I liked the early start to Game 3 on Saturday. With the game getting underway just before 7PM my kids were able to watch a bit of it — even if it was Justin Bieber-inspired — and the thing ended early enough to where I was able to not only watch the whole game without getting sleepy, but I was able to watch both (a) the Ohio State-Minnesota game I had recorded; and (b) the last hour of “Evil Dead II” on AMC. Epic television night at the Calcaterra house, I can tell you. Groovy.
But sadly, we’ve probably seen our last early start World Series game, because this one got killed in the ratings. In fact, it was the second lowest-rated World Series game of all time. The only one worse was the weather-delayed game in the 2008 series that didn’t get going until after 10PM. Yikes!
I’ll always maintain that low ratings are no reason to hate on a given World Series matchup and that they shouldn’t affect a true baseball fan’s enjoyment of the thing. But the folks in charge can’t ignore it, and you have to imagine that they’ll respond to this by ensuring that every future World Series game either (a) starts in prime time; or (b) involves the Yankees.
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.