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.

  • Get ready to shake your head with disapproval at the punning and rhyming of New York Yankees radio man John Sterling, who came up with a typically schlocky call for Kevin Youkilis' first home run in pinstripes. His blast against Doug Fister gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the fifth, but Youk's Yanks trail the Detroit Tigers in the late going Friday afternoon at Comerica Park.

    Let Twitter tell the story of Sterling telling the story on WFAN of New York:

    It's a nuke ... from Youk? And they say he is Kevin-sent? Sterling, you didn't. Oh, he did.

    Watch a replay of Youkilis' homer with Sterling's odd call

    Sterling has his fans on the Internet. Meanwhile, what did the masses on Twitter think about his call?

    Read More »from Radio call of Kevin Youkilis’ first New York Yankees home run just what you’d expect from John Sterling
  • Living at the ballpark would solve a whole bunch of issues for me, and maybe you, too. And not in the sneaky way Rudy used to sleep on a cot at Notre Dame Stadium before he tried out for the football team.

    Come this summer, the wild and crazy dream of authentic ballpark living becomes reality at old Bush Stadium in Indianapolis, which is being repurposed into an apartment complex. The project by Core Redevelopment, which specializes in saving historic structures, retains the outer shell of the art-deco building and includes the look of an actual baseball field in the courtyard. Stadium Lofts is believed to be the first endeavor of its kind in the United States. Part of the former stadium for Arsenal soccer in England has been converted into the Highbury Square Apartments (H/T: @Jawsh71).

    And if that's not the coolest idea you'll hear all day, it's only because you might have heard about it a week ago. Imagine the home-field advantage the apartment softball team will have! The snobs at the Reggie Miller Town Homes down the street don't stand a chance.

    This is what the city of Detroit should have done with Tiger Stadium. Detroit's got some other issues, of course, but what a wonderful concept. And it seems affordable — though I admit ignorance regarding Indianapolis rents.

    Via Governing magazine, check out more details and the cost:

    Read More »from Move in, already! Indianapolis’ old Bush Stadium becomes new apartment complex
  • Edgmer Escalona (left) and Juan Nicasio need to play nice. (AP)

    The Colorado Rockies are showing some fight so far this season, both during games and between them.

    Right-handed pitchers Edgmer Escalona and Juan Nicasio scuffled during stretching exercises Thursday with fans watching at Coors Field, and needed to be separated from each other by teammates. After taking two of three games from the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, the Rockies used a day off to have a practice that was open to the public.

    Reporter Troy Renck of the Denver Post said teammates Jeff Francis and closer Rafael Betancourt were among the first to break up the fracas, which included Escalona and Nicasio "talking loudly in Spanish" presumably to (or at) each other. Escalona is from Venezuela and Nicasio is from the Dominican Republic.

    Save some for the Padres, boys!

    Practice soon resumed — with Escalona and Nicasio using different workout partners — and afterward the arguing players were escorted to center field to talk about what happened. Manager Walt Weiss said the argument was over "clubhouse needling," but doesn't expect it to linger, telling Renck and other reporters:

    Read More »from Colorado Rockies teammates fight in front of fans: Edgmer Escalona, Juan Nicasio face no discipline
  • Sorry about the autoplay. All right, how ya' doin', everybody?! Chet Coppock used to be the king of sport talk-radio in Chicago. He has been marginalized in recent years — well, the past 20 or so — never having assimilated with the all-sports station era that followed his lead, but he's still producing content and telling stories.

    Read More »from Mickey Mantle and Chet Coppock’s smitten mother: The oedipal complexities
  • Tampa Bay Rays mascot holds inappropriate Steve Irwin sign

    Someone went to the trouble of making an insensitive sign associating deceased "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin and the Tampa Bay Rays. Further, the team's furry blue mascot — known as Raymond — acted as a semi-witting accomplice by holding up the sign at a Rays game at Tropicana Field on Wednesday.

    The sign was a Rays "To Do List," comprised of a team logo and two, numbered items: Getting to the World Series and, the sign would have us infer, killing Steve Irwin. Irwin, who of course was killed by a stingray in 2006, sinisterly had his name crossed off the list.

    Say it ain't so, Raymond!

    None of the rays who swim in the tank beyond the center-field fence at the Trop have ever been actually linked to Irwin's death; this simply was a fan's joke/conspiracy theory gone afoul.

    The club responded with a statement Thursday:

    “Last night Rays mascot Raymond was handed an inappropriate sign brought to the game by a fan. Fans are welcome to bring signs into Tropicana Field provided they are not offensive. The Tampa Bay Rays regret that this particular sign was displayed in the ballpark, and we apologize for the lapse in judgment.”

    Many of us, even most of us, have made an insensitive joke or two that, upon later reflection, was an especially bad idea once spoken out loud. (Regrets? I've got a few.) But the Rays, who are in the business of making friends and trying to influence people so they get an agreeable stadium deal somewhere, recognize that the sign falls beyond the boundaries of good taste.

    And I don't think it's fair to blame the person inside (SPOILERS) of Raymond.

    Read More »from Tampa Bay Rays mascot holds inappropriate Steve Irwin sign
  • Reaction to Manny Ramirez’s first home run in Taiwan is priceless

    If you don't miss Manny Ramirez playing in Major League Baseball, it's your loss. Or something. They just love him over in Taiwan, where he plays for the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Their regular season is into its second week, and Manny had yet to go deep — until the blast shown in the video above. Other than the home run itself, which includes a vintage follow-through by Ramirez (who always had an uncommonly pretty swing for a right-handed batter), the best part is the unhinged reaction by the broadcasters, who lose their religion as though their ice hockey team just beat the Russians at the Olympics.

    Holy Johnny Cueto!

    The other best part is where they'll stop talking in their native language and use North American English words — "TWO-RUN HOME RUUUUUUNNNN!" and "SEE YOU LATER! — to complete their sentences. Just hysterical.

    When's the last time you got that excited about baseball?

    If Manny is done playing ball in North America, maybe this thing will work out in the Far East and we can get regular highlights just as amusing as this one. Question: Do they test for PEDs in Taiwan? Asking for a friend.

    Read More »from Reaction to Manny Ramirez’s first home run in Taiwan is priceless
  • (AP)

    Who has been the face of the Tampa Bay Rays over the past five seasons? Surely manager Joe Maddon but, among the players, you would be hard-pressed to name anyone other than James Shields or Evan Longoria. And it's probably Shields, at least before he left in a trade with the Kansas City Royals this past offseason.

    Regardless, the comments Longoria made earlier this week in the Tampa Bay Times — that the Rays would be better off going forward despite Shields and B.J. Upton leaving — were surprising. Especially to Shields, who said he was puzzled and disappointed by them. Perhaps even hurt. He said in the Kansas City Star:

    “It’s disappointing,” Shields said. “I’m a little bit surprised. Evan is a great player, but I really don’t know what he’s talking about. I really don’t, and I’m being honest with you.”

    Longoria said “there was a lot of history with B.J. and Shields and this organization” because of their association with the franchise in its Devil Rays’ days.

    “Bottom line,” Longoria said, “we don’t have guys in here anymore that knew how it was. There’s no, ‘It was ... It used to be…’ It’s all here and now. And what we’re doing now. And that’s the biggest thing.”

    All of Longoria's pertinent published comments can be read here. Longoria probably was trying to do what anyone else in his situation might: Put a positive spin and optimistic outlook on the season by not dwelling on who no longer might be in the clubhouse. It's the Rays way in general. But he also put his foot in his mouth while doing so. And Longoria, who mostly comes off OK in the media, has stepped in it before.

    Read More »from James Shields ‘puzzled, disappointed’ by Evan Longoria comments about Tampa Bay Rays
  • Gio Gonzalez: ‘I felt like I was making love to my hand’

    Are you not entertained by left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals? If it's not because of his pitching, it's his personality that makes Gonzalez one of the must-watch, must-listen-to guys in Major League Baseball.

    The Stew featured Gonzalez's notable postgame quote from Wednesday in the Juice this morning, but it's so good, it deserves another look. It was cold in D.C. last night and Gonzalez had some trouble getting a grip on his pitches — although you'd never know it from the outcome, a 3-0 Nats victory against the Marlins. Not only did he shut down the Fish with his arm, but Gonzalez also hit a home run. It was a positively Kershawian performance. No matter, it was hard out there for a pitcher, and Gonzalez tried to make everyone understand by making a provocative analogy to broadcaster Bob Carpenter of MASN:

    Carpenter: "How were you feeling with the hook on a night when it's tough to have a touch pitch like that?"

    Gio: "It was definitely difficult, especially with this cold weather. It was tough to get a grip. I felt like I was making love to my hand. Just one of those things where I was constantly trying to find some grip some how, some way — the rosin bag, whatever, licking the fingers, but it felt good after that."

    So sensual! Does Gio only have spousal relations in frigid meat lockers? Should we have put a NSFW tag on this story? It should be noted that Nationals Park simulcast the interview over the ballpark loudspeakers — although it didn't appear there were too many fans hanging around to listen. No matter, cover junior's ears, mom!

    Earlier in the interview (watch the entire thing on MASN here), Gonzalez described what sounds like a migraine headache:

    Read More »from Gio Gonzalez: ‘I felt like I was making love to my hand’
  • Alan Ashby apologizes (kind of) for Yu Darvish remark on Astros broadcast

    (AP)

    No matter what Houston Astros broadcaster Alan Ashby meant to say, he should have known better.

    Ashby issued a conditional apology Wednesday, a day after he jokingly suggested that Yu Darvish losing a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning should "force a guy to learn some of the language here in America." Probably, as in, "$#!%, I just lost a perfect game!"

    Watch the broadcast here to get a better idea of the context.

    Darvish was raised in Japan and, while teammates say his English is conversationally excellent (he tries to speak Spanish, too), he prefers to do interviews in Japanese with a translator. His understandable choice also can give an unfortunate impression to some that he doesn't care to learn English. And misconceptions like that can set off all sorts of ugly populist alarms.

    Even if Ashby is ignorant of Darvish's linguistic agility, what he said was silly — and colleague Geoff Blum even said as much in the booth at the time. Here's a transcript of the relevant part of the broadcast, via the Four DVRs blog in the Houston Chronicle:

    Blum: Man. Gosh, that has got to be a tough pill to swallow.

    Ashby: That’ll force a guy to learn some of the language here in America.

    Blum: Some of the more inappropriate language. I’m loving it. They probably learn that instantly coming over here. But that was a fantastic performance.

    Of course Japanese ballplayers playing in North America know how to swear in English. Profanity (can be) one of the first thing anyone learning a new language picks up. Ichiro's famous (NSFW) "Two rats in a sock" quote is a good example of this.

    The Astros must have heard people complaining about Ashby's joke, because they made him apologize. Here's his official statement, which reads like a monologue that hostages are encouraged to announce at gunpoint:

    Read More »from Alan Ashby apologizes (kind of) for Yu Darvish remark on Astros broadcast
  • Almost, Alex Gordon. Almost.

    Gordon recognized from left field that Kansas City Royals pitchers were having trouble keeping the Chicago White Sox in the ballpark on a chilly Wednesday afternoon, so he decided to do something about it. And even though he failed, Gordon should be appreciated for giving the best effort possible.

    Channeling his inner Ivan Calderon (or even Ben Revere), Gordon scaled the left-field fence at U.S. Cellular Field, stood on a narrow ledge, leaned over into Chicago's bullpen — while hanging on with his right hand — and almost stole a home run from "Jackin' " Dayan Viciedo. But he couldn't reach far enough, and the ball glanced off the tip of his glove for a two-run home run and a 4-1 White Sox lead. Chicago beat the Kansas City 5-2, scoring every run on the long ball.

    That, plus K.C.'s 0-2 start to the 2013 season, had Gordon bummed out a little bit. Via the Kansas City Star:

    Read More »from Alex Gordon scales fence trying to steal home run, but ball cruelly hits off glove

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