Tim Brown

  • Ryne Sandberg bows out of impossible situation with Phillies

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Look, Ryne Sandberg seemed a decent enough manager, long as a game didn't run off in too complex a direction. That didn't come up very often; when you're being outscored by 122 runs in not even three months, the issue is not the cerebral maneuverings of the guy standing on the top step. This was the man who jumped behind the wheel as the first axle of the bus went off the cliff, and no amount of steering or brake pumping was going to change what happened next.

    The Philadelphia Phillies happened next, in a tiny little puff, way down … there.

    They held on to who they were for too long. They clung to yesterday. They fired the wrong people. They made poor choices. It happens. The ballpark was full, the payroll was big and had stars; tomorrow seemed so, so far away. If just this guy could hit, or that guy could stay healthy, or that guy could be 25 again, or they all could come together in a happy Kumbaya under a Hall of Fame player with a legit rep, maybe they'd buy a season or two to get their acts together.

    One less issue: Ryne Sandberg.

    Which is really unusual.

    Just walked in Friday and fired himself.

    The keys to the bus.

  • MLB Power Rankings: If the Cardinals had hacked all 30 teams

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Something a little different this week, as we uncover what the Cardinals would have learned had they hacked not just the Astros but every team in baseball:

    The rankings (records through Wednesday's games):

    1. St. Louis Cardinals (47-24; Previous: 1) – Well, this is awkward – turns out Bill DeWitt's signature on bottom of paychecks has little hearts over the i's.

    2. Kansas City Royals (41-28; Previous: 2) – Ned Yost's high score on Threes! is three.

    3. Houston Astros (42-32; Previous: 7) – All references to Cardinals are required to be whispered.

    4. Pittsburgh Pirates (40-31; Previous: 8) – Josh Harrison was built from the spare parts of six different utility players.

    5. Los Angeles Dodgers (40-33; Previous: 3) – The computer system at Dodger Stadium stores information in Andrew Friedman's head.

    6. Tampa Bay Rays (41-33; Previous: 9) – For months before leaving for Chicago, Joe Maddon had been receiving drills and hacksaws from team tailor.

    7. Chicago Cubs (39-31; Previous: 10) – Every few weeks Theo Epstein reboots the operating system on Jed Hoyer.

    9. San Francisco Giants (39-34; Previous: 4) – Hunter Pence types with one finger.

  • How Albert Pujols has again become one of baseball's most feared hitters

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – His son A.J. was asking just the other day about the All-Star Game, Albert Pujols said, about going to Cincinnati and sitting in that clubhouse with the great players, all those shiny baseballs and bats on the tables to sign, and then standing along the baseline with all those different hats and jerseys. It's been five years, after all, four All-Star Games at home with the family, which was great, of course, but nobody plays for a vacation in July.

    Pujols told his boy he didn't know if he'd be an All Star or not, that he didn't decide these things, not really. Maybe people had just gotten used to him being something other than that Albert Pujols, the one who stood at first base for the National League for about a decade without peer, and maybe there were guys who were better than him now. Not better better, but better today maybe, however they measure these things.

    If you do go, A.J. persisted, will you hit in the Home Run Derby?

    On Tuesday afternoon Pujols stopped at the retelling to laugh warmly at a 14-year-old's curiosity, his stubbornness, his ability to hear only exactly what he wants to hear and then slog onward.

    Is he an All-Star?

  • Tuesdays with Brownie: Of unwritten rules and how to play the game

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    We watch with our hearts and because of that a wispy, predisposed notion of honor, and therefore expect Jose Tabata to get the hell out of the way of Max Scherzer’s destiny. As if anyone really has a destiny, especially in a silly game, as if someone else is beholden to it.

    We grant 27 outs divine status, a referendum on not just a ballgame but the fight in a man, except in certain circumstances when, you know, 25 or 26 is sufficient.

    We measure the inches, we rue them, we celebrate them, but we accept them, until the last of them are the pad hanging off Tabata’s left elbow.

    This is not a question of whether Tabata intentionally deflected a slider Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. He probably did. At the very least, his personal interest in preserving Scherzer’s bid for a perfect game was minimal. He wouldn’t play along, a quality we generally like in an athlete until he’s standing in the way of our view of how things are, you know, supposed to go.

    To that, play the game.

    Nationals fans, who booed Tabata at the time and then all Sunday afternoon and likely will forever, should understand this better than most. They watch Bryce Harper play every day.

    More MLB coverage:

  • Cruel and unusual: Max Scherzer comes one strike away from perfect game

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Max Scherzer was a pitch from perfect Saturday afternoon, six days after he’d also brushed against perfection.

    He was ferocious again. He was willful. He threw a no-hitter, then threw his arms in the air and caught one Washington Nationals teammate after another in post-game embraces.

    So this was his work week: 18 innings, 57 batters faced, 54 retired, three baserunners, one (broken-bat) hit, 26 strikeouts.

    Johnny Vander Near.

    "I’m just locked," Scherzer told reporters.

    On a day against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park when the crowd rose to greet most of his last few dozen pitches, Scherzer threw the 289th no-hitter in MLB history.

    That it was not a perfect game came to a single pitch – a 2-and-2 slider – with two out in the ninth inning to pinch-hitter Jose Tabata. The slider was inside, Tabata crouched into it and was hit on the front elbow. Tabata appeared to glance back at plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, as he’d made little effort to avoid the pitch, and might even have invited the pitch to hit him. Muchlinski motioned him to first base.

    "Just didn’t finish the pitch," Scherzer said. "Backed up on me. And clipped him."

  • Alex Rodriguez homers for 3,000th hit, and Yankees fans roar their approval

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    In the end, do you stand and recognize the man, the deed or the uniform? Do you stand and applaud the player or the 24 beside him, who wear the same uniform, who foremost needed a hit to beat the Detroit Tigers and a win toward a return to October for the first time in three years, an eternity for the storied franchise?

    Do you rise and forgive? Forget? Do you rise for the moment? Is it your duty as a fan of the New York Yankees, like your father was, and his father too?

    Are you simply exhausted by the controversy? The shade it throws? The column inches it inspires?

    Or do you just want a cool selfie?

    A pariah just months ago, when his life choices fouled his career choice, embarrassed his team and his sport, and ostensibly held up the Yankees' return to relevance, Alex Rodriguez homered on the first pitch he saw from Justin Verlander  for his 3,000th career hit Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

    The grand place shook with gratitude. It roared with approval.

    When the crowd would not settle, Rodriguez leaped up the stairs to the field, waved to the people, then flipped an excuse-me wave to the waiting Verlander – a curtain call, whadda ya gonna do, huh?

    Maybe it was a lot to ask.

  • Arizona's Chase Anderson living MLB dream by walking in his father’s shoes

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – They had shared the journey for so long, so often just the two of them and tethered so tight they’d perhaps left a single set of footprints. Size 12D, by the ostrich-skin boots.

    “Same size,” Chase Anderson said with a nod.

    He wears his late father’s clothes; socks and tawny boots, oval cowboy belt buckle, faded Wrangler jeans and pink polo shirt, a single outfit that continues what they started.

    He’ll explain.

    “I like being in his shoes for a day,” he said. “For a little bit. Just to understand again that hard work will get me anywhere. Anywhere I want to go.”

    Also, he said, “He always told me, ‘Grown men wear pink.’”

    He smiled. It’s been three years, and coming up on a fourth Father’s Day. Chase hugged him one morning, told him he loved him and then he was gone, a heart attack at 58.

    A right-handed pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase dresses as his father, the same outfit every time, on the days he starts at home. He has for several years. He keeps the shirt and pants clean, ironed and hanging in the same place in his closet, the boots on the floor underneath them, the socks tucked into the boots. The shirt is a bit large. The shoes, though, fit perfectly.

  • Rays' Chris Archer, academy make pitch to attract urban kids to baseball

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – On opening day near the corner of E. Artesia Boulevard and Santa Fe Avenue in Compton, their names rasped from a bullhorn, they stepped forward and, when they remembered, they waved. Their proud parents, bored brothers and sisters, and doting aunties and uncles applauded politely from the greenish knolls that backed up to a row of trees that brought relief from the surprisingly aggressive late afternoon sun.

    The field was perfect – chain-link dugouts, foul lines, outfield walls, a scoreboard and red, white and blue bunting lashed to the backstop. The baseballs were newish. The bats were of proper size. The chatter from the knolls was appropriately supportive.

    These are the grounds of the Urban Youth Academy, the league of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and the young men of Compton, all built around a sport that reputedly may or may not be dying here, but certainly would not on opening day.

    All for $25, unless their parents could not afford it. In that case, it was free, and take this uniform, this glove and these cleats with you. See you Saturday, we'll have some fun.

    "I never felt out of place," he said, "when it came to sports."

  • Saints no more: Cardinal Way takes a hit

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    The horses clip-clop, the people clap along, Red Schoendienst waves, an outfielder hits a cutoff man, the home team plays on, and St. Louis baseball seems delightfully – almost absurdly – old-world, running on the very spirit of a game you'd swear was born there.

    They call it The Cardinal Way, originally a hardball how-to guide, and over the decades having come to represent the mores of an organization, its city and the people who cloak themselves in – and then bleed fully and willingly of – Cardinal red. They do it right, everyone said. They play it right.

    Beyond the occasional over-muscled slugger, the Cardinals honored their baseball, won with dignity, generally lost with composure, and were admired for their gainful competency. Beyond that, they advanced to at least the NLCS nine times in the past 15 seasons, and in this season have a 42-21 record, the best in baseball.

    Then the FBI called, and then we learned not of The Cardinal Way but of The Cardinal Way In, and a reputation was threatened in a single morning of unseemly allegations.

     

  • Tuesdays with Brownie: Respect your elders

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

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

    We like a good prospect as much as the next guy, unless that guy watched any part of the draft after the first round, at which point we stand proudly with the let-us-know-when-they-get-here crowd.

    Granted, entire farm systems exist so a handful of young men have people to play baseball with and so losing general managers have something to sell their owners and fan bases on, and therefore are enormously important. And we’re as likely as anyone to swoon over Joc Pederson’s grace, Kris Bryant’s thump, Francisco Lindor’s hands and Carlos Correa’s future.

    Before we start altering the courses of pennant races and franchises, however, let’s recognize that there are a few veterans old enough to be Correa’s (youngish) father or much older brother (who came around on semester breaks and ate all the Cap’n Crunch straight out of the box) that have game in them yet.

    Beyond the Yankees, Albert Pujols, who is 35, and Cruz, who will be in two weeks, are tied with Trout, who will never grow old, with 18 home runs. Nobody in the AL is having a better June than Pujols.

    Which, you know, we’re all for.