Moneyball

The “Moneyball” movie may be good

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I’ve been a bit skeptical of the “Moneyball” movie for a long time. I worry that it will be too impenetrable for mainstream audiences and too simplified and Hollywood-ized for baseball freaks, thus leaving everyone disappointed. I’d like to be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not holding out super strong hope.

Our own Aaron Gleeman is going to see “Moneyball” before it comes out and we’ll have a review of it next week, but I just read a review that suggests that it may be good. No, it’s not a review that says “Moneyball is really good!”  It’s a review that says “Moneyball was better than expected,” but it came from a guy who starts his review thusly:

“There’s nothing that interests me less than sports movies … I’m a British guy who pretty much hates all sports and couldn’t show less interest in them if I tried. Seriously, I’ve tried. Anyway, for those of you have never seen a baseball game before, I can tell you that they are excruciatingly dull. They are in no way as dynamic as they seem on the big screen. The big screen cuts out all the f—— waiting. Baseball is a game made up of waiting… And I thought cricket was bad.”

Despite that, the guys gives an overall good review. Not great. He thinks it’s kind of boring. Says “You haven’t seen this much brooding since Twilight. ”  Calls Aaron Sorkin’s script is like “The Social Network, minus the brilliance.”  Lots of faint praise in this piece, but he likes the actors and thinks there’s good chemistry between them and is generally entertained and comes off with what can be called a slightly warm feeling towards the film.

Given how much this dude hates baseball and sports in general, am I crazy to think that it might actually be pretty decent?

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.