Sunset

“Today is my 60th birthday. Today is the last day of my life. Today, I committed suicide.”

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I didn’t know Martin Manley. I was vaguely aware of who he was. He contributed to a sports blog for the Kansas City Star for a few years. He maintained the Sports in Review blog, which I’d looked at a few times. There are a lot of people like that who have floated around the sabermetric universe over the past 20 or 30 years: acquaintances of acquaintances whose name rings a bell and who, if you Google a bit or jog your memory some you can place.

I don’t think I’ll forget him now. He killed himself on Thursday. It was his 60th birthday. And before doing it he wrote up an insanely-detailed website setting forth his reasons for it and his life story. The most notable thing about it: he was not sick. He was not poor or in trouble or, on the surface anyway, depressed or in distress of any kind. He simply decided that 60 years was enough and that he wanted to do it.

The website — which I have been reading for a couple of hours now — reads like someone working out a simple problem of logic. Instead of concluding something mundane, however, it concludes with Manley killing himself for reasons stated.

I know it has nothing to do with baseball, but Manley sounds like a lot of people who comment around here or who frequent Baseball Think Factory or who hang around on Twitter. Older than most web-based folks, but imbued with a certain perspective and politeness about them as a result.

I have no idea what to make of it, but it seems like more than anything else, Manley wanted his story to be shared, so I am sharing it. And I am simultaneously remembering that we don’t know a hell of a lot about anyone or about this world for that matter.

(thanks to Rob Neyer for the heads up)

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated 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)
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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)
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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.