You know what would be a reasonable response to the NCAA stripping Reggie Bush of his Heisman trophy yesterday? Acknowledging that Bush is almost certainly not the only Heisman trophy winner who took cash in violation of the rules and deciding that the exercise of changing history like that is pointless and empty.
You know what would not be a reasonable response? Looking back at the baseball MVP awards and deciding how the Reggie Bush approach would work to strip known steroid users of their hardware. That’s what Tom Weir does over at USA Today this afternoon.
Of course, stripping Barry Bonds of his awards is the easy part. How Weir knows that Mike Piazza, Moises Alou and Luis Gonzalez — just to name a few of the alternate universe recipients — didn’t take PEDs is beyond me. What’s even farther beyond me is how Weir could follow the PED in baseball discussion these past few years and not acknowledge that the primary lesson of the Mitchell Report and subsequent test results is that fans’ and reporters’ steroid parlor games are
pointless, because for every obvious case like Barry Bonds, there are
several more guys who were juicing that you never would have suspected.
Does that sound familiar? Long time readers may remember me saying nearly the same thing. Why? Because Rick Reilly did the same little exercise that Weir does today over at ESPN in February 2009, and I went after his take too. It was just as dumb as Weir’s piece. OK, Reilly’s was dumber, but only because he probably makes 20 times the money Weir does to peddle his stuff.
But hey, they met deadline and posted something, and that’s all that matters, right?
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.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.