I went to a Columbus Clippers game last Saturday. My seats were choice: first row, right at the dugout. The best part: being so close to the action and being just beyond the screen meant that I was in mortal fear of having my head taken off by a foul ball all game which, in turn, required me to pay total attention to every pitch. Can’t remember the last time I was so engaged at a ballgame!
Worst part: that part of the park attracted a bunch of ball hawk kids, constantly leaning over the rail begging people in the dugout for balls. One kid even yelled at Andy LaRoche, asking for his bat. This right after LaRoche hit a home run. I said to the kid “what makes you think he wants to give up a bat he just hit a homer with?” The kid said “why should he care?” Oy. The sense of entitlement among today’s whippersnappers!
But sometimes that souvenir lust can go beyond annoying. It can actually impact the game itself:
With two on and two outs in the seventh inning, Philadelphia third baseman Mike Fontenot tracked a soft popup near the seats in foul territory to get the Phillies out of the inning.
Just as he was reaching up to make the catch, a young kid’s glove came over the top and snatched it away. Fontenot looked over and the youngster was wearing a Phillies cap and shirt. Minnesota’s Ben Revere followed with an RBI single, proving that these hard-luck Phillies just can’t catch a break.
I am informed by numerous previous comment threads that I am not to call this kid out, however. He is merely passionate. Or something.
(thanks to Kopy for the heads up)
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.