Hunter Mahan

Tim McCarver tries to have fun with the “unwritten rules,” fails

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The other night golfer Hunter Mahan, obviously a baseball fan, tweeted something about the unwritten rules hubbub involving Yasiel Puig:

 

That’s the top retort for most folks who don’t take issue with on-field demonstrativeness and makes a lot of sense.

Fox’s producers decided to run with that, however, and had Tim McCarver reference the tweet and jokingly argue that if a golfer had no problem with a violation of unwritten rules in baseball, then he’d clearly have no problem with violations in golf too. So he suggested some violations, such as letting pro golfers wear shorts, talking while one’s  opponent is hitting, walking over putting lines and to driving into foursomes in front of you. Here’s a screen grab:

source:

Two problems with this, of course. First: these wouldn’t be violations of any unwritten rules.  They’d be violations of actual rules.  Pro golfers are not permitted to wear shorts by explicit PGA rules. USGA rule 16 prohibits players from touching putting lines. The USGA also explicitly spells out the contours of golf etiquette with respect to talking while other players are hitting and allowing space between you and the group in front of you.

The second, and much bigger, problem with this: looking at golf as any sort of model of behavior and decorum for baseball in the first place. Golf has a stick so far up its hind end that even Brian McCann, Chris Carpenter and Tony La Russa would tell golfers to chill the heck out, dude, and try to have a little fun out there. The last thing I’d ever want is anything akin to a golf sensibility spilling into baseball.

In any event: until the MLB rules talk about what one can and one cannot do when they do something good in a baseball game, all of this talk remains ridiculous.

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.