Ken Rosenthal’s story following last night’s US-Dominican Republic game is a good one. And what’s described in this paragraph is both sad and predictable:
Some American fans on Twitter actually objected to the constant horn-blowing of the Dominican fans and the on-field celebrations of their players in the ninth. Some old-school baseball types object, too, as if the only proper way to play the game is in staid, humble fashion.
I believe the Twitter stuff because people will object to anything on Twitter. If you tweeted something about giving everyone in the world free pie someone would tweet about how you’re a no-good cake-hater. Twitter was built for contrary cranks, which is part of the reason I love it so.
But who are the “old-school baseball types?” I’m just speculating here — and if I’m wrong I expect Rosenthal would tell me so — but I bet he’s referring to press box cranks who were sitting near him during the game.
It’s easy to spot a curmudgeon baseball writer when he writes in a curmudgeony fashion, but there are a lot more of them who write things straight up while acting like total curmudgeons in person, especially in the box. Sometimes it takes the form of great, misanthropic wisecracks which, frankly, can be wonderful and hilarious. But you often see simply joyless cranks too. Guys who complain when a game gets exciting late because it’ll make their story harder to write. Guys who actually complain when it’s noisy in the park because they’re trying to talk to someone on the phone. You can’t cheer in the press box, obviously, but you wonder if these guys actually like baseball very much.
I can picture it from last night: crowd going crazy, Dominican team celebrating. Actual baseball drama and emotion in March! And some dude saying “Jesus, you’d think they cured cancer or something.” Which is about the saddest thing I can imagine.
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.