Ken Rosenthal tackles the Ozzie Guillen/Fidel Castro dustup and, early on, says this:
I normally cringe at politically correct overreactions, particularly in response to mindless, preposterous remarks from people who are just spouting off. But …
So you can guess where that’s going: a politically correct overreaction.
Rosenthal calls Guillen’s Castro comments “about as extreme and insensitive as it gets,” and then says that the Marlins should suspend him for 30 days.* Which is frankly crazy. Even just the first part, because I can think of A LOT of things that would be more extreme and insensitive than what Guillen said. I mean, really, has anyone asked Luke Scott about the Trayvon Martin shooting yet? That could be fun.
Seriously, though, two of the longest suspensions in major league history were 30 days each. They were handed out to Pete Rose and Lenny Randle. You probably remember Rose’s — he shoved an umpire — but you may not remember Randle. He was an infielder for the Rangers. In 1977 he approached Rangers’ manager Frank Lucchesi before a spring training game and punched Lucchesi in the face, fracturing his cheekbone in three places. Lucchesi required plastic surgery to repair the damage. Thirty days.
In 2004, reliever Frank Francisco assaulted a fan with a chair and broke her nose. He got a 16 game suspension. Kenny Rogers once assaulted a cameraman. He got 20 games. There have been countless players and managers who have (a) gotten DUIs; or (b) gotten in fights; or in some cases even (c) assaulted their wives or girlfriends, and they didn’t get 30 days, even if they got a suspension at all.
Against that backdrop, is it really reasonable to think that Ozzie Guillen should be suspended for 30 days simply because he voiced an unpopular and rather dumb political opinion? Isn’t that … a bit of an overreaction?
*It wasn’t noted when this first went up, but should have been: Rosenthal doesn’t think Guillen will get 30 days. He says a week is more realistic.
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.