top five late-night baseball quips of the year

  • Fifth prize: From Craig Kilborn, on the implosion of Philadelphia's late, not-so-great Veterans Stadium:
    "Over the weekend, Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia was blown up. Fans cried -- when they found out that the Phillies weren't in it."

  • Fourth prize: From Jay Leno: "Saddam Hussein is now reportedly depressed and begging for mercy. I didn't even know he was a Mets fan."

  • Third prize: From Leno: "ABC and ESPN, which are both owned by Disney, are combining forces to start a new reality show called 'Extreme Makeover at the Ballpark.' You go to baseball game, you sit next to the Texas Rangers bullpen, and they give you a nose job with a folding chair."

    Randy Johnson
    Johnson

  • Second prize: From David Letterman, on Randy Johnson's perfect game: "He retired 27 men in all -- which is a record previously held by J-Lo."

  • First prize: From Letterman, on the forecast for Game 7 of the Yankees-Red Sox series: "The good news for the Red Sox is, tonight's weather definitely favors the Red Sox. The forecast is breezy -- with about a 60 percent chance of hell freezing over."

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

    Jayson Stark | email

    Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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