Tim Brown

  • The secret behind Nelson Cruz's majestic home run swing

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 17 hrs ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – Nelson Cruz hit 14 home runs in a month. He lent a bat, lovingly called a Boomstick, to Logan Morrison, who was batting .149 at the time, and he hit three home runs in four days. They call that a "heat check."

    Cruz's bats run 35 inches, 33 ounces, larger than Morrison's usual bats by an inch and two ounces but, then, larger than most.

    "That's huge, man," Brad Miller observed. "Just huge."

    Morrison nodded.

    "I've never used a bat that heavy before," said Morrison, who goes 6-foot-2, 240 pounds and seems bigger.

    After a month in which he'd out-homered all of the Chicago White Sox and matched all of the Philadelphia Phillies, Cruz on Tuesday afternoon thought back over the month, shrugged and said he thought maybe he'd been consistent, that he hadn't missed too many hittable pitches and that he'd been, you know, pretty healthy, all very low key, like he'd rather have been mourning the exactly 419 pitches he hadn't hit for home runs.

    "Um, I guess you see pitches," he said. "You don't foul them off. You square those pitches."

    The first point: He's very strong.

    Like now?

  • Tuesdays with Brownie: Is the price to trade for Cole Hamels still too high?

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season. This week: On Hamels' trade market, A-Rod's bonus fight and Jameis Winston's baseball future.)

    A month seems a reasonable amount of time to grasp the broader frailties of a ballclub, peruse the standings and count up the Tommy John casualties.

    Which brings us – granted, abruptly – to Cole Hamels.

    The Philadelphia Phillies are precisely what we thought they'd be, while other teams similarly in transition are frantically swimming against the same riptide of bygone achievement. The Phillies once went all in, as they say. For good reason, too, as they filled their ballpark, made their money, satisfied their fans and played well into October for as long as a plundering model could sustain itself. Then, this – tired arms, distant shoreline and no signs of a rescue boat bobbing to the sounds of blenders and party music.

    Teams in Atlanta, Texas and, to some degree, Boston and the Bronx are hoping to stay out of the same fix, where success gives way to years of paying off contracts gone bad and farm systems turned thin by the obligation to live in the moment.

    And …

    And …

  • Brewers hire Craig Counsell as manager after firing Ron Roenicke

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    The dreadful Milwaukee Brewers won Sunday for the third time in four games, which would have counted for news had the organization not fired its manager within hours of that subtle – and likely futile – uptick.

    Ron Roenicke was let go 25 games into the season. He is a reasonable and competent leader and this is by the usual standards a hasty decision. The Brewers won only seven of those games, however, and have been a poor team – or at least have shown poorly on the field – since last summer.

    The Brewers hired Craig Counsell to replace Roenicke, according to a report from Fox Sports. He will manage the Brewers on Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Counsell retired in 2012 and became special assistant to Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. He played the last five of a 16-year career with the Brewers, and now will stand before a group that is either not very good or has desperately underachieved.

    The rest lives with the job's inconveniences, which is to cope with injuries and slumps and bad luck. Everybody has them. It was Roenicke's turn, the Brewers responded by playing .280 ball, and here we are.

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  • A-Rod's 660th homer serves as referendum on who he is – and who he could have been

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Alex Rodriguez hit the 660th home run of his irregular career Friday night in Boston. It looked like many of the previous 659, except this one landed with a clunk beside Willie Mays.

    He'll have to answer for that, too.

    It was the first pinch-hit homer – and second career pinch hit – of his career, an eighth-inning line drive off Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa. After working a 3-0 count with one out, Rodriguez got a hold of a fastball and launched it over the Green Monster, pushing his career mark as a pinch hitter to 2-for-17.

    Every home run Rodriguez hits kicks up the dust of who A-Rod is, which stirs the notions of who he was (or who we thought he was), and then summons the myth of who he could have been. It's a generational thing, embraced wholly by the impetuous and wayward A-Rod.

    This, however, is about the time they count not the number, but the name. There was but one Willie Mays. Think of it this way: There are four fewer Willie Mayses than there are milestone bonuses owed to Alex Rodriguez by the New York Yankees. (For this particular one, Rodriguez is due $6 million, or about three times what Mays made in his career.)

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  • MLB Power Rankings: It's fun with sample size

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    On Yordano Ventura’s chippy day, Kris Bryant’s near-mascot experience and a big birthday in Colorado:

    The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games):

    1. St. Louis Cardinals (14-6; Previous: 9) – Adam Wainwright’s injury becomes argument for DH in National League, because the two are completely unrelated and it’s 2015.

    2. Kansas City Royals (14-7; Previous: 1) – You think that’s bad – on way to park, Yordano Ventura called out a school crossing guard, a Starbucks barista and two exceptionally mouthy nuns.

    3. New York Mets (15-7; Previous: 10) – If the Mets do take over New York, first thing they’d do is sell off Staten Island for a shortstop.

    4. Detroit Tigers (15-7; Previous: 2) – Tigers fans commence to booing Joe Nathan’s surgeon.

    5. Houston Astros (14-7; Previous: 21) – Most of the players honestly have no idea what an Astro is, guess it’s sorta like an orange-ish Met.

    6. Los Angeles Dodgers (13-8; Previous: 4) – Having dispatched radio host in foot race, Adrian Gonzalez challenges Vin Scully to push-up contest.

    8. New York Yankees (13-9; Previous: 24) – Bernie Williams retires, but first has to be reminded from what.

    25. Washington Nationals (9-13; Previous: 17) – Doormat-itude.

  • Tuesdays with Brownie: Let's talk about pitchers hitting

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season. This week: On the Waino-DH logic, Mookie’s month and the man the Angels evicted:)

    If we’re going to protect pitchers from anything, it should be the people who are trying to protect them from everything.

    Hell, just build a sandbag bunker out there, roll in an Andy Gump, leave them enough sunflower seeds and jerky for a few hours, nobody gets hurt.

    We can’t have them throwing more than 100 pitches, can’t have them work more than once in five days, can’t have them making eye contact on their days to pitch. And now they can’t hit either, because, you know, Adam Wainwright, who actually was fine until long after the ball left his bat. He wasn’t injured while hitting. He was injured while jogging with a helmet on.

    Never mind that, leading to Wainwright’s jogging injury, there were 500-and-some pitchers’ at-bats that ended the way most do: three sad swings and one slog to the dugout.

    But, we like to overreact. Man, do we love to overreact.

  • Angels simply, coldly stopped believing in Josh Hamilton

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    On a mid-December day, what seems like forever ago, Josh Hamilton was asked if the Los Angeles Angels were right to believe in him.

    The sun shined. The cameras clicked. Optimism hovered like a halo. His wife and four daughters sat before him, as did Angels owner Arte Moreno, as did the rest of his baseball career. He was 31 years old, lucky in some ways to have made it there, but there nevertheless, rich many times over and about to be feathered into a lineup that already held Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

    The press conference was held in what amounted to a bar, which was how certain the Angels were of their belief in him, the recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

    “It comes to a point of making choices,” Hamilton said that day. “What choices are you going to make?”

    Not halfway through the $125 million contract trumpeted that hopeful day, and all the way through the smiles from that sunny day, Hamilton is no longer an Angel. He is responsible for that. He made his choices, and Arte Moreno apparently is not the kind of man to let another man up from his choices. Those are Moreno’s choices.

    Moreno lives with that, and presumably quite comfortably.

    It’s his choice.

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  • Rangers will welcome back Josh Hamilton 'with open arms' after Angels dump him

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – With any luck at all, and lord knows he could use some, Josh Hamilton will find Texas Rangers fans to be more forgiving and more compassionate than Arte Moreno.

    Hamilton was booed out of Texas when his production declined. Two months later, upon signing with the Los Angeles Angels, his wife observed, "They let us go out and date people and kind of gave our hearts away. …In hindsight, I'm so glad they didn't [sign Josh]." Not long after that, Hamilton noted Dallas was, "Not a true baseball town," and so, as they say, it was on.

    It appears now Hamilton is on the verge of returning to Texas, where he played five mostly glorious seasons, and to the ballpark that discovered its vicious side when he arrived in an Angels uniform. A couple liners in the gaps ought to clear that up.

    On Friday, the Angels and Rangers neared a trade that would send the troubled Hamilton back to Texas. The Angels will send about $68 million (other reports suggested the number would be even higher) – Hamilton is due $83 million over the next three seasons – to Texas. In return, the Rangers will take Hamilton out of Moreno's sight.

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  • Bryan Price F-bomb incident is an unfortunate part of the game

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    Long before there was Internet, a few of us gathered in the manager’s office of what was becoming a routinely glum clubhouse. The manager was a large man. When he was glum, he glummed enough for everyone.

    After losses, and there were a lot of them, it could be difficult to get the conversation going. Every question seemed fine in your head and even as it began to form in your mouth, but, somehow, by the time it had wriggled loose, freed itself and fell sadly into the abyss of glumness, it was the dumbest question since, “Really, Brute, you too?”

    This manager, a really fine fellow for the better part of 23 hours and 45 minutes every day, would sit behind his desk, cigarette smoldering near his fingers, and practically dare someone to ask … something … anything. That office was so quiet you could hear that cigarette burn. Least you assumed it was the cigarette.

    The trick was to lob one up there, get the conversation started, hope not to lose a limb, and then everybody could get on with their lives and deadlines.

    “So,” began one of my colleagues …

    Up went an eyebrow.

    “I mean,” he continued …

    Exasperation registering in chin and forehead areas.

    “Not to second-guess,” he tried …

    Hol-eee crap.

  • Tuesdays with Brownie: An early case of Mets magic

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season. This week: On whatever it is that is happening to the Mets, the Rays maxing out on the bench, and – oh no – what’s Loria up to now?)

    If you’d looked at the New York Mets at just the right angle, maybe dimmed the lights some, put a hand over one eye, you might’ve considered them something like legit in the NL East. You know, David Wright hits, Matt Harvey deals, the ninth inning gets taken care of, the Washington Nationals take up bocce instead, everything goes about perfect …

    Then, maybe. Mayyyy-be. But still probably not.

    Alas, the Mets being the Mets and all, not only does everything not go perfectly, but a whole mess of stuff doesn’t go perfectly, and in fact it all looks a little chaotic, so what good could come of that?

    Well, a pretty terrific two weeks in Flushing comes of that. Eight wins in a row come of that. And 10-3 comes of that.

    Huh.

    But, who catches all these innings? Who takes d’Arnaud’s place?

    “If he’s coming, he’s going to play,” Collins told reporters in New York on Sunday. “Can he handle it here? We will most likely find out.”

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