LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Over the course of 72 hours during the annual Winter Meetings, the managers of all 30 MLB teams give press conferences to the media inside the workroom. Each one is approximately half an hour and typically includes mundane stuff about projected lineups for the next season, updates on injured players, questions about new acquisitions and thoughts on the team. If you sit in on enough of these pressers, you’ll hear “talk about” or “how much of a challenge” or “give me your thoughts on” and each one eventually bleeds into the next.
But occasionally, something funny happens — a witty response to a question, a self-deprecating remark — and you laugh and you think, “Hey, this guy has a sense of humor and isn’t just a sullen brooding face in the dugout!” We want to bring joy and laughter into your lives, so we’ve compiled the best of the funny moments from the Winter Meetings managerial press conferences for your enjoyment.
Mike Scioscia when asked about a role for Craig Gentry (acquired by the A’s, not the Angels):
Did we sign Gentry? If we did, I like him, he's a pretty fast runner. Let me talk with Bob Melvin real quick and see what he has to say…Gave me a heart attack for a second. I thought we signed Gentry and I didn't hear about it.
Lloyd McClendon on what he learned from former Detroit manager Jim Leyland after eight years on his staff before being hired as Seattle’s new manager:
You know he's probably going to get pissed at me, but I joked about this at my news conference. I've learned how to smoke cigars in my underwear.
Clint Hurdle on advice for Pirates star and NL MVP Andrew McCutchen who got engaged last week on Ellen:
Wrong guy for me to talk. I was very excited for him today. I finally got the video clip. So good for Andrew. Good for Maria. Yeah, I got married three times, so I've been able to experience that quite a few times.
Brad Ausmus on learning from his managers and asking Joe Torre questions when he played for the Dodgers:
If there was a lull in the game, I could ask him. One of the questions I asked him, I remember, was what was it like facing Cy Young (laughter). He wouldn't answer; he laughed.
Matt Williams on meeting with Nationals players since he was hired last month:
I went to Jayson Werth’s house and spent an hour with him, which was good, which was fun. He is shaggy right now (laughing), which is good, it’s a good thing.
John Gibbons on former Blue Jay Mark DeRosa leaving Toronto and going to MLB Network:
We're going to miss him. I just enjoy having the guy around. He's one of those guys, he's a rare guy too. He can do anything. He could be a GM or manager. He could take his pick of whatever he wants to do in this business. You can see why he's on TV. You see why he's on TV and [longtime radio play-by-play guy Jerry] Howarth’s on the radio (laughing).
Mike Redmond on batting light-hitting Placido Polanco at clean-up on Opening Day 2013 for the Marlins:
Yeah, so we tried. I feel like you guys have a feel for me. I'm not afraid to try anybody (laughing). I proved that last year.
Bo Porter on Astros catcher Jason Castro being the smartest guy on the team and smarter than the manager:
He graduated from Stanford. I went to Iowa.
Terry Francona on the up and down season for the 2013 Indians and dealing with the media:
I can remember being asked in September, “Hey, are you frustrated? You're falling out of it.” Then all of a sudden a month later, “Hey, when did you know you're going to be so special?” (laughing). That's just the way our game is. That's part of the fun of it.
Ron Washington on acquiring another right-handed bat for the Rangers:
It would be nice to have a power bat. Disciplined power bat. Any suggestions?
Kirk Gibson on whether he has a special place in his heart for his former team, the Dodgers, with respect to the division rivalry with the Diamondbacks:
No. Maybe you want me to say “Yeah” (laughter). But it sounds like you've got a story written and you're trying to find some good words…Trying to get some juicy articles for about a week?…I'm sorry, you can make something up, I've got no problem with it.
Robin Ventura on rumors flying about the White Sox during the Winter Meetings:
For me what we have on paper right now is all I'm looking at. The pie in the sky of what could possibly happen, because down here there's enough rumors. We could have a whole new roster by the time I have lunch.
Buck Showalter responding to a question phrased as “could you talk about…?”
Can I talk about it? No. You gave me an out there. [He then answered the question]
Buck Showalter on having a close relationship with Brian Butterfield, who was on his coaching staffs in New York and Arizona and served as the Red Sox third base coach last season:
I don't like him that much, I can tell you that. No.
Ron Roenicke on trading Nori Aoki from the Brewers to the Royals and losing the Japanese media:
We lost a big group, there. Things are going to be quiet now.
Lloyd McClendon on what he would do differently if he got a second chance to manage:
Get better players (laughing). A guy like Robinson Cano makes you really smart, really quick. Hopefully we can get a couple more pieces like that.
Don Mattingly on Ronald Belisario and whether he has a favorite memory of the Dodgers’ inconsistent former reliever:
I've got lots of Ron Belisario memories. [None] that I can talk about. He did have that good sinker, though, didn't he?