On how it felt at end of game
“We played a really good ballgame. And Derek pitched great, I thought. And we got the ground balls, they were just out of reach.
“We wanted this game big-time, to get back to San Francisco. It just didn’t happen. The balls were just out of reach for us, turning double-plays.
“I’m proud of the team. I told them that a little while ago. They’ve come a long ways with this team. They played their hearts out, and I’ll miss them.”
The fans called for you while the Giants were out on the field, and then the Giants paid their respects. Can you describe that?
“That was nice of them. These fans have been great. They’ve packed this place just about the last five ballgames. And we appreciate their support. I do, and the players. I have all through my career here. They’ve been just absolutely great.”
How aware were you of the Giants’ players all saluting you?
“I saw them. And I gave them a thumbs-up, too. They played good, tough, and they had good pitching. We hit-and-run there in the eighth inning, it was right at Renteria. It was anywhere else, we’re first and third and in real good shape to get back in. We just couldn’t do it.
“But that was nice, and nice gesture by the Giants. I love Bochy. He’s one of the best guys in baseball. If we couldn’t win, I’m glad he did.”
Now that the game is over, how are you feeling?
“Well, like I said, we wanted to win this game. I’ve been emotional when we’ve gotten beat in the World Series, and it feels the same. It doesn’t feel like this is the last time I’m putting [the uniform] on, but it certainly is, and I won’t put it on again.”
Did you address the players afterward, and what did you say?
“The best I could. Told them I was really proud of them [here Cox begins to fight back tears in press conference]. A grown man shouldn’t do this.
“But I can’t say enough about Derek Lowe. He’s going to be a 20-game winner next year, I think, if they get any support at all. He has really changed his game plan. He and Roger McDowell, and I can’t say enough about Roger and the entire coaching staff.”
“This bunch of guys in this clubhouse are amazing. We’ve played hard all season long. We had injuries that bit us late, but I can’t say enough about how hard we played all year. We showed up for 162 games.
“I’m honored to have played with everyone in this clubhouse and for Bobby … I’m going to miss him a ton. He’s a big reason why I’m here today. We’re all going to miss him.”
On Cox talking to team
“He came in here and talked to us for a second. Something I’ll never forget. He’s a legend, and I’m lucky to say that I played for him.”
“We just played hard. That’s basically what he said. I’m not going to get into [specifics]. He just came in here and talked to us.”
On tonight’s game
“We knew it was going to be low-scoring the whole time. Both teams have got great starting pitching, great bullpens. They happened to get a couple more timely hits than we did.”
“The way it all went down, going to the last game, we played as hard as we could. All season long, we never quit. A couple of our best players went down and guys filled in.
“We wish we were getting on a plane to San Fran right now.”
“I’m just honored to say I got to play for Bobby Cox.”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten choked up on a baseball field. Maybe when I was 12 or something. But when he tipped his cap [to the crowd] I got a little choked up. And then he came in here and said a few words to us, and I don’t think there was a guy in here who could swallow. We were holding [tears] back, and then he got choked up a little bit, and then it was over.”
(Here Diaz gets emotional, swallows hard, clinches jaw to avoid crying.)
“It hasn’t hit me that, no matter what happens for me next year, I won’t be playing for Bobby Cox. If you would have told me five years ago that I was going to get five years under him, I would have signed up for that immediately. It’s everything and more than I thought it would be.
“It hasn’t hit anyone yet that he’s not going to be managing next year. There’s a lot of us that won’t believe it until spring training rolls around and there’s someone else yelling at us from the dugout.”
On losing tonight, exiting first round
“It’s tough. We all had our schedules cleared until November. We honestly thought we were a team of destiny. We came up short a little bit tonight. We’re never going to make excuses. We fought through every injury we possibly could have fought through and still had a shot tonight to win this game. We didn’t do it, but we left it all out there. I know that for a fact – every player left it all out there.
“If I do sleep tonight, that will be the reason why. Because I know, as a group – we had Tim Hudson, who threw last night, not feeling great today, pinch-running, ready to score on a double to end the game. Wagner blows out [in Game 2] trying to field a bunt, then finishes the next batter. It was just one right after another of guys just gutting it out. People filling in.
“When I have a chance to look back on it, it’ll be awesome to look back on. But right now I’m just proud to have been a part of this group of guys that left it all out there.”
On the loss
“This is kind of a tough one to swallow. You look at every game, I think they were all one-run games the whole series. I think the frustration of the what-if game is always the hardest to take right now, but it was just a tough series all in all. They seemed like they got some big hits in the series to add on an extra run here and there. There’s really nothing good you can say right now, these interviews don’t go that well right now. Probably in a couple days you’d get a better one.”
On the homer by Cody Ross
“We were trying to throw a front-door cutter to Cody Ross. We were able to throw it the first time up 0-1. Then we tried to throw it 0-0, thinking he’d take a strike and it was right down the middle, so. Personally I’ve two losses next to my name and it’s pretty hard to swallow thinking that out of three losses, I got two of them.”
On the seventh inning when Cox came to the mound
“I wanted to stay in because you always think you’ll find a way to get out of it. I fell behind 3-0 and threw a strike, and (another) strike who knows? But (it was called a) ball. The walk to (Aubrey) Huff put us a little behind the 8-ball.”
On what he said to Cox on the mound visit
“Normally when Bobby comes out you’re out of the game. I saw him halfway, and it was like, ‘Please tell me I can stay in this game.’ He said, ‘You all right?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we can get a double play here.’ I think hindsight, that’s the beauty of baseball you can always look back and say if I’d come out of that game, we get a double play [from Peter Moylan], we win. But I think as a competitor you want to stay out there as long as you possibly can because you always think you’re going to find a way to get out of it. And that’s always been my mentality. Not having walked anyone to that point and walking two guys in the seventh inning wasn’t the way I’d planned that inning.”
On looking like he got punched in the gut after the walk to Burrell
“You put so much into these games. I’ve said, I know it’s getting monotonous, I love this time of year. There’s no better atmosphere than these type of games. Reality kicks in at that point that you’re definitely out of the game. That was your last pitch of this game. We’d just gotten a big home run to get the momentum on our side. Next thing you know we’ve got one out, and putting the reliever in tough situation. The reality that you’re game is over is always tough to take.”
On the emotions of Cox’s last game
“There’s so much emotion going into where we are right now. Obviously from a player standpoint frustrated at the way things went, ultimately understanding this is Bobby’s last game…We were dealt a lot of blows over the last month or so with injuries and we just found ways to keep winning and it ultimately came to a head today.”
On when it hit him Cox’s career was over
“The last out. That is when you realize that not only is his career over, our season is over, that’s definitely a hard thing to swallow. These games are hard enough, pressure-packed enough to try to say let’s keep going for him, that adds even more, but we knew in the back of our minds eventually if we’d get to this point it’d be his last hurrah but hopefully it’s a season he can look back at and be proud of. I think he did a tremendous job with all the injuries and adversity thrown his way. He found a way to patchwork and get us all where we were.”
On the emotion in the clubhouse when Cox spoke to the team
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I don’t think I’ve cried in uniform since I was about 8. You spend as much time with Bobby as I have, it’s hard. He’s been a father figure to me, he’s been my only manager. It’s hard to swallow that this is going to be the last time.”
On what Cox told the team:
“He told us how proud he was of his. I really think out of all the teams, he’s got a soft spot in his heart for this club right here. This club went above and beyond what was expected once the injury bug hit.”
On when it hit him that Cox’s managerial career was over:
“About five seconds after the game was over when the crowd started chanting ‘Bob-ee.’ It was apparent they wanted their skipper to come out and give them one last curtain call. None of the players left the dugout. It was a classy play by the Giants. They had just clinched. And they stood out there and saluted. I was proud of those guys as well. Again exemplifies what Bobby has meant to the game of baseball for the last 50 years.”
On Cox’s emotion:
“I’ve never seen Bobby crack. It’s tough to listen to and watch but again it tells you how much this game has meant to Bobby, how much this team and this organization has meant to Bobby, and how proud he was of this particular team. I echo the same sentiments. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It’s still hard to believe now that it’s over that he’s not going to be in that manager’s office come spring training.”
More on Cox’s emotion:
“Bobby has always been pretty sure about what he’s going to say and he’s pretty matter of fact. He couldn’t get it out.”
On missing out on a chance to contribute:
“You would certainly like to think in four one-run ballgames you would have done something to help us win. That’s the sad part. This team played their butts off all year and unfortunately we just came into it less than full strength. You like to think if (Martin) Prado, myself, were in there, Wags, that the outcome would have been different. No matter, I’m so proud of this team. They exemplified what we’re all about. We know it. The fans know it. Bobby knows it. Just tough to swallow right now.”
On the loss to the Giants
“I think we were better than the Giants. I think at full strength we’re better than the Giants. Unfortunately we couldn’t prove that. They went out and beat us on the field and that’s all that matters, but in our heart of hearts we feel like we were a little short-handed and weren’t able to play up to our potential.
“There were certain things that happened during the series, we had opportunities to thwart their rallies and we didn’t make plays. If you don’t make plays you give a major league team four and five outs in an inning, you’re going to get beat, plain and simple.”
On if it was one of Bobby’s better jobs
“I think 99 percent of the rest of the teams in baseball with the injuries to the players we had injured, all those teams would have folded. There’s no doubt in my mind. That’s what happens when you’ve got gritty gutty ballplayers that leave it all out there every night. Tonight was no different. Those guys played as hard as they could. BMac made me so proud tonight, all the guys gave it everything they had. D Lowe, what a gutty performance by him. When you’ve got leaders like that, it’s fun to come to the ballpark and play with them.”
On the fans the last two days:
“The fans were unbelievable. Last night when Eric Hinske hit that ball out of the ballpark, that was as loud as I’ve ever heard any fan base in Atlanta. Tonight was no different. Those guys were awesome. I can remember years past first round of the playoffs we wouldn’t even sellout. There wasn’t an empty seat anywhere and they were all standing, they were all into the game. That’s the kind of home-field advantage you want, I feel that we’re going to continue to get and take advantage of in the future.”
On when Bobby spoke to team afterward
“Us as players we were quiet, listening, on the edge of our seats to hear what he had to say. He was just giving us appreciation like he always has. He didn’t have to do so, but he did again. It was emotional for him. We mean a lot to him, he means a lot to us.”
On having Cox his first manager:
“Whether he was first or last, I’m just thankful for the opportunity to play for him, to be around him for as long as you get to be around him, as long as a baseball season takes you.”
On the season
“It means a lot to be a part of a great group of people. I know this is my first season of major league baseball, but I would have to say this is the best group of people I’ve ever been around. We had a lot of fun, and we had a lot of passion, and we enjoyed playing the game.”
On fighting to make it close till the end
“Always. That’s what this group of people is about.”
More on Cox’s speech
“It was awesome. He didn’t have to. He never has to do any of the things he does for us, doesn’t have to express anything. He always comes up to the players, and he doesn’t have to do that. That’s just the kind of person he is, and I’m very appreciative of that.”
Feel fortunate to have played a season under him
“Most definitely. My first season, or any season. Being able to recognize what kind of person he is around the game of baseball, what he brings to the game, what he brings to the people he touches – it’s just an honor to play for him.”
On tonight’s game
“We lost. That’s the bottom line. You don’t want to lose your last game.”
On going forward
“I would say this season — what a starting point. What a year to build on. Lot of experiences, lot of fun, a lot to take from. And I enjoyed it and most definitely don’t take anything for granted, from opening day till now.”
What kind of impression did he make on your life?
“It’s reassurance. When you’re a young player growing up and you work hard and you hear the little things mean a lot? Bobby’s reassurance shows that’s very true.”
On the season:
“Everything that this team has been through all season, being Bobby’s last season, it’s a really special year. Obviously it didn’t end the way we’d like it or he’d like it, I thought it was pretty special. We battled through a whole lot of adversity this year, everybody in this locker room did. It’s tough to walk away from this, but we have a lot to look at this year and say ‘hey, we really played well a lot of the season.’ We did a lot of good things and we had a lot of fun. We’ve got some things we’re going to look back on and remember from this year.”
On the ovation he got in the ninth inning, if he’ll take that into the offseason to help deal with memories from Game 4:
“Yeah definitely. Either way, it’s something to put behind you. That’s what I’ll try to do this winter, but it was really cool that they stood behind me tonight. I was just hoping for an opportunity today and I got it. I felt great up there. I had a lot of fun that at-bat, but obviously I didn’t do what I was trying to do but it was pretty cool of them to do that.”
On what it meant to play for Bobby:
“I don’t think you see that a whole lot in this game. It’s a cut-throat game. It can be brutal at times. And when you’ve got a guy backing you no matter what, it’s uh….it’s pretty cool. He’s got every one of our backs no matter what, and (choking up) and I was proud to play for him.”
On the clubhouse meeting with Cox after the game:
“It was emotional. It was something that you really wish you didn’t ever have to go through. I would have much preferred him coming in here to do that with a championship ring, but we played hard for six months and we just came up short.”
On seeing Cox on the field with “Like a Rock” playing in background:
“There are no words to describe what emotions come through your head or heart, whatever it is. Especially for me, he’s given me every opportunity that a guy could ever want. He showed the faith in me so early in my career. He gave me the confidence to be able to go out there and get the job done. I’ll take that with me however long my career lasts. That will always be there for me.”
On all the one-run games, down to the wire:
“That’s the way we play. You lose two starting pitchers, you lose two No. 3 hitters, two third baseman, O’Flaherty, Wagner, it’s like (laughs) it’s hard to even imagine we got as far as did. We gave this series a good shake. We played as well as to be expected. All credit to them. They fought and fought and fought. It still doesn’t make it any easier, especially when you know you were one pitch, one strike, one hit, whatever it happened to be from who knows what.”
On his seven weeks with Cox and Braves
“Unbelievable. I understand now why they’ve been to so many postseasons. Because he makes it so easy on his players. It’s just a great atmosphere, a great, positive atmosphere to play baseball.”
On tonight’s game: “B-Mac put us on his back tonight. I wish I could have been there with him. We just needed some more runs. That’s the bottom line.”
Do you wish you could have played here longer, and for Cox longer?
“Oh, yeah. It’s just a good place to play baseball. I hate to see him retiring, because he’s good at what he does. You always hear it, but to get a chance to experience it, now I understand what all the players were talking about and why this team is always so successful.”
“We really wanted to send him out a winner. I mean, I know every team wants to do that. But it really was emotional when he came in here and spoke to us.”
“I know a lot of us thought we were World Series-bound in the middle of the year. Some injuries just snuck up on us. Guys gave it their all. You can’t say enough about our pitching staff – D-Lowe, Hanson, Huddy, the bullpen….
“It’s just a stinky way to go out. It always hurts. With everybody loving Bobby so much, he’s like a dad to us. It stinks, man. It’s probably the one that’s hurt the most, that I’ve been a part of. It’s more emotional.
“I think we’re mad, but everybody right now is just in a … everybody is just sitting around the clubhouse, not knowing what to do. Nobody wants to leave. It’s hard to believe that it’s over. Everybody cares for everybody in this clubhouse so much, it’s just an emotional time.
“After everybody leaves tonight, it’s kind of, separate ways. You see faces again, but you don’t know who you’re going to see and who you’re not going to.”
And Cox won’t be back as manager
“Yeah. He’ll be around and stuff, but … They don’t make people like that. We were watching his interview and I was getting choked up. He turns attention off him and onto somebody else and the positives of that person….
“He’s a special man. They don’t make people like Bobby Cox. I’ve had two of the best years of my career under Bobby Cox, and he’s done nothing but be positive and puts you in the best position to succeed. There’s nobody better than that.”
On the postgame talk from Cox:
“I think everybody in here was emotional. It’s tough, a man like that pouring his heart out and can’t. Everybody has a ton of respect for him. You can’t say enough good things. You couldn’t replace somebody like that if they cloned him. He’s a special person. There’s only one Bobby Cox. Thank goodness he’s still going to be in the organization in some capacity.”
“I just think it boiled down to injuries, for us. Just too much for us to sustain as a team. We did the best we could. We had guys from a deep bench going out there and doing the best you can, and that’s about all you can do.”
“I don’t know if it would have mattered [if we lost] in Game 4 or Game 5. It would have been fun to play another one, get on a plane and do it again.
“I just think the magnitude of everything – Bobby and everything – you don’t want to lose. But only one team goes home happy every year.”
This loss feel different than other postseason losses for you?
“Well, the only other loss I had was in the World Series. This feels like losing the World Series, because it’s Bobby’s last year. He’s done it for so long. I guess that’s the only thing I can compare it to.”
On the Giants’ salute to Cox
“They stopped their celebration, took their hats off and clapped for him. He’s just a class act. He’s a special person. He’s a pleasure to be around, and he treats everyone awesome.”
On the team and what they have going forward
“I love it. Definitely a great nucleus here, a lot of young players, a lot of young flamethrowers, a lot of young position players … and an old one [he laughs, nods at Chipper's locker]. We’ll see.”
You’d be interested in returning?
“Yeah, I had a great time here this year. Definitely. We’ll just wait and see.”
“It’s hard to explain, because this team has been behind the 8-ball, with so many injuries. You lose a Chipper Jones, lose a Prado, lose Jair Jurrjens, Saito for some, and then you get in the playoffs and lose your closer. These guys never gave up.
“It’s kind of fitting that we’d be behind in our last game and have a chance to win it. It’s disheartening, but I think when you look at how guys have handled themselves, and how young kids grew up, I’d be excited for the upcoming season.”
“This team has only hit the tip of what it’s capable of. These young pitchers, this lineup, guys like Freddie Freeman are going to be added. This East Division is not going to be fun for anybody playing against them.”
On Cox’s speech to the players
“When you see a legend talk to you, I mean, you listen and you try to take in everything you can of his wisdom. He’s one of a kind. They’ll never be another Bobby Cox, who’ll have that much influence on your life and career, that even when you played against him, you were a fan of the Braves. They’ll never be another Bobby Cox.”
Giants manager BRUCE BOCHY
on Bobby Cox
“You know, it gets emotional for me. I revere this man so much, what he’s accomplished in this game. It’s going to be strange coming in here and not seeing Bobby on the other side.
“He took me to my first All-Star game. He’s a man I’ve looked up to, not just how he manages the game, but his team, how professional they are. They’re always in uniform. They play the game right….
“This year’s really remarkable, what he did. I know how banged up they were all year. Got off to a slow start. Shows you what a genius this man is to get it back on track and get to the playoffs. He’s banged up in the playoffs [and] these games could have gone either way.
“I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss this man, again because I venerate him so much. I’d be lucky to accomplish even close to have of what he’s done.”