David Brown

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David Brown is an editor of Big League Stew, and has contributed to the blog since its opening season in 2008. Dave has covered Major League Baseball since 1998, first with the Associated Press and later the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Ill. Born and raised in Chicago, Dave's favorite player growing up was (and remains) Fred McGriff.

  • Manager Matt Williams made a much bigger mistake than Bryce Harper — if you even call what Harper did a mistake — by benching his young star after he didn't hustle to first base on a ground ball back to the pitcher Saturday afternoon. Williams lectured Harper and removed him in the sixth inning, leaving the Washington Nationals short one of their most potent bats during a ninth-inning rally.

    The Nats fell 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals, but the outcome might have been different had Harper been given a chance to redeem himself in his team's last at-bat. Instead, Kevin Frandsen hit, and made an out. No offense to Frandsen, but the Nats lost something in the exchange there.

    Williams gave little indication that he had second thoughts, or learned any lessons himself, by the time he spoke to reporters.

    The kind of

    Read More »from Nats' manager Matt Williams makes rookie mistake benching Bryce Harper
  • Most mistakes committed on a baseball field, even mental ones, can be forgiven. Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, even now, probably is testing that statement after what slugger Matt Dominguez pulled Thursday night.

    Porter's slow burn in the video below is epic. He takes 17 seconds to answer a question about Dominguez's baserunning blunder against the Kansas City Royals, as CSN Houston notes.

    Porter doesn't fly off the handle but he's definitely mad as heck and disappointed in Dominguez's decision-making skills.

    After hitting a ball into the gap at Minute Maid Park that should have been a single to put runners at the corners, Dominguez got greedy, making a wide turn at first and trying — sort of — for a double. He was out by a lot, as you can see. Dominguez was so out, he didn't even bother sliding, or even thinking about sliding.

    The situation — nobody out, trailing by five runs — called for a conservative play. Dominguez certainly did not do

    Read More »from Bo Porter silent for 17 seconds before answering question about Astros blunder
  • Nut allergy bonds Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz and 8-year-old Wyatt Alford

    An 8-year-old boy from Atlanta named Wyatt Alford came to spring training in Sarasota, Fla. and saw left-hander Brian Matusz pitch for the Baltimore Orioles. Alford didn't know until the next morning by reading a newspaper that they have something important in common: They both have severe nut allergies. Matusz still gets teased about it by his teammates, and suspects Alford has gone through similar treatment. But it's nothing to be embarrassed about, Matusz says.

    Inspired by watching Matusz, 27, succeed in Major League Baseball, the young boy became an instant fan and mailed him some unique items to autograph. As a result, Matusz, too, became a big fan of Alford's.

    Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported the details of a neat acquaintance between a boy and a ballplayer:

    Inside the envelope was a newspaper article detailing Matusz's frightening allergic reaction to a dinner prepared in peanut oil March 9 that sent the 27-year-old left-hander to the emergency room.

    Also included

    Read More »from Nut allergy bonds Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz and 8-year-old Wyatt Alford
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    Growing up in small-town Oklahoma and idolizing Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench had an idea at a young age that baseball would take him places. When he was nine, he played Little League with 12- and 13-year-olds. He was the state's player of the year as a senior in high school and a second-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1965. That's probably the last time anyone underrated the Hall of Famer. A 14-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner and owner of 389 home runs, Bench became the greatest catcher in major league history.

    At age 66, Bench still follows the game closely, rooting for the Reds and keeping watch on what's happening with new sliding/tagging rules, along with other progressive changes MLB is making. He's also involved with one of his favorite boyhood activities — opening packs of baseball cards — and doing publicity for Topps and its 2014 Series I cards. He talks about all of that and more in the latest Answer Man session. As a bonus, we've included 10 minutes of

    Read More »from Answer Man: Johnny Bench talks Mickey Mantle cards, catcher collisions and the 'Baseball Bunch' (but not Pete Rose)
  • Yankees triple play completed by novice first baseman's great pick

    After missing most of the past two seasons because of catastrophic injuries to the same knee, Scott Sizemore returned to the majors just in time to help the New York Yankees turn a triple play. And at a position where Sizemore has practically no experience.

    Playing first base for the first time in his professional career, a span of 659 games and eight-plus years, Sizemore made a terrific scoop of a relay throw by second baseman Brian Roberts to complete a 5-4-3 triple play against the Tampa Bay Rays. Sizemore's pick punctuated a 10-2 victory Thursday night for the Yankees and left-hander CC Sabathia.

    The Yankees have turned 24 triple plays in their history, including three since 2010 with Sabathia on the hill.

    Personally, it had to be thrilling for Sizemore, 29, to be thrown into the fire and come through. His first game of the season came Wednesday, a start at third base at Yankee Stadium, after beginning in the minors after being a non-roster invitee to spring training. The Yankees

    Read More »from Yankees triple play completed by novice first baseman's great pick
  • Firework thrown by fan injures at least five at San Francisco's AT&T Park

    (Getty)

    The rivalry between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers has prompted lots of fun, but also some unwanted behavior through the years by both groups of fans. Perhaps the most extreme example was the Bryan Stow beating at a Dodger Stadium parking lot.

    What happened at AT&T Park on Wednesday night wasn't as damaging, yet it's still senseless and reflects badly on the baseball community at large. At least five people were injured after a fan threw a firework from the outfield bleachers onto a walkway near a beer concession stand about 9:30 p.m. local time. The explosion was so loud and produced enough smoke that umpires stopped the game between the Giants and Dodgers for a few moments.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported the incident first:

    Witnesses said a man sitting in the outfield bleachers, wearing a Giants hat and orange jacket, threw a large firecracker that looked like an M-80 into a group of people standing in the pedestrian concourse near the Coors Light concession

    Read More »from Firework thrown by fan injures at least five at San Francisco's AT&T Park
  • A Dude Fan Bro, possibly under the influence of alcohol, ran onto the field at Globe Life Park (where the Texas Rangers play) in the seventh inning Wednesday night. He ran around the outfield, briefly delaying the Rangers' turn at bat against the Seattle Mariners — and making an amusing pose with two thumbs up — before ballpark security corralled him like a steer at the rodeo.

    The Mariners seemed unhappy that a Dude Fan Bro interrupted the ballgame, as they seemed unwilling to give him advice as to how he should get out of his predicament. They got unhappier later after Leonys Martin won the game for Texas in its final at-bat.

    Please enjoy a slideshow that captures the spirit on the moment while possibly taking certain liberties imagining what's going on in the minds of the people involved. Click on the photo above to begin.

    UPDATE: Video of the Dude Fan Bro jumping onto the field is on YouTube.

    According to the person who posted it, Dude Fan Bro shouted, "I'm going to be on ESPN

    Read More »from Fan runs onto field at Rangers game and shows his thumbs before security comes
  • Johnny Cueto gets drop on Pirates by throwing 3-hit, 12-K shutout

    (AP)

    Remove a playoff nightmare from the equation and Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto is the unquestioned daddy of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Cueto pitched a three-hitter Wednesday afternoon, striking out a career-high 12 and walking none against the Bucs in a 4-0 victory for the Reds. Two of his three career shutouts have come against Pittsburgh. His ERA fell to 2.22 in 22 career starts against the Pirates, not counting the wild card debacle at PNC Park in October, when he literally dropped the ball on the mound not long before the Bucs ended the Reds season.

    Remember Pirates fans chanting his name until he got the dropsy?

     

    None of that nonsense this time on his home ground at Great American Ball Park. With Cueto's hair extensions flowing in the breeze and glistening in the sunshine, he dazzled the Pirates with his half-Luis Tiant delivery. Finish him, Johnny! He did, getting Andrew McCutchen to fly out (hard) to right in his 107th pitch.

    Cueto, as you figure he might, downplayed

    Read More »from Johnny Cueto gets drop on Pirates by throwing 3-hit, 12-K shutout
  • George Brett and Lorde finally meet

    (@MLB)

    She could never be Royal. He couldn't possibly be any more Royal. Finally, pop icons from different generations, connected by a picture of a man wearing a Kansas City Royals jersey almost 40 years ago, have met in person.

    International recording artist extraordinaire Lorde met the inspiration for her song "Royals," Hall of Famer George Brett, on Tuesday night before her show at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, TMZ reports. Her people had reached out to his people for a meeting, but a potential connection missed in Kansas City when Lorde performed there recently. Brett instead sent her an autographed jersey as an offering of respect.

    (Thank goodness the concert didn't take place at the Bellagio, or there might have been a conflict of a NSFW and "double-tapered" nature.)

    Here's another shot, in which Lorde looks happier:

    (Kansas City Royals)

    Brett's golf tan, it's overwhelming in person.

    Regardless, with the Royal circle now complete, we can ask: How did Lorde come across that photo of Brett in the

    Read More »from George Brett and Lorde finally meet
  • (AP)

     

     

    They sometimes call San Francisco's Hector Sanchez "Hacktor" because he likes to swing. That can be a good thing, or bad, if you're Brandon League of the Dodgers. Sanchez came through with two outs in the 12th, lining an RBI single off the glove of diving second baseman Justin Turner for a 3-2 Giants victory. The hit prevented what surely would have become a five-hour game. Instead, a tidy 4:54.

    The Giants had tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, with one out this time, against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Brandon Belt lined an RBI double to left that brought Angel Pagan home from first base.

    The Dodgers activated former Giants beard Brian Wilson before the game, but manager Don Mattingly did not use him in relief because that would have been too much fun at AT&T Park.

    One of the reasons the game lasted so long: The deliberate pace of the starting pitchers, particularly L.A.'s Josh Beckett, who walked five in five scoreless innings and 90 pitches. Tim Lincecum struck out

    Read More »from The Grand Slam: Nearly 5 hours later, Hector Sanchez single beats Dodgers in 12

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