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.

  • An oral history of Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run

    LOS ANGELES – A television came to life in a hotel ballroom and the lights dimmed. On just another night in L.A., there was Kirk Gibson again, against Dennis Eckersley again, and just because the last really good baseball moment for a signature franchise is going on three decades old doesn’t mean it still doesn’t play in L.A. It does. Every time.

    Kirk Gibson, Dennis Eckersley, Orel Hershiser and Tony La Russa chatted about the 1988 World Series.Kirk Gibson, Dennis Eckersley, Orel Hershiser and Tony La Russa chatted about the 1988 World Series.This room held maybe 300 people. The old clip – you’ve seen it a hundred times, more maybe – gets around to that back-door slider and what happened to it, in fuzzy colors, and then hardly anyone was watching the television anymore. Most, instead, were eying two men sitting a few feet from each other in that room, going on three decades later, those two men being Kirk Gibson and Dennis Eckersley.

    Gibson stared ahead, stoic, unblinking. Eckersley smiled in spite of himself. And then Gibson admitted it was damned uncomfortable watching that replay while people whooped and Vin Scully fawned and his friend Eck squirmed.

    The occasion Thursday night

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  • MLB Power Rankings: Providing optimism to all 30 teams

    By now you know Jake Arrieta no-hit the Cincinnati Reds last week. Perhaps you also saw the silver-lining recap by the Reds’ Twitter account, which was charged with smearing lipstick on a 16-0 shellacking and reached for this:

    Today, we honor that bucketful of Twitter optimism with a few drops of our own.

    The rankings (records through Wednesday):

    Chicago1. Chicago Cubs (15-5; Previous: 1) – Run streak to 70th consecutive year without losing a World Series game. #takethatcardinals


    Washington2. Washington Nationals (14-6; Previous: 3) – And everybody thought we were so dumb in 2012. #strasburg2016


    Chicago3. Chicago White Sox (16-6; Previous: 6) – Eh, team leaders are overrated. #freedrake


    New York4. New York Mets (13-7; Previous: 16) – There’s still nothing quite like Harvey Day. #wewinonotherdays


    Baltimore5. Baltimore Orioles (12-8; Previous: 2) – Remember last July 25, when Arrieta lost? Yeah, well, we won that night.

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  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Marlins not falling for shifting ‘fad’

    Perry Hill is a smallish guy who wears his ball cap as a gunnery sergeant would his utility cover, smiles with his eyes, and surrounds the word “sabermetrics” with air quotes.

    Miami Marlins first-base coach Perry Hill. (AP Photo)Miami Marlins first-base coach Perry Hill. (AP Photo)If you like earnest people, people who pour themselves into what they do, you’d love Perry Hill, 64-year-old first base coach and defensive commander for the Miami Marlins.

    If you are not inclined toward violent defensive shifts, well, there’s another reason you’d love Perry Hill.

    By reputation, Hill could be the most respected defensive coach in the game. Marlins players adore him, just as previous players have. Fellow coaches call him a genius. His pupils win Gold Gloves. Not always, but often enough.

    His pregame recon to start a series in a road ballpark is a study in geometric sorcery and strategic obsession. He walks every foot of the ballpark, it seems. He talks to, say, Dee Gordon at second base, then goes to the dugout where he can be sure Gordon sees him, waves a couple times to be absolutely sure Gordon

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  • Losing in Miami more fun than winning in L.A. for Don Mattingly

    Don Mattingly made his return to Los Angeles on Monday night.  (Getty Images)Don Mattingly made his return to Los Angeles on Monday night. (Getty Images)LOS ANGELES – This town wouldn’t make room in its heart for Don Mattingly. He had for the better part of five years, for more than 800 games, made do with a choppy bullpen and a combustible clubhouse and, in his final season, a rotation that ran only two deep. He won three division titles. It wasn’t enough, and maybe it shouldn’t have been, because this town had seen plenty of decent regular seasons for a quarter-century and what had those gotten it?

    Well, for most of Mattingly’s tenure, long Octobers watching the San Francisco Giants win. Didn’t help.

    That “Donnie Baseball” stuff was for other people. Those 2,153 hits, that batting title, that MVP award, those Gold Gloves, that way he got after the game, none of it was for this town. None of it was in this ballpark, wearing these colors.

    Maybe that was it. Maybe this town needed someone to blame, and ownership had turned over too often to keep track, and the front office was all too new. And so it became about lineups, covering the

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  • Dae-Ho Lee trades star status to chase MLB dream with Mariners

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – Dae-Ho Lee was famous. He was beloved. He was making good money. He was raising a daughter and had a son on the way. He’d be 34 soon and that body, big in all directions, wasn’t going to hold up forever, which they’d probably excuse. Just keep swingin’, big boy. Keep swingin’ big.

    Dae-Ho Lee (Getty Images)Dae-Ho Lee (Getty Images)Surely it would’ve been simpler to go on like that. He could stay in Japan or return to Korea and ride the legend he’d built an at-bat at a time over 15 years, where he’d be forgiven when one day he aged and his bat slowed.

    Or he could pack it all up and try something different, something harder, in a place where the people might know his name but probably don’t and whose emotional attachment to him would depend entirely on the jersey he wore and then on his last swing.

    It’s a long way to go for a grown man with nothing left to prove except maybe to himself.

    So what’s Dae-Ho Lee doing here, in Seattle, getting six starts in the Mariners’ first 18 games, enrolling his wife in English classes

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  • Why Jake Arrieta's second career no-hitter was so special for Cubs

    Still Jake Arrieta.

    Still the pitcher who found himself at 28 years old, who became elite at 29, who humored the notion he couldn't possibly be as special a year later, who on Thursday night in Cincinnati no-hit the Cincinnati Reds.

    Still that guy.

    The no-hitter was Arrieta's second in eight months, five of those months encompassing the offseason, and so more accurately his second no-hitter – after the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30 – in 11 regular-season starts.

    In between no-hitters, Arrieta won five times in September, two games in the postseason before tiring in the National League championship series, then the NL Cy Young Award, then his first three starts of 2016. Since early last summer he is 20-1 with a 0.86 ERA.

    Jake Arrieta (left) celebrates with catcher David Ross after the final out of his no-hitter. (AP)Jake Arrieta (left) celebrates with catcher David Ross after the final out of his no-hitter. (AP)That was the pitcher who Thursday night strode to the mound at Great America Ball Park – blue jersey, gray pants, the brim of his cap straight and taut – and took apart the Reds over 119 pitches. Pitching before a sizeable number of Cubs fans, particularly behind his

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  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Who wants to play LF for the Angels?

    Angels’ left fielders are batting .176 and slugging .196 after 14 games (this even with Daniel Nava hitting .333 as a left fielder), which wouldn’t be a big deal if they hadn’t hit .216 and slugged .317 in 162 games last year, and you know just because your center fielder can hit a little doesn’t mean you have to give up on a corner outfield spot.

    Carlos Gonzalez (Getty Images)Carlos Gonzalez (Getty Images)Maybe – mayyybe – it’d be different if those left fielders were defensively elite, but as a whole they’re not, and maybe – mayyybe – it’d be different if the team were hitting anyway. It’s not.

    The people who claim to know these things say the Angels have a terrible farm system, which doesn’t bode well for an in-season upgrade, but let’s pretend the Angels aren’t treating the luxury tax as a hard cap and then let’s pretend a left fielder would solve all of their problems. Where to?

    Cincinnati, for Jay Bruce. He’s played 11 games in left field. In his career. Kole Calhoun has played four. They can sort that out. After a couple down years,

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  • Jackie Robinson’s legacy carries on, one wiffle bat swing at a time

    LOS ANGELES – There are places you assume are there but don’t know for sure. A school, say, in the middle of a huge city where college banners hang from the auditorium rafters and beneath them 10-year-olds carry backpacks and aim toward the rest of their lives, only they don’t really know it for sure because that’s, like, way after lunch.

    There are people in these places where every day is Jackie Robinson Day, where the lessons are in a taut “Good morning!” and a pal who looks nothing like you and a little girl in a hijab and a math teacher who sees the best in all of it.

    Commonwealth Avenue Elementary School, say, which is a few miles from Dodger Stadium and a few in the other direction from the riots of a quarter-century ago, the ones these 10-year-olds’ parents hid from when they were 10.

    Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford testing out his pitching arm. (Marcus Vanderberg)Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford testing out his pitching arm. (Marcus Vanderberg)On the corner of West 3rd and North Virgil avenues, on a Friday significant 69 years after Jackie Robinson himself laid a spike on the Ebbets Field grounds, some 200 fourth and fifth graders met

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  • MLB Power Rankings: No Cubs curse through first two weeks of season

    Yeah, still the Cubs.

    The rankings (records through Wednesday):

    Chicago1. Chicago Cubs (7-1; Previous: 1) – While excavating for new clubhouse, Cubs thrilled to discover that century they lost a few years back.


    Baltimore2. Baltimore Orioles (7-1; Previous: 19) – Why baseball is a better sport than basketball: No one has breathed the notion the Orioles might be better without Adam Jones.


    Washington3. Washington Nationals (6-1; Previous: 4) – Herbert Hoover becomes sixth racing president, Nats to wear black on Thursdays.


    San Francisco4. San Francisco Giants (6-3; Previous: 8) – Giants extend Belt. Sandoval wonders why he didn’t think of that.


    Kansas City5. Kansas City Royals (6-2; Previous: 9) – Hosmer wins World Series, saves little girls, calls out Batman.


    Chicago6. Chicago White Sox (6-2; Previous: 15) – They’re hangin’ with Chance the Rapper, which seems cool. Might be a little much, however, to have Reinsdorf in the gold teeth grillz.


    Detroit7. Detroit Tigers (5-2; Previous: 18) – IndyCar driver bounces ceremonial pitch. First two innings

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  • Wednesdays with Brownie: Zack Greinke has been bad and he knows it

    Two years ago a hopeful Arizona Diamondbacks team lost then-ace Patrick Corbin to a blown elbow on the eve of the season, and so that hopeful club lost 98 games. The Diamondbacks reset with a new manager, general manager, financial outlay and, they believed, direction, so by the start of this season – two years later – they were hopeful again.

    Zack Greinke has struggled so far in Arizona. (Getty Images)Zack Greinke has struggled so far in Arizona. (Getty Images)Well, you probably heard about center fielder A.J. Pollock’s season-ending injury, and how Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller have pitched, and the club’s five losses in its first seven games.

    While it’s early by a couple months to have anyone teetering, the Diamondbacks have not had a winning season in five years, will go after this season without their second-best player, and spent their money and farm system for right now. For today. There’ll be no pacing themselves.

    First up, Greinke. This doesn’t happen without him being great. In two starts he’s allowed 16 hits – three of them home runs – and 11 runs in 10 innings. He made those starts in

    Read More »from Wednesdays with Brownie: Zack Greinke has been bad and he knows it

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