Wagner, Braves quotes after Friday’s win

BILLY WAGNER

on striking out the side: “I don’t think you draw it up quite like that. I mean, that’s a fantasy-type situation. But I had ‘em swinging at some high pitches so, you know, you take it. Because it doesn’t happen very often.”

Well, how does it feel to get to 400? “I don’t remember being so nervous about 399. I know that all today my kids were talking about coming to the game so they could see this, hoping I got the chance. It was fun to be out there.

“It was nerve-wracking because we’d lost, and you don’t want to put yourself ahead of the team. Knowing we needed this win, if you get out there and you start using that anxiety to go out there and you start going all over the place and get yourself in trouble. So just stay under control and make pitches, and tonight I made enough to help us win.”

Did you anticipate this when you came to Atlanta, reaching this milestone? Surely you expected to get 15 saves (for 400):

“In April I wasn’t so sure. [He smiled.] But saves and stuff like that go in spurts. You’ve got to be ready and take advantage of every one of them, because when they come they come in bunches, and you’ve just got to be ready to go out there every night.

“When you go out there and pitch for 14 years, you start to put some numbers together. This is just a credit to the hard work and all the people behind me that always made the plays and made me look good.”

Bobby says half-seriously that they’re gonna try to talk you out of retirement.

“Yeah, well, no chance.”

Was it more gratifying that you struck out the side in your 400th?

“You know what, if I’d had three pop-ups it would have been just as fun. I think dream about situations like that. About as good as it would have been would be to get to 400 throwing nine pitches.

“It was fun. It was exciting. When you’re in that situation you’re always worried about that one bad pitch, so you just have to stay focused and try to make the good pitches.”

When the bullpen door opened tonight, what was the feeling?

“Every night, that fear of failure, that anxiety, that ‘don’t screw up,’ that all plays into the role of the closer, and you go out there with the intention of going as hard as you can and not making a mistake, and if you do, getting away with it. But going out there as many times as I’ve run out there, I think you know that you’re going to have those days and you can’t worry about them.”

On importance of Brooks Conrad’s late homer: “That’s always good. An extra run is always good. A one-run lead against these guys or any team, you’re just a pitch away from a blow save and a potential loss. So that insurance run made it a little easier to go right at hitters and not worry about if you do make a mistake and give up a home run, it doesn’t kill you.”

BRIAN McCANN

on Billy’s 400th: “For me that was the coolest part of the night. I’m going to be able to tell my kids I caught Billy Wagner’s 400th save. That’s something I’ll have in the memory bank for the rest of my life.”

Does Wagner look as good now as when you broke in?

“Absolutely. I mean, when he’s locating like he is right now and he’s throwing 98 miles an hour. All his pitches … his curveball has great depth. It’s hard to hit.”

On Medlen: “He was awesome. He was locating his pitches, kept them off balance. You know, he attacks. The thing he does best is, he goes out there and competes every fifth day. He’s earned the respect of everyone on this team as a starter. He’s just been pitching great.”

On his own power stroke coming around:

“I’ve got a long ways to go. I mean, it’s getting there. I’m not having the year that I should be having, but it’s still a long season and I’m hanging in there and battling every day. We’ll just go from there.”

On tonight in general: “It was just a big game. It was a great game, all around. We needed the win, that was the most important thing that happened. We needed this win. Medlen stepped up.”

KRIS MEDLEN

“The honor and privilege of getting the win – first of all, we needed the win – but to be part of that was pretty cool. I’ll remember that the rest of my life. It’s cool.”

Settled in after rough first inning:

“I was overheating a little bit. Once that inning was over I was down in the tunnel in front of the fan. After that I felt good and the defense played awesome behind me.”

“Wags came in and dealt, like always.”

On the Tigers not being able to advance runners when they had chances after the first inning: “I don’t know. Just the competitiveness in me. I just try to battle. Any situation I get in, I feel like I can get out of.”

So the 400th save is what you’ll remember most? “Oh, easily. My first win, my first hit, blah blah blah, this surpasses all that. This is definitely tops for me, being part of setting up Billy for his 400th. And definitely not his last.”

You feel like you’ve earned a rotation spot? Hope so? “Of course. I’ve just gone out and done what’s got me here, which is battle, throw strikes and compete. That’s all you can really ask for the starters, is just to go out and compete.”

So you’re good with whatever decision’s made? “Yeah. I like us in first place. Whatever the team and everybody feels is best for the team is what I’m going to do and what I’ve done since I’ve been up here.”

BOBBY COX

“Mac got his 100th home run and Wagner — what a way to get 400 saves, by striking out the side. He’s been dominating all season long, and maybe we can talk him out of retirement.” (Cox smiled.)

“Med pitched great. He got roughed up a little bit there at the beginning. Couple of line drives that we caught. But then he settled down, threw a lot of strikes, and I thought he pitched extremely well.

“We always expect a good game [from Medlen], we really do.”

32 comments Add your comment

Kelly

June 25th, 2010
11:53 pm

Congrats to both Wags and Mac!

MarkTwain

June 26th, 2010
12:01 am

Its a shame Wagner only gets one year here. When you hear him talk its like he’s been with the team his whole career. Have we had a better pickup at closer since Alejandro Pena?

Largo

June 26th, 2010
12:20 am

I’d sure like to see Billy Wags stay on for another year.

Lauren

June 26th, 2010
12:25 am

The joy and support from the players for Wags is a very nice thing to see! Great team we have here.

Virginia Braves Fan

June 26th, 2010
12:32 am

Enter your comments here

Virginia Braves Fan

June 26th, 2010
12:33 am

I want Wagner back. And congrats to Medlen. I have a good feeling about this year.

Teacher in Georgia

June 26th, 2010
12:43 am

Mark Twain, that Smoltz guy was a pretty good closer…

moldavite

June 26th, 2010
12:49 am

smoltz was a dominant closer not many like him

moldavite

June 26th, 2010
12:50 am

dont forget about mark wholers

skip

June 26th, 2010
12:54 am

i couldn’t be happier about this team. When they’re down they pick each other up. when they win and, they pass the praise to the other players and things that other people are doing. Its really refreshing to see a team that loves each other so much and that are willing to lay it all on the line for one another. When JJ comes back I hope KK goes to the pen, i really do. Medlen has earned his spot no question about it. Honestly I done remember I had this much fun watching the Braves play ball… its been awhile, I really feel like we have something magical here, bobbys last year…… Wags last year….. chips possible last year….. We’re gonna get it done and go all the way baby!!!!!

Boatdoc

June 26th, 2010
1:13 am

The three years Smoltz was a closer he saved 55, 44 and 45 games. Pena’s season high was 15 saves – he did that once for the Bravos and once for LA. Wohlers only had 3 good years: he saved 25, 39 and 33, beginning with the Championship year of 1995.

No one asked (on this string) but for anyone who says Smoltz was NOT a Hall of Famer: 213 Wins, 154 Saves, lifetime ERA of 3.33 was 125 points better than MLB average, 2nd most post-season wins ever, plus over 3,000 strikeouts (16th in all of MLB history.)

Nick II: Electric Bugaloo

June 26th, 2010
1:17 am

I think Mark Twain means someone we signed/traded for. Both Wohlers and Smoltz had been Braves before they became closers.

Frank from KS (now living in CO)

June 26th, 2010
1:20 am

When Rocker wasn’t running his mouth, he was too

Chip Caray's Eyebrows

June 26th, 2010
3:09 am

Great win! Enjoy the milestoe Wags!

Gil In Mechanicsville

June 26th, 2010
3:13 am

DOB Thanks for taking the time to post the after game comments, it has become a highlight for me to get the teams reactions and sense of how they felt certain situations played out.

Michael Procton

June 26th, 2010
3:23 am

Rocker was also not a pickup. Drafted and developed by Atlanta. I will say, though, that when Soriano was healthy and on, he was as good as anybody.

Mutts

June 26th, 2010
7:02 am

Wagner is one of the most dominant closers of all time. Congratulations Billy on number 400! While we’ve had some respectable closers through the years the only other closer that could dominate like Wagner was Smoltz. And yes, both Wagner and Smoltz belong in the Hall of Fame.

Michael D

June 26th, 2010
7:37 am

If Wagner retires, we have a couple of young guys who are ready to step up and do the job. Same goes for Chipper. Conrad and Infante are ready.

bcohen5723

June 26th, 2010
7:52 am

say it ain’t so Billy – ” we want you to stay, just a little bit longer”

[...] retire at the end of the season. When asked about striking out the side while getting the milestone Wagner had this to say “I don’t think you draw it up quite like that. I mean, that’s a fantasy-type situation. But I [...]

Ken Stallings

June 26th, 2010
8:50 am

Regarding Wagner’s impending retirement, I cannot recall a more talented and capable player choosing to hang up his spikes. I seriously hope he does come back. The guy can still get the job done.

Willy

June 26th, 2010
9:25 am

Not that the Braves need him now but what’s up with Scotty Proctor?

Branch Rickey

June 26th, 2010
10:10 am

Frank Wren: Dust the cobwebs off the vault and make Billy Wagner a Brave at least through 2011 ! Do whatever it takes to make it happen. Money talks !

South Georgia Dawg

June 26th, 2010
10:18 am

Let’s not forget Gene Garber and Hoyt Wilhelm who closed for the Braves in earlier years as to how dominant they were in their day.

Bayou Cajun

June 26th, 2010
10:32 am

Branch, Wags is already signed for 2011. It was included in his deal this year. He announced his retirement because he is ready to spend time with his family and so the bravos could prepare for next year. Kimbrell anyone?

RJB in DC

June 26th, 2010
10:56 am

Proctor is struggling in Gwinnette. Sill looks pretty inconsistent.

JUST SAYIN'

June 26th, 2010
11:01 am

Wagner has earned about $60-70 million (or possibly more) and has no need for more money. Give him credit for knowing what is important to him and his family.

And let me add this, I cannot remember another closer who brought so much comfort to my mind when watching them come in for the 9th inning. That even includes Smoltz who was a real stud as closer. Both of them deserve to be in the Hall of fame and none of the others can carry either of their gloves when it comes to my peace of mind.

chuck tucker

June 26th, 2010
11:02 am

If B. Cox is really debating sending Medlin to the pen, he needs to be tested for Alzheimer’s. Just compare “all” the stats for 2010. Yikes, I hope Kawakami’s contract is not the issue. Medlin is a WINNER!!! and the Braves need wins.

bulldog bubba

June 26th, 2010
11:33 am

Our Future is Now!!Put Medlin in at starter and KK on the bench.You have to stay with what get the best results.GO BRAVES!

Johnny3Steps

June 26th, 2010
12:41 pm

With Wagner,Cox,and “Bones” Jones calling it quits after this year……………..We have to get it done this year!

"Mungo"

June 26th, 2010
1:43 pm

Wagner is a great story!!! He deserves everything that he has and will accomplish. Cox & Wren pull another rabbit out of their hats, with adding “Wags” to the Braves (Plus= Glaus, Henke and Cabara).
Go Braves- Mungo/Anderson, SC

Brightside

June 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

Hey, where did everybody go? Has the blog moved and nobody told me? The game does start in 30 minutes doesn’t it?

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