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.

  • Elvis Andrus perfecting ‘Dictator’ look of Sacha Baron Cohen

    (@epsn_durrett on Twitter)

    Elvis Andrus filled in for Derek Holland over the weekend at a promotional event for the Texas Rangers and he came out looking ready to raze a barn or give the Gettysburg Address. Andrus is working on an epic beard — though one that does not cross his upper lip. Add in some Blues Brothers-like sunglasses and you have "a look" that parallels what Sacha Baron Cohen did in his film "The Dictator."

    It's doubtful that Andrus plans an autocratic takeover of the Rangers clubhouse. He has a much kinder reputation. Plus, Adrian Beltre would never let him get away with it.

    When we last saw Andrus during the pennant chase, he was in the early stages of his Abe Lincoln-ing:

    Read More »from Elvis Andrus perfecting ‘Dictator’ look of Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Matt Harvey owns Twitter troll who seems to hate his Thailand vacation


    Showing the the tough skin of a tank, the sharp accuracy of a bookkeeper and the self-deprecating sense of humor of a funny humble person, New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey put a Twitter troll in his place Monday.

    Got that, haters? It's 12 wins, not 19! It's true that Harvey has been showered with a lot of attention — from the media and otherwise — for someone with 36 career starts. He's started the All-Star Game, he's appeared nude in a magazine, he's dating a supermodel and he kind of looks like a runway walker himself. He also made that awkward appearance on Dan Patrick's show when he obviously was pitching some product and not giving an interview. He later apologized.


    Read More »from Matt Harvey owns Twitter troll who seems to hate his Thailand vacation
  • Joe Girardi doubts the A-Rod ‘process is over’


    Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has made his ruling on the Alex Rodriguez suspension, and Major League Baseball has done a victory lap on "60 Minutes" with its star witness, Tony Bosch. Rodriguez is to sit out the 2014 season in disgrace for being involved with Bosch's Biogenesis firm, a distributor of performance-enhancing drugs.

    And yet, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi knows better. The A-Rod saga ain't over yet.

    Other than Yankees GM Brian Cashman, the most put-upon person in the A-Rod mess has been Girardi. Rodriguez is seeking a court injunction and has expressed interest in joining the Yankees in spring training — which is his right. If he does go to Tampa in February, handling the zoo that will ensue will be a big headache for Girardi. Nothing that he isn't used to, of course. It's just... when will it end? Not yet, writes Chad Jennings at the LoHud Yankees blog:

    “It’s been a long process,” Joe Girardi said. “But I’m not so sure the process is over.”

    Speaking after an event at the Harvey School in Katonah, Girardi said he remains concerned about Rodriguez — “I worry about my players because, more than anything, we’re people before we ever played,” he said — and he’s not considering Saturday’s announcement as the final act in this saga. Girardi knows Rodriguez is trying to have the suspension blocked by a federal judge, and Girardi seems to be keeping himself mentally prepared for any new twist in a story that’s already full of them.

    As The Stew has noted, the Yankees would have a big void at third base without Rodriguez. But they also have some names to pull out of a hat:

    Read More »from Joe Girardi doubts the A-Rod ‘process is over’
  • By turning to Tony Bosch to help them make a case against Alex Rodriguez in the Biogenesis investigation, Major League Baseball has become a safe house. Bosch feared for his life, CBS reporter Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" says he was told, because associates of A-Rod threatened Bosch's life after failing to bribe him. So he turned to MLB for protection.

    Bosch also told "60 Minutes," Pelley says, that he developed and administered a PED program, supplying six banned substances to Rodriguez and personally injecting him sometimes because A-Rod feared needles.

    Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled Saturday that Rodriguez must sit out all of the 2014 season, including any postseason the New York Yankees might play. Rodriguez had appealed MLB's original suspension of 211 games, the longest in league history short of a lifetime ban. Rodriguez claims he hasn't used PEDs in a decade.

    A "lengthy interview" with Bosch will be broadcast in full Sunday night that gets into "all of the specifics" of Bosch's relationship with Rodriguez. Here are the details to expect, Pelley says:

    Read More »from Tony Bosch tells ’60 Minutes’ that MLB is protecting him from A-Rod associates making ‘death threats’
  • Vernon Wells ($21 million salary) designated for assignment by Yankees


    The New York Yankees designated outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment Friday with the three-time All-Star set to earn $21 million in 2014. Wells actually broke the story himself on Twitter, kindly thanking the Yankees "for the opportunity to be a part of such a storied franchise." He added the hashtags #Blessed and #NextChapter.

    The Yankees also made official the signing of left-hander Matt Thornton, and he gets Wells' roster spot.

    Wells, who just turned 35 years old, batted .233/.282/.349 with 11 home runs in 458 plate appearances for the Yankees. A long way from being an All-Star in 2010, Wells came over in a trade for Angels minor leaguers in March as the Yankees suffered a spate of injuries.

    Wells might become the most expensive player to be released — if that's what happens — in major league history. Players designated for assignment are removed immediately from the 40-man roster, and the team is given 10 days to take one of four possible actions:

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  • (Getty)

    A longtime advocate of clean living when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, new Hall of Famer Frank Thomas says he agrees with others in Cooperstown who say "we don't want PED users among us."

    Here are the Big Hurt's relevant comments that were printed in the New York Post on Friday, two days after he was elected to the Hall on the first ballot:

    Thomas has been at charity events with some of the biggest legends in the game the past two years and talked about the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

    “I had that debate with [Hall of Famers] about a couple players and they said, ‘Yeah, we understand how good they were, but they made that decision to do what they did and we don’t want them in Cooperstown.’ That was eye-opening for me because a couple of those guys being investigated and everything else, are two of the greatest players we’ve ever seen.’’

    Bonds and Clemens lost ground this year among Baseball Writers Association of America voters.

    “It’s sad that they are not going to be in the Hall of Fame probably, but I have to respect the leaders and the Hall of Famers because their legacy is what they have,’’ Thomas said. “They said, ‘Don’t be feeling sorry for [them]. This is Cooperstown. There is a reason we have rules and regulations, and the people here earned it the right way, and we are not going to let guys in that did drugs. That’s just the way it is.’ "

    The first problem with an opinion like "We need to keep PED users out of the Hall of Fame" is an obvious one: They're already in there.

    Read More »from Hall of Famer Frank Thomas agrees that ‘we don’t want PED users in Cooperstown’
  • Justin Verlander has surgery to repair ‘core muscle’


    Right-hander Justin Verlander reportedly injured himself in late December performing his offseason conditioning program, and the Detroit Tigers announced Thursday afternoon on Twitter that he has undergone surgery to repair his "core muscle." The core — probably — means belly or lower back.

    Oh. Well, that puts a different spin on the Tigers offseason, heretofore dominated by the Prince Fielder trade and the hiring of manager Brad Ausmus. And whatever reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer has been up to.

    Even though it sounds ominous — and the Tigers haven't released many specifics — anything other than Verlander's shoulder or elbow is preferable when it comes to surgery. Still, any kind of surgery to repair muscles, especially in the back (if that's where it happened), is enough to give Tigers observers pause (if not paws) and angst as the 2014 season approaches.

    In a subsequent tweet, the Tigers said Verlander will undergo physical rehabilitation for the next six weeks. That's

    Read More »from Justin Verlander has surgery to repair ‘core muscle’
  • The history of PED reporting in baseball


    If it seems like the media is a lot "tougher" on Major League Baseball players associated with performance-enhancing drugs than it used to be, well, no kidding. Just look at the Hall of Fame voting totals for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others who have been implicated, and compare the results to coverage of the athletes when they played. The press has been making up for lost time.

    An engaging post by Grantland's Bryan Curtis tries to explain what the media has done, and what it hasn't done, in reporting the history of PEDs in MLB. Curtis' own reporting is replete, and he tells a good story, but many of his conclusions are unsatisfying. Something is missing; perhaps it's that his analysis isn't critical enough. He lets his interview subjects tell the story, but the reporters' explanations are fraught with excuses, rationalizing, ignorance, arrogance and stunning admissions of incompetence.

    That's not Curtis' fault, but ... OK, here's an example, using slugger Mark McGwire, who was referred to as "shy" twice in the story:

    After he retired in 2001, Mark McGwire vanished. "People need to understand that he didn't run and hide [because of the steroid revelations]," said ESPN's Tim Kurkjian. "He was going to run and hide no matter what." But the allegations multiplied his natural shyness.

    McGwire's unwillingness to talk — whatever his motivation or lack thereof — made it difficult to get him to incriminate himself. So what? As if that's the only way to investigate a story. Well, Curtis writes, it's the only way a baseball reporter apparently knows how to investigate a story.

    And even if McGwire would talk, once manager Tony La Russa found out, he'd try to ban the reporter from the clubhouse for causing problems. It's probably true, but why should we accept this? Because these are the only baseball writers we have?

    This is what Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe thinks of his own job:

    Read More »from The history of PED reporting in baseball
  • Cleveland Indians demote Chief Wahoo logo

    Chief Wahoo, the smiling symbol of the Cleveland Indians since the 1940s who is beloved by many but deemed to be racist by others, is being replaced as a primary logo, uniform expert Paul Lukas reported Wednesday. Instead, the team will emphasize a block letter "C" they introduced in recent seasons. The Indians aren't eliminating the Chief — the home uniform will continue to feature him on caps and jersey sleeves — but fans will see less of him overall.

    The Indians aren't the only team making a logo change for 2014. The Pittsburgh Pirates are "ditching" their eyepatch-wearing Jolly Roger in favor of a gold "P." Yeeeargh — say it ain't so, mateys! Regardless, don't expect Bucs fans to stop raising the Jolly Roger flag at PNC Park after a victory.

    As with any other Major League Baseball teams, the Indians and Pirates are trying to maximize the dollars they can make marketing their product while hurting as few feelings as possible.

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  • This commercial from 1999 is loaded with irony, considering what we have learned since (or even assumed) about performance-enhancing drugs. Ignore that part, accept it, whatever, this 60-second spot remains one of the funniest and most effective ads ever produced by Nike. And these are the Bo Jackson/Michael Jordan people, people!

    Regardless, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine — voted in Wednesday to the Hall of Fame with slugger Frank Thomas — do some great near-acting as they try to transform themselves from pitchers into power hitters because, of course, "chicks dig the longball." Ted Berg of USA Today is right, Maddux is the better actor who nails the best lines, including the titular phrase and, "Hey, we got Cy Young winners over here!"

    They definitely ended up pitching their way into the Hall of Fame, even though Glavine's hitting stroke (shown in slo-mo) is kind of sweet. Must have been all of those slap shots.

    Meanwhile, the Mark McGwire billboard — which implies that shoes are

    Read More »from Vintage Tube: Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine star in ‘Chicks Dig The Longball’ commercial


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