Tim Brown

  • Anthony Rizzo and the art of getting plunked

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 20 hrs ago

    SAN DIEGO – Anthony Rizzo, a towering figure in a Chicago Cubs renaissance whose plate appearances have begun to resemble Butch Cassidy’s dash from that Bolivian cabana, padded stiffly across the clubhouse. He was wrapped from armpits to waist in a thick heating pad, which gave him the appearance of one of the California burritos they sell on street corners here.

    He’d been hit by 12 pitches – hip, back, triceps, hip again, thigh, forearm, back foot, elbow, front shin, hamstring, back again, back foot again – not yet a quarter through the season, a decent pace considering it’s been 11 years since a batter was hit 30 times and 44 years since one was struck as many as 40 times.

    Not much hurts when you’re 25 years old, generally speaking, an outlier being the residue of a baseball launched from, like, 55 feet away. Pretty much, if it’s thrown too hard to get out of the way of, it’s probably going to hurt, even if you’re 6-foot-3, 240 pounds and all game, as Anthony Rizzo is. Which, presumably, was where the burrito get-up came in.

    “This?” Rizzo said, adjusting the pad under his shirt. “Nah. The beds here suck.”

    “I have no idea,” he said. “I honestly have no idea.”

    He smiled.

  • Kris Bryant's meteoric rise from San Diego's cheap seats to Cubs phenom

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    SAN DIEGO, Calif. – From the third-base dugout Tuesday evening, Kris Bryant pointed into the distance, to a place that technically is part of Petco Park and in reality is where they occasionally herd the college kids for about five bucks a pop and hope they don't make too big of a mess.

    "Way up there," he said of the seats above the right-field bleachers, above some signage, above a concourse and below the marine layer but only just barely.

    He wouldn't come often to Petco Park. Might've had something to do with the seats. But he was here the night two years ago when Carlos Quentin charged – and broke the collarbone of – Zack Greinke, when all the people here were screaming and yelling and going a little crazy over it.

    "Yeah, I was one of those fans," Bryant admitted.

    It's still special to stand in a place where not so long ago the only way in was by daydream or hang glider.

    "It's come full circle," Bryant said. "It's really a little surreal."

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  • Tuesdays with Brownie: It's just the Marlins' way

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season.)

    The best part about the Miami Marlins is how rigorously earnest they are in all endeavors: in full attack, in frantic retreat, in their various zigs and zags, in sickness and in health and in, you know, same ol’-same ol’.

    At some level, maybe at all levels, they really believe this stuff. So, I’m pretty sure (if not totally positive), they are not just messing with us, though it would be great if they were.

    As baseball operations president Michael Hill assured us Monday morning after opting to replace his field manager with his general manager, a somewhat uncommon personnel tactic, “If we didn’t think it would work we wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

    OK, just checking.

    Build up, knock down, build up again, hire a manager, fire him, hire somebody new, payroll dumps, payroll spikes, old ballparks, new ballparks, tax promises, tax realities, but, hey, if they didn’t think it would work …

    We wouldn’t all be sitting here today. Amused.

    The rest was left to Samson and his baseball men, or so the story went.

    You know, unless they’re messing with us.

    First, he’s too late.

    Second, he took it back.

  • Marlins change direction again with Dan Jennings

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Dan Jennings has one of those big smiles, along with one of those big handshakes. He tells stories in a big voice and often follows them with a big laugh. Because of these qualities, it’s easy to like Dan Jennings, who in addition has toiled as a savvy baseball man in a capricious organization – the Miami Marlins – for which, presumably, that genius can have a tendency to go unrewarded.

    This is where, one day in the retelling, Jennings, the Marlins’ erstwhile general manager, might very well gather up his big ol’ voice and big ol’ laugh and continue the story of the Marlins in mid-May 2015.

    For on Sunday the Marlins fired their manager, Mike Redmond, because the Marlins were supposed to be competitive in 2015 and instead were 16-22 and a half-game out of last place in the NL East. It seemed at the time to be a rash decision, but that’s what the Marlins are especially good at. In a half-day of speculation leading to Monday morning’s announcement of Redmond’s replacement, the names that bubbled up and floated away included Jeff Conine, Brett Butler, Tony Perez and Ivan Rodriguez, along with the out-of-work Rons – Roenicke, Washington and Gardenhire.

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  • Mike Redmond's firing once again shows impulsiveness of Marlins ownership

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    In case you thought the Miami Marlins had finally found a course they could believe in, could build on, could sustain, we bring you Sunday. Minutes after nearly being no-hit, which resulted in their 10th loss in 14 games anyway, they fired their manager and his bench coach. Presumably owner Jeffrey Loria could not help himself, as it had been months since the Marlins had skittered off in a panic over something or other.

    The club announced it would name a replacement for manager Mike Redmond on Monday, at which point the Marlins will have their eighth manager in a decade, including Jack McKeon twice and one-and-dones Joe Girardi and Ozzie Guillen. In fact, come that news conference, Loria will be paying three managers (Guillen, Redmond and the new guy) and a former general manager (Larry Beinfest), with little to show for it but a reputation for overreaction.

    Speculation out of Miami pegged third-base coach Brett Butler as the possible next man up, at minimum on an interim basis, but a source with the team denied it.

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  • Troy Tulowitzki says he won't try to force a trade from the Rockies, for now, at least

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – Deconstruct the notion that Troy Tulowitzki might wish to continue his baseball somewhere other than in Denver, and what you have is a man who has turned 30, whose final prime seasons are coming, whose team has won four games in a month and probably lacks the depth to make anything more than a cosmetic recovery, and whose body appears finally capable of remaining upright. He's played in a lot of games over the years that don't count for much. He's watched a lot of others.

    There's also the argument Tulowitzki has contributed to the Colorado Rockies' losing battle with relevance. He does, after all, account for a good portion of the payroll (and will for another six seasons) and he does have a knack for injury. Doesn't he then have a responsibility to the rebuild, the reload, the restoration, whatever they're going to call this? And what of the club's responsibility to, you know, find some freakin' pitching once in a while?

    "There's no angry guy in a clubhouse that says, 'I demand a trade,' " Tulowitzki said. "I'm focused on becoming the best player I can be."

    For now, he stays.

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  • MLB Power Rankings: Are the Yankees for real?

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    On Alex Rodriguez’s milestone, Justin Verlander’s rehab plans and Torii Hunter’s preferred transportation:

    The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games):

    1. St. Louis Cardinals (23-10; Previous: 1) – Matt Carpenter, 29, sits out with “extreme fatigue.” Man, is he gonna hate his 50s.

    2. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-11; Previous: 6) – Joc Pederson king of three true outcomes – homer, walk, strikeout. Unlisted fourth true outcome is running into Yasiel Puig in gap.

    3. Kansas City Royals (21-13; Previous: 2) – Things much calmer once it was explained to Yordano Ventura that WAR is just an acronym.

    4. New York Yankees (21-14; Previous: 8) – Team Twitter account indifferent on A-Rod milestones, social media guy explains he’s waiting for home runs to be verified with blue checkmarks.

    5. New York Mets (20-14; Previous: 3) – Bartolo Colon has beaten the Orioles for seven different teams, ties Bud Norris.

    6. Houston Astros (21-13; Previous: 5) – Did you know Orbit’s also the guy who can get you discount hotels and airfare?

    8. Chicago Cubs (18-15; Previous: 7) – Wrigley Field left-field bleachers open, fans come to realize how much they’d missed Chris Coghlan.


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  • The problem with Clayton Kershaw might not be a big problem at all

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – Maybe you believe he's been unlucky. Maybe the deeper statistics say he's been unlucky.

    Clayton Kershaw does not believe he's been unlucky. He thinks he should throw better pitches and then, maybe, he wouldn't be unlucky anymore.

    These are the thoughts he has, the conversations he's drawn into, when a pitcher of his stature has one win in seven starts and a 4.26 ERA, when some numbers insist he has been exactly the pitcher he was for the past four seasons while others imply there could be something more to consider if you're of the mind to consider them.

    The last word, of course, belongs to Kershaw and then whether you choose to believe the first 1,400 innings of his career or the last 44. Because random comes for everyone, no matter how big and strong, no matter how polished, no matter how prepared. Things just happen. It's not always pleasant. And it doesn't always come wrapped in a pretty statistic that's supposed to have it all make sense.

    You know, as of today, May 12, still five weeks left in spring.

    "You just do what you can, man," he said. "What are you gonna do?"

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  • Tuesdays with Brownie: A catcher's tale

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season.)

    The adults who make these decisions in Valencia, Venezuela, took a long look at this boy, Carlos Eduardo Perez, and determined, yes, he would be a catcher, just as his older brother, Carlos Tomas Perez, was, and as his younger brother, Carlos Jesus Perez, would be.

    So the adults gathered up the equipment, roughly sized it up and handed it over. Perez, like his brothers before and after him, began the life.

    Some years later, Carlos – known to friends and family by his middle name, Eduardo, for obvious reasons – went to his mother to say he would not be a nurse like she was or a contractor like his father, yes, Carlos, was. He would be a ballplayer.

    “OK,” Heidi Perez told her middle son, “but you have to work hard. It’s not that easy.”

    Carlos Eduardo Perez, like his brothers, chose the life.

    The Toronto Blue Jays signed him in 2008, when he was 17. The Houston Astros traded for him in 2012 in a 10-player deal. Eighteen months later, the Astros traded him to the Los Angeles Angels with pitcher Nick Tropeano for catcher Hank Conger. The life, you see.


    That Jesus Montero?

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  • Baseball's most surprising team is trying to erase years of futility

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – On the benches under the giant ball caps in front of Angel Stadium, the boys and men of summer gather and wait for the small buses that ferry the famous New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox or Detroit Tigers from their hotels. Some of the players arrive in cabs or airport cars. But most come on the buses for the price of a tip or their gratitude, then step to the curb and walk in bunches to the iron gate across the plaza. The boys and men shuffle their baseball cards and 8-by-11s to match the faces of the players and trot alongside them, offering the cards and photos and a pen, and sometimes there is victory and other times nothing more than the hope that the next small bus carries a more generous crew. Depending on the team in town, there could be a dozen or even dozens of them, waiting, organizing their binders, staring off toward East Orangewood Avenue and the coming of the buses.

    Maybe the lone man of summer will tell a friend or two.

    "I think we're for real," ace Dallas Keuchel said Thursday afternoon. "And I'm liking the way we're playing."

    "People come to me," Altuve said, "and say we make them very proud."