Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"That's how we like it. That's fine. We don't care what the outside world is thinking."
-- Grady Sizemore, on his Indians being underdogs in the ALCS against the Red Sox. (MLB.com)
"The fans have made it hard to shave it off. People tell me all the time to keep it, my wife not being one of them."
-- Casey Blake of the Indians on his playoff/good luck beard. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"That's usually the story in postseason play. There aren't usually too many games where there are a lot of runs scored. Pitchers really bear down. You've got to give credit to them. They swung the bats better, got more hits, pitched well. We just didn't get the job done."
-- Derek Jeter, after the Yankees didn't advance past the American League Division Series, falling to Cleveland three games to one. (Newsday)
"It's going to be a heck of a series because I think it's gonna be about pitching. With [C.C] Sabathia and [Fausto] Carmona and those guys, but it's a lineup that can score, that can hit. But it's a lineup that can be pitched to. My thought going into the second round was no matter who we play, both these lineups had the ability to be pitched to if you execute a game plan."
-- Curt Schilling commenting on Boston's series against Cleveland in the American League Championship Series. (Boston Globe)
"Carmona, I don't know, I didn't see it coming. But he threw that game against us this year, then I watched him in the Yankee [game], he's unbelievable. He's just filthy. Power pitching is a huge plus in the postseason, so it's definitely going to be a huge challenge."
-- Curt Schilling commenting on Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona and the outstanding year the right-hander has had this season. (Boston Globe)
"Typically, you'll see the Wild Card teams playing pretty well because they have to scratch and claw to get into (the postseason) and are always dangerous teams, but this goes way beyond scratching and clawing. They played as well as anybody in quite some time down the stretch. Hopefully (the layoff) gives them a little distance from their win streak."
-- Arizona manager Bob Melvin on trying to cool off the Colorado Rockies, who have won 17 of their last 18 games, including a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series. The Diamondbacks face Colorado Thursday in Phoenix in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. (Arizona Republic)
"Now that we are getting it, we have to enjoy because it comes with the success we've had. We have been trying to get here a long time. The attention comes with being in the postseason."
-- Todd Helton commenting on the Rockies' sudden attention from the national media. (Rocky Mountain News)
"It doesn't get any easier. That [Boston] lineup is just as strong. We just need to go out and keep playing hard."
-- C.C. Sabathia, on facing the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. (MLB.com)
"We always thought we had a good team. Originally, I thought we had a good offense, but at the end of the season, we had a good bullpen and some pretty good starting pitching, too. We struggled early, and people didn't pay too much attention (to the Rockies), but I think we have earned their respect now."
-- Garrett Atkins commenting on the success of the Rockies this season, a team that has surprised many people by reaching the NLCS. (Rocky Mountain News)
"It seems like it was yesterday that I had one of my best experiences playing here in the Fall League with so many talented, great players. It's just such an honor to be here tonight and receive this award."
-- Albert Pujols, on having his No. 36 jersey retired last week by the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. He was also presented with the "Distinguished Alumni Award." (MLB.com)
"This was an OK season for me. Sometimes I was too excited. I have to learn to be calm, more mature."
-- Carlos Zambrano, who was 18-13 for the Cubs this year, giving a self-evaluation. (MLB.com)
"I'm anxious to get back in there. I feel pretty good, and I'm just trying to get back in shape and trying to get back to doing what I normally do and feel normal again. I'll be here [with the Cubs next spring] 100 percent."
-- Henry Blanco, a catcher with the Cubs who missed some time at the end of the 2007 season with neck and shoulder injuries, on getting back on the field with more regularity in 2008. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"I really don't (feel it). I don't look at it that way. I think I'm one of five guys in the starting rotation, whomever it may be. Obviously coming in next year there's a lot of 'if's' out there of who's going to be in the rotation, but I'm a big believer in this is a team sport, and there really is no so-called ace. There's somebody that can go out there and give your team a chance and that you feel comfortable with. We're a whole, and if the five of us don't do well, we're not going to be in the postseason. That's the bottom line."
-- Justin Verlander, on whether or not he considers himself the ace of the Tigers staff. (Detroit Free Press)
"I'm not here to bash people. No one's perfect. I can relate to that."
-- Frank Thomas on his work in the playoffs as an analyst for TBS. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"This guy is preparing better, he works a lot harder, he's getting mature, he's getting smarter out there and more comfortable. He has the ability to win the Cy Young three or four years in a row."
-- Julian Tavarez, a teammate of Josh Beckett in both Florida and Boston, on the differences in Beckett now and then . (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"It's always fun going up against big-named guys, and the guy's obviously made a great name for himself. Hopefully we can take him down."
-- Jered Weaver of the Angels on the pitching matchup prior to his playoff start against Boston's Curt Schilling. Schilling picked up the win after pitching seven scoreless innings. (Los Angeles Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.