We wrote back in October about the challenges facing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Joe Posnanski said that the place was in “grave danger.” Dr. Raymond Doswell, the museum’s interim director, wrote to me to tell me that Posnanski was overstating the problems. Dr. Doswell will likely have to write to Sam Mellinger now too, because Sam is sounding the alarm over the Museum scratching its annual Legacy Awards show, which is the biggest event on its agenda each year:
Every January for the last decade, the museum has shined. The Legacy Awards Show became its best-known event. Now, for the first time since 2000, nothing, no event, and what’s worse is that some longtime museum members are just now finding out …
The show should’ve been this weekend. Men and women should be dressing to the nines, black ties and long dresses and open checkbooks. Baseball stars like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton would’ve been invited, and the ones who showed up would’ve smiled and told a room full of potential donors how much the museum’s legacy means to them.
All that, now gone.
Mellinger says that there’s talk about rescheduling the Legacy Awards Show for November to coincide with Buck O’Neil’s 100th birthday. I’ve had my fair share of dealings with non-profits, fundraising and the like, however, and these kinds of moves are almost always harbingers of doom. Here’s hoping this case provides an exception.
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.