Ben Stiller is kinda vexing. Sometimes he’s pretty great (see, “The Ben Stiller Show,” “Zero Effect,” “Royal Tenenbaums”) sometimes he’s pretty insufferable (see, “Most Everything Else He’s Done”). I can’t decide how this one woulda played out on that continuum, but I think I would’ve at least gone and seen it.
The movie: a script from the early 2000s in which Stiller played a character with a longstanding personal vendetta against Mike Piazza. Who would’ve played himself in the movie:
The draft of the script I have opens on superstar catcher Mike Piazza playing a game for the New York Mets in 1998 when a naked guy runs onto the field. With the words “Piazza sucks” painted across his chest and “Piazza can kiss my ass” on his back (with an arrow downward, of course), the naked guy screams at Piazza as he kicks dirt at him and avoids security while the crowd cheers him on. We freeze frame and hear a voiceover: “Wait, maybe I should start from the beginning…”
An entire plot summary is at the link. Complete with Tommy Lasorda cameo.
Obviously Piazza and Stiller are now too old to do this — it requires a current major leaguer — but I sorta feel like this one can and should be done with someone else.
Bryce Harper: call your agent.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.