Marty Brennaman: unfiltered

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About two or three years ago we all finally decided that my dad had gotten old enough to where we no longer feel the need to apologize for the crazy stuff he says.  You just get to a certain point, you know, when it’s more cute than anything else. And it’s not like you’re going to change him.  In other news, Marty Brennaman is my dad’s age:

On Saturday night during Marshall University’s preseason baseball banquet and fundraiser at the Cam Henderson Center, Brennaman – the keynote speaker – determined that Marshall’s president must be “queer” for softball since the university managed to open a $2.5 million softball facility in March 2008, but baseball is still traveling for home games.

He went on, touching on the Reds’ NL Central rivals:

[The Pirates] probably improved themselves, which means they’ll probably lose 97 games … There’s no light at the end of the tunnel for that franchise. There really isn’t … I’m not a big St. Louis fan, because I’m not a big Tony LaRussa fan. I refer to him as ‘Mr. Baseball’ on the radio, because he acts like he invented the game … The Chicago Cubs won’t be a factor because, no matter how much they add to their club, at the end of the day, they’ve got ‘Cubs’ across the front of their jerseys. That’s the reason why they won’t win.”

I’m surprised that he didn’t say anything about the White Sox. Sure, they’re not in the NL Central, but Adam Dunn plays for them and Marty can’t go ten minutes without explaining how Dunn is the worst thing to ever happen to baseball.

But then again, that was a few years ago. He was younger then and what he said about things seemed to matter more.

(link via BTF)

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉