We bid our farewell to Tiffany Simons

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A fair number of HBT Extra/Daily viewers watch those videos for reasons other than me and my nasally lisping of the day’s baseball stories.  Many watch because of the lovely and talented anchor, Tiffany Simons.

For those folks I have some sad news: today’s videos — the AL and NL playoff previews — were Tiffany’s swan song for NBC Sports.com.  Tiffany is leaving the peacock for Florida, which happens to be her native home.  It’s not our business to pry into such matters, but I can say that we at NBC are sad to see her go even if we are happy that good things await her there.

Personally, I am happy that after all of this time I finally, in the past couple of months, got to meet in person the one who has probably done more than anyone else to help me not be self-conscious and terrified in front of a camera. Her secret: getting me to gab about weird crap we read in magazines while waiting for the teleprompter to cue up. It’s impossible to be nervous talking about baseball stuff when you just got done laughing your ass off about romantic comedies, weird unsolved crimes, the beauty secrets of the stars and the like.

Thanks for everything, Tiffany. Good luck and good travels. And I’ll finally let you out of my basement.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.