Is there a TBS/MLB conspiracy to downplay bad calls?

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Some people get accused of being conspiracy theorists. I tend to get accused of erring too far in the other direction and not giving enough credence to conspiracy theories. Because sometimes they are true, after all.  My defense: I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy and the simpler the explanation is usually the better explanation in my experience.

However, over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man has a conspiracy theory that I’m not inclined to dismiss as quickly as I usually dismiss such things. He notes that there weren’t as many replays of close plays in last night’s Rangers-Rays game as you might expect, and then comes out and says why this might be:

To The Common Man, it suggests that perhaps TBS was asked not to make a
big deal out of potentially missed calls. This would seem to jive with
an earlier play in the San Francisco-Atlanta series, where Buster Posey
was clearly out at 2B, but announcers refused to acknowledge it, in
spite of the video evidence to the contrary (and Posey saying after the
game “it’s a good thing we don’t have instant replay).

If this is the
case, it seems likely that the commissioner’s office has made conscious
decision not just to ignore the loud cries for expanded instant replay,
but to tacitly suppress them by denying these voices additional evidence
with which to make their case.

I thought the Posey thing was totally bizarre, and was made even more bizarre when Mat Winer, the studio host, said he thought Posey was safe and was basically laughed off the stage by David Wells, Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley.  Winer would be beholden to a TBS/MLB mandate in ways that Eck, Ripken and Boomer really wouldn’t be.

I’m not saying that TCM is right about this because, like I said, Occam’s Razor is a powerful weapon. It may just be the case that the production crew was thinking about other things or the pitchers were working too quickly — Cliff Lee was at any rate — to shoehorn in as many replays as you usually see.

But it is . . . curious, is it not?

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
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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.