Tim Brown

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Tim Brown is an award-winning writer with 20 years of experience covering Major League Baseball at the Los Angeles Times, Newark Star-Ledger, Cincinnati Enquirer and Los Angeles Daily News. He studied journalism at the University of Southern California and Cal State Northridge.

  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Want to speed up MLB? Here are some options

    If baseball is to honor the inevitable, then it must not stop at the re-gifted, hassle-free, no-risk intentional walk.

    Bryce Harper has seen his share of intentional walks  in 2016. (AP Photo)Bryce Harper has seen his share of intentional walks in 2016. (AP Photo)The Braves, for one, can go home now. And take the Twins with them.

    If fate has spoken (and been waved toward first base), and 60 seconds are to be gained in a ballgame (or in less than half the ballgames, actually, on average), and pitchers are to be saved from momentary anxiety brought by the approaching yips, and we’re going to have a discussion about which parts of the game no longer need to be played, then why stop at the intentional walk? Indeed, why stop at maybe 60 seconds in maybe fewer than half the ballgames?

    Let’s get busy.

    Giancarlo Stanton is not required to run out a home run. Waste of time, pageantry and knee cartilage.

    Oh-and-2 counts will automatically become 1-and-2 counts. Three-and-oh counts will proceed to 3-and-1. C’mon, they’re going there anyway.

    That throw from the catcher to the pitcher? Put a bucket of balls behind the mound and let’s move

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  • The heart and soul behind the Orioles pitching staff

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – Like the rest, the Baltimore Orioles have their areas they would not characterize as ideal, the result of being one of 30 and then the aching truth there is no such thing as ideal.

    Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace (Getty Images)Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace (Getty Images)They do chase ideal in their own way, that not being quite ideal either, all of which is to say the Orioles generally were not picked to win the American League East because the starting rotation appeared to be achingly less than ideal again.

    “And you still might be right,” their manager, Buck Showalter, said one afternoon late last week. “Who knows? We’ll find out.”

    Showalter has a pleasant way of allowing opinions that have no bearing on the outcome, which covers pretty much all opinions, which seems healthy. Too much can happen between April and October every year, between 7-10:30 p.m. every night, to fuss over who thinks what about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet. Ideal is three hours of ball followed by a handshake and, don’t you worry, tomorrow will come soon enough and then we’ll

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  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Derek Jeter’s impact on Cards' Aledmys Diaz

    Aledmys Diaz (AP Photo)Aledmys Diaz (AP Photo)As Aledmys Diaz remembers it, he first saw Derek Jeter “live,” which is not to say in person but on television in real time, in the fall of 2009. He was 19 years old. He’d grown up liking Albert Pujols as a hitter, but loving Jeter, who was a shortstop just like him.

    He’d seen a few highlights of Jeter on a clunky DVD player. He’d read about Jeter when it was possible, which wasn’t often. Otherwise, it was just the stories about the great New York Yankee, and maybe it was the stories he loved as much as he did the ballplayer himself.

    Diaz was playing his third season for Villa Clara of the Cuban National Series. His father, Rigoberto, had been a shortstop in college and then became an agronomy teacher. His mother, Quenia, worked in a clothing factory. Aledmys would be a ballplayer, and a young ballplayer needs heroes. Aledmys chose Jeter. In Cuba, where access to the outside world was spotty, that would require some ingenuity, some imagination and some luck.

    The Villa Clara team was

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  • What to take away from the Blue Jays-Rangers suspensions

    Whether Jose Bautista had it coming or not, and that view surely rests on one’s opinion of Bautista in the moments before he dropped his left Sunday afternoon and not after, the game is not Black Friday at Walmart.

    Rougned Odor (Getty Images)Rougned Odor (Getty Images)The same goes for Rougned Odor, the Texas Rangers’ chippy second baseman whose interpretation of middle-of-the-diamond engagements pivots upon whether he’s doing the breaking up or is the one being broken up.

    And how Matt Bush ended up in the middle of this is a study in the accidents of time-space continuum and pure chance.

    So the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays despise one another, that we gleaned when a grudge spread over seven months narrowed to the breadth of a red smudge on the off side of Bautista’s jaw, courtesy of a straight right hand from Odor, fighting one class up in weight and several in standing.

    The cheers you heard were from those speared in the heart when Bautista’s bat landed on that evening in mid-October. The outrage from those wondering how Bautista

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  • Francisco Cervelli signs $31 million extension with Pirates

    The Pittsburgh Pirates and catcher Francisco Cervelli agreed Tuesday to a three-year, $31-million contract extension that runs through the 2019 season.

    Francisco Cervelli (Getty Images)Francisco Cervelli (Getty Images)Cervelli, 30, was due to become a free agent following this season. The Pirates acquired him from the New York Yankees after the 2014 season for left-handed pitcher Justin Wilson. Cervelli effectively replaced Russell Martin, who, after two productive seasons in Pittsburgh signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for $82 million over five years. Cervelli has been at least as productive as Martin since, and has by far outplayed him in 2016.

    Cervelli makes $3.5 million this season. Under the terms of the extension, he will make $9 million in 2017, $10.5 million in 2018 and $11.5 million in 2019.

    After spending years as the Yankees’ second or third catcher, Cervelli has flourished as the regular starter in Pittsburgh. He batted .295 and had an on-base percentage of .370 over 130 games in 2015 and through 32 games this year is batting .277 with a

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  • Struggling Angels have nothing to lose by signing Tim Lincecum

    LOS ANGELES – There’s this old joke about two dudes camping in the woods when an angry bear bursts into the site and one guy gets up to run while the other starts lacing up his sneakers.

    Tim Lincecum (AP Photo)Tim Lincecum (AP Photo)“What are you doing?” the first guy shouts. “You’ll never outrun that bear!”

    “I don’t have to outrun the bear,” the second guy says. “I have to outrun you.”

    The bear in this story is 4 ½ months of baseball.

    The first guy is the Los Angeles Angels’ rotation.

    The man double-knotting his sneakers, assuming the final details of the contract come together, is Tim Lincecum.

    He doesn’t have to be the decorated ace of his early years with the San Francisco Giants, when he was striking out the world and winning Cy Youngs. He has to be better than a few of the other options in a rotation running thin and, too often, hittable.

    Thirty-seven games in, Angels’ starters are averaging about 5 1/3 innings. For comparison purposes, Blue Jays starters go about four outs deeper. The result is 33 more innings for Angels’

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  • Clayton Kershaw: Man...myth...legend

    LOS ANGELES – They make stuff up all the time here. There’s a whole industry that makes stuff up and then charges people money to come see it. Sometimes it seems it is all there is here, the industry that makes stuff up. That, transplanted Mets fans and tiny little plates of pretty food.

    So the real stuff tends to stand out. Put it up on a small pile of dirt on a large green field, build a stadium around it, add an organ and a familiar tenor, and in a city that loves its make-believe you get one Clayton Kershaw. That’s why all the No. 22 jerseys gathered on Thursday night at the rails in the left-field corner, where Kershaw … warmed up. In a place where the brighter the better, that runs on the aura, he is the only real sports star – in name, in standing, in results.

    Kobe’s gone. Trout’s too far away. The football team is only just unpacking. Nothing else rates.

    So, the left off of Sunset Boulevard onto Vin Scully Avenue takes a few more lights than normal. So the cookies in the press

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  • MLB Power Rankings: Chicago is the center of the world

    Deep-dish pizza for everybody…

    The rankings (records through Wednesday):

    Chicago1. Chicago Cubs (25-8; Previous: 1) – Lester and first base not unlike America (the country, not the beer) and gluten-free fare; ignore it long enough, maybe it’ll go away.

    Chicago2. Chicago White Sox (23-12; Previous: 3) – Sox gear up for July showdown with Cubs by ordering party tables, folding chairs and Michael Bolton mix tape.

    New York3. New York Mets (21-12; Previous: 4) – Conforto the son of a linebacker and synchronized swimmer. Presumably does very well in the annual football pool.

    Washington4. Washington Nationals (21-13; Previous: 2) – Thinking baseball is a lot more fun with a massive endorsement deal.

    Baltimore5. Baltimore Orioles (20-12; Previous: 5) – Resemblance to old actor means Joey Rickard has earned nickname “James Dean.” Also had part in movie remake, AL East of Eden.

    Boston6. Boston Red Sox (21-13; Previous: 11) – Locals can’t decide if Red Sox are great, awful or mediocre. Maybe another beer will help.

    Seattle7. Seattle Mariners

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  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Why Bartolo is everyone’s favorite PED offender

    One of the New York Mets pitchers on Monday wore his Bartolo Colon T-shirt, because everybody loves Bart, because he’s old and his body is, like, molten and he is still playing baseball capably. Also, chances are he played for your favorite team at some point over the past 19 years and while there probably wasn’t suspended for cheating.

    “In honor of the day,” the pitcher in the T-shirt said, as Colon was the National League’s co-player of the week, with Chicago’s Ben Zobrist. The shirt read, “Big Sexy,” and the neon illustration had Bart in full glorious swing, batting helmet tumbling rakishly from his head.

    That Bart, so funny and loveable.

    Did you know he hit a home run Saturday?

    It’s true. First ever. Forty-two years old, almost 43, his strikeout and walk rates as a pitcher have never been better, his ERA is under 3, and now he’s hitting home runs.

    He’s everyone’s favorite, let’s say, 300-pound snuggle toy. Ol’ Bart, better than ever.

    And, well, good for him, I guess. Seems like a

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  • The ‘Devil’s disease’ gives Mother’s Day new meaning for Joe Smith

    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – In the worst of it, Joe Smith believes his mother is in there somewhere, behind her vacant eyes, a spark of the woman lost in a mutated gene at the end of a chromosome that could be coming for him too.

    Joe Smith (AP Photo)Joe Smith (AP Photo)Her name is Lee. She is 57 years old. She married Joe’s father, Mike, 35 years ago. They had a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Megan, two years later. Joe went off to be a ballplayer for the Los Angeles Angels. Megan is raising a family of her own. Mike and Lee had plans for these years. Now Mike reminds her to keep a good grip on the handrail and sometimes helps her dress.

    Lee has her bucket list, all written out. She wants to go on a helicopter ride. She wants to try one of those zip lines. She hopes to see Joe and his wife, Allie, have children.

    She showed her list to Joe last Mother’s Day, a few years after she’d been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a curse that first incapacitated and then took her own mother. He saw what was first on the list and grinned.

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