I gotta be honest: if John Malone, the CEO of Liberty Media — owner of my Atlanta Braves — invited me to have lunch with him, I’d probably balk too. I mean, really, what would we have to talk about? Our vast land holdings? Our fights with the FCC? The awkwardness of the fact that, in all likelihood, I know far more about the Atlanta Braves than he does? I mean, sure, if I could take him to Ted’s Montana Grill and talk about its namesake like he was my ex-girlfriend, pining for the days when he ran my team it would be fun. But really, I’d probably give it a pass.
But do you do the same thing if you’re a Dodgers fan? This guy did, according to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:*
After all these years, Brian Gadinsky was invited to lunch with the owner of the Dodgers. And he turned it down. He turned it down for the same reason he had earlier trashed his season-ticket renewal notice, which led to the invitation in the first place. He turned it down because it would mean breaking bread with Frank McCourt, and he is done with Frank McCourt.
“My friends all asked me if I was crazy,” Gadinsky said. “I told them, no, I am just tired. … I am tired of being loyal to a man who has not returned that loyalty.”
I guess I can see that. Of course, given that this is likely the only shot Gadinsky will ever have to slip McCourt a mickey, he probably should reconsider.
*Note: Plaschke continues to be the world’s worst abuser of the one-sentence paragraph writing style. Which is almost a awful as certain diseases, so when I block quote him I compress the paragraphs for readability. Bill: don’t do this anymore. It does not add gravitas to your prose. It makes things harder to read. It tips us all off to the fact that you are tasked with filling column inches and not telling interesting stories. Which is a shame when, as you often do, you have an interesting story. Cut it out, OK?
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.