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.

  • Clay Buchholz: ERA of 1.60, SPF of 1,000

    (BLS Illustration, Getty)

    Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan found out what Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz was putting on his arm recently. It wasn't only rosin, as Buchholz claimed, and the reason it looks like sweat is because it goes on clear. And — depending on your definition of a spitball — it's not something to help him throw illegal pitches, per se, as Toronto Blue Jays broadcasters Jack Morris and Dirk Hayhurst said.

    It's BullFrog brand sunscreen, something sources told Passan that "90 percent" of major league pitchers use to help them grip the ball in wet circumstances. Hurlers feel naked without the stuff, apparently. Gooey on it's own, sunscreen mixed with rosin produces a roux, of sorts, that has glue-like properties. It acts like pine tar (which pitchers aren't supposed to use, either). Pitchers who use probably would rationalize it like this:

    Read More »from Clay Buchholz: ERA of 1.60, SPF of 1,000
  • Wild first pitch breaks glass at Citi Field

    This is why the New York Mets can't have nice things!

    Gary Green, a lifelong Mets fan who also happens to be CEO of the Class AAA Omaha Storm Chasers, got a chance to throw a ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night before right-hander Matt Harvey went to work on the White Sox at Citi Field.

    As Bob Uecker's character in "Major League" would say, Green's effort went "Juuuuust a bit outside." Green's pitch was so wild, yet had so much on it, that it broke a pane of glass behind home plate that protects a TV camera. Well ... good job, glass!

    Broadcaster Steve Stone on CSN Chicago added, "I guess when you throw the ceremonial first pitch, you just don't want to airmail the catcher."

    And the reaction of catcher John Buck was the best part. He barely moves for the ball (because, why?), he looks behind home plate and then turns back to Green as if to say, "I think you broke something."

    This is not the first time Green has had trouble with a first pitch at Citi Field. In 2009:

    Read More »from Wild first pitch breaks glass at Citi Field
  • (Getty)It didn't take long for a brand-new ballpark to start looking like the place the Miami Marlins used to call home.

    Because of weak attendance at Marlins Park, the club announced Tuesday it will be closing the upper deck for several upcoming home dates. The closure would reduce stadium capacity from 37,442 to about 27,000, which still is more than enough to accomodate the average number of tickets distributed at home games: 18,864, fourth-smallest in Major League Baseball. The amount of people who actually show up for the game is something less than that.

    Columnist Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has the details:

    The upper bowl will be closed for six dates in the team’s nine-game homestand that begins next Tuesday. Fans can sit only in the lower bowl for games May 14-16 against Cincinnati and May 20-22 against Philadelphia. The upper bowl will remain open for May 17-19 games against Arizona.

    It's not that Diamondbacks fans travel better than those of the Phillies or Reds, but that series comes on a Friday-Sunday, when attendance usually is higher across the league.

    Fewer than 500 seats in the upper deck are season tickets, anyway, so those folks will be moved to the lower bowl for affected games. What if they don't want to be moved? Oh, you don't want to get into an argument with the Marlins over being moved.

    Built for $634 million and opened just a year ago, Marlins Park averaged 27,401 fans in 2012, though the team says only about 17,000 showed for games. As payroll-cutting measures have continued and the quality of the team's play has worsened, a strong demand just doesn't exist. So why not close the upper tank, like they did at Sun Life Stadium, if there's not enough people? It's embarrassing either way. At least this makes sense from a financial standpoint.

    Unless advance ticket sales perk up, expect the team to do this going forward. Team spokesman P.J. Loyello says it's better this way:

    Read More »from Miami Marlins closing upper deck of mostly empty new stadium for several dates
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    The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

    One strike away from his 100th career save, Atlanta Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel suddenly became vulnerable to the Cincinnati Reds, who hit two solo home runs in a span of five pitches to flip the script on the league's top closer.

    Devin Mesoraco remembered the advice of manager Dusty Baker and connected for his career first pinch-hit home run, and Shin-Soo Choo followed with a game-ender in the Reds' shocking 5-4 victory Tuesday night. Reporter Joe Kay of the Associated Press writes:

    Mesoraco hasn't done much pinch hitting, but remembered something that manager Dusty Baker had advised about those pressure situations.

    ''Dusty says with two strikes, look for their hardest pitch away,'' Mesoraco said. ''I stayed on it.''

    It was the second blown save in five days for Kimbrel, who gave up a tying home to David Wright of the Mets in a loss Friday. He's blown three saves this season after blowing that many in all of 2012. He's also allowing a .449 slugging percentage by opponents.

    ''All around, it's frustrating,'' said Kimbrel, who is 10 of 13 in save chances. ''I've blown three saves. Those are wins we should have had."

    More ninth-inning home-run heroics: Slugger Paul Goldschmidt ended an 11-pitch at-bat against Brandon League with a two-run homer that broke a tie in the ninth and sent the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory that kept the Los Angeles Dodgers reeling. Goldschmidt fouled off five pitches with a 3-2 count before taking League over the fence. Arizona handed L.A. its sixth straight defeat after Heath Bell pitched a scoreless ninth. J.J. Putz felt stiffness in his right elbow and was lifted after walking Nick Punto to start the bottom of the ninth.

    Read More »from The Juice: Cincinnati Reds home runs stun Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel in ninth-inning comeback
  • (AP)

    One game proves nothing usually, but if there ever has been an example of the inanity of assigning wins and losses to individual pitchers, what happened to right-hander Matt Harvey on Tuesday night is it.

    Here's his line for the New York Mets: Nine innings, 12 strikeouts, one hit allowed, no runs or walks and one bloody nose — which he got under control after a messy first. Also for Harvey: A no-decision. The Mets scored a run in the 10th to beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0 at Citi Field.

    Harvey allowed only an infield single to Alex Rios with two outs in the seventh.

    Harvey not getting credit for a win because his team didn't score while he happened to be in the game shouldn't matter, but it does matter when it comes to getting paid. Things like wins and RBIs — another statistic largely beyond an individual's control — frequently are a key part of arbitration hearings and contract negotiations in general.

    But just between us, wins and losses for pitchers are baloney. There are a zillion better ways to measure how well a pitcher performed, like game score. (Here's the formula.) Against the White Sox, Harvey posted a game score of 97, the best anyone has turned in so far this season and, as Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan said on Twitter:

    Since 1916, there have been only 40 outings of nine innings or fewer with a higher Game Score.

    Only 59 pitchers have gone up to nine innings and scored at least a 97. Taking it a step further, if you filter Passan's list to include only pitchers who got a no-decision, it's three performances long.

    Read More »from Matt Harvey: Bloody nose, 9 IP, 12 Ks, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 R, no decision in New York Mets win
  • (Getty)

    This is a profitable time for anyone who worked in the San Francisco Giants clubhouse from the 2009 through 2011 seasons.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that the hometown San Francisco Giants have agreed to pay at least "$700,000 in back wages and penalties to 74 batboys, cooks, clubhouse attendants and other workers after a federal audit concluded the team's salary practices were improper."

    What happened here? Just another slip-up in the payroll department? No, just a hard lesson in economics when the government enforces the law:

    Read More »from San Francisco Giants ordered to pay $700,000 in back wages to clubhouse workers
  • Behold: Bo Jackson’s scouting report from 1985

    (Getty)

    As much of a megastar as Bo Jackson was in the 1980s and early '90s before a hip injury turned him mortal, he's going to be even bigger in legend as time passes. Simply because, we'll always wonder what might have been. What if he hadn't gotten hurt playing football and needed a plastic and titanium hip to get around? What if he played 16 NFL games a year? How many football records might he hold?

    What if he had only concentrated on one sport? And what if his baseball abilities had been allowed to blossom to their greatest extent?

    In 1985, when he was still in college at Auburn, a Kansas City Royals scout named Ken Gonzales prepared a report before the major league draft. Some 28 years later, it's re-appeared on the Internet. Ready?

    Here it is:

    Read More »from Behold: Bo Jackson’s scouting report from 1985
  • Most ceremonial first pitches begin and end without incident, and they fade from memory just as quickly. But some stay with you. Like a wound that just won't close.

    There's pop icon Mariah Carey in 2008. And there's former Cincinnati major Mark Mallory in 2007.

    And now, there's Tiffany Hwang.

    Born and raised on the West Coast of the United States, Hawng moved to Korea in order to find fame as a performer — which she apparently has with the nine-woman pop group, Girls' Generation. Now, she's back in the States visiting, being aggressively adorable and making an appearance at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. A photo op with Matt Kemp (who didn't seem to recognize her, at first) preceded an epic first pitch.

    Hwang threw, uh, errantly to countryman Hyun-Jin Ryu, who barely moved and made no real attempt to field her wild pitch.

    "Oh, it went terrible," Hwang said. "But he (Ryu) said, 'It's OK.' "

    If he says so!

    A year ago, one of Tiffany's bandmates threw an errant first pitch in a game overseas. Compare the two throws (if you dare):

    Read More »from Korean-American pop star Tiffany Hwang throws terrible first pitch before Dodgers game
  • Half of new Mississippi River bridge named for Stan Musial

    (AP)

    Other than naming an entire bridge after him, it's unlikely that anyone can think of a more fitting tribute to Stan "The Man" Musial than naming, well, half of a new Mississippi River bridge after the greatest St. Louis Cardinals player of all time.

    The Missouri legislature did its part Monday, sending a bill to governor Jay Nixon that would name the western side of the bridge — part of Interstate 70 that runs into St. Louis and goes over the river — after Musial, who died at age 92 in January.

    Now, all we need is for the Illinois side to do its part and agree on Musial, and we would have ourselves The Stan Musial Bridge in its entirety. Right, Illinois? Hello?

    Uh oh.

    From the Kansas City Star:

    Read More »from Half of new Mississippi River bridge named for Stan Musial
  • The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

    Everything evens out in the end, J.P. Arencibia says, as long as you keep working hard. It remains to be seen if his two-out, two-run, go-ahead home run against Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning Monday night, which capped an eight-run comeback for the Toronto Blue Jays, will have a more significant meaning going forward. But for one night, the Jays could put a miserably disappointing start to the season behind them. They improved to 12-21.

    Via the Associated Press, Arencibia said of Toronto's 8-7 victory at Tampa Bay:

    ''I think this game kind of evens itself out and if guys keep coming with positive attitudes and keep coming ready to work, it's going to turn. That's the way this game is, and you've got to continue to stay positive and come ready to play every day,'' Arencibia said after the Blue Jays won for just the fourth time in 14 games.

    The last time Toronto rallied from at least seven runs down to win was June 5, 2007, when it overcame an 8-1 margin to beat Tampa Bay 12-11, STATS said.

    Drew do that voodoo that he do: Stephen Drew started the season for the Boston Red Sox on the DL with a concussion, and he hadn't been hitting well since his return. But a four-hit night, capped off with a game-ending double to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in 11 innings, is just the kind of sign to indicate that he's turning things around. Drew also homered after coming in batting .182.

    Winning phormula — phinally: Philadelphia's Domonic Brown hit a looooong home run into McCovey Cove and Cliff Lee dominated the Giants in a 6-2 Phillies victory. Hey, wasn't this how the Phillies drew it up before the season started? Madison Bumgarner's ERA rose from 1.55 to 2.31.

    Read More »from The Juice: J.P. Arencibia’s home run in ninth completes Toronto Blue Jays eight-run comeback

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