NOTE: This starts out about football, goes into an observation about Twitter, but then turns to baseball, I promise.
So last night Brett Favre throws an interception that costs his team a trip to the Super Bowl. You think he’s going to be ripped for it, but within minutes of the game ending the ESPN talking heads are launching right back into that “he’s like a kid out there/he’s a gunslinger” baloney. The best one was Tom Jackson who said “That’s the thing about Brett Favre; he’s not afraid to throw an
interception. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.”
I thought that was some of the best suck-up-inspired denial of reality from a commentator I’ve heard in ages, so I quickly tweeted the following for laughs: “That’s the thing about Bill Buckner. He’s not afraid to muff a grounder. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.” Worried that people may not get the joke, I applied a #FavreRulesForAll tag on it. I giggled to myself for approximately four seconds, shut my computer down and went to sleep.
I woke up this morning to find that the meme had been picked up (the tag improved to #ESPNFavreRulesForAll). Between 11pm and 5am this morning, hundreds of people had made thousands of “That’s the thing about [infamous
person] he’s not afraid to [make a big historical failure]. Gotta respect
that.” posts. Most were pop culture related. My favorite was Will Leitch’s “That’s the thing about France: It’s not afraid to build a war plan around the Maginot Line. Gotta respect that.” It was lightning fast. It was kinda brilliant. By dawn this morning
it was utterly played out, at least on Twitter. There is something glorious about that.
Anyway, though it may be and old joke, lo these eight hours later, I’m inspired to think up more baseball examples of the Favre treatment. The first one that comes to mind is “That’s the thing about Fred Merkle. He’s not afraid to miss second base on a game-winning hit, get tagged out to cost his team the pennant. You gotta respect that.”
I’m sure you can think of your own. Best ideas in the comments, please. Bonus points for Jeter. Bonus points for “he’s like a kid out there.”
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.