Yesterday there were two reports spinning out of FOIA requests related to George Steinbrenner. One dealing with his criminal conviction for campaign finance law violations and one related to his pardon request, which was supported by multiple instances of Steinbrenner assisting the FBI.
Today the New York Times has more details about those things, including the assertions by Steinbrenner’s lawyer at the time — corroborated, it seems, by the FBI — that Steinbrenner put himself at some degree of risk in helping the FBI. The upshot: the cases involved terrorism and organized crime and there was some concern that there could be retaliation against Steinbrenner’s family if things went sideways.
Maybe this was overstated. After all, a lot of these documents appear to be from Steinbrenner’s lawyer in the course of advocating for a pardon for his client, so they’re going to naturally make things seem a bit more dire than they really were. But think how history could have changed if someone did go after The Boss’ family and, say, took out Hal instead of Hank, leaving the latter to run the Yankees by himself. I shudder at the very prospect.
In other news, the article in the New York Times is accompanied by the below picture, which is pure money, made all the more money because it was taken at Billy Martin’s funeral. If they could have somehow gotten Martin in there — or if they could have panned the crowd for some other rake or scoundrel — it could be the Mount Rushmore of vice:
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.