Here’s FOX’s Ken Rosenthal, getting it absolutely right on replay:
Baseball, due to its refusal to expand instant replay, is headed for
more controversy this postseason. And the sport’s powers-that-be, led by
commissioner Bud Selig, have no one but themselves to blame.
This is the 21st century. The technology is available to correct
calls, and correct them quickly. Yet baseball prefers to risk the
outcomes of games, subject its umpires to embarrassment and allow
critics to attack its credibility . . . I will not feel sorry for the sport when some blown call occurs in Game 3
of the World Series and the play is shown to death–not just on
all-sports networks but also all-news channels–turning off even casual
I like this mostly because it wasn’t prompted by anything that has happened recently. It’s just a nice reminder that, eventually, something bad is going to happen — something worse than the missed calls we’ve seen in the playoffs in recent years — and when it does baseball is going to get utterly slammed by folks who otherwise never notice it. And if you’re the Commissioner of Baseball, that’s something you should care about.
Best part, though: embedded in the article is a video of Tim McCarver, who disagrees about replay. Rosenthal is the on-the-field reporter for FOX broadcasts. If we get the Armando Galarraga play, part deux, I would hope that FOX lets the two of them have it out over this rather than force Rosenthal to stay silent while McCarver talks about how hard it is to be an umpire and “bang bang plays” and all of that nonsense.
And just for the record — because these posts always lead to big replay argument comment threads and I end up having to argue against challenge flags and such — I favor an umpire up in the booth — not some video tech, but a bona fide umpire — with video monitors and a two-way radio who can call down to the crew chief and say “yo — call time out; you kicked the s— out of that call.” In effect, making it work just like an on-field umpire confab in terms of speed and efficiency.
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.