Tim Brown

  • Like
  • Follow
Author

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.

  • Anthony Rizzo and the art of getting plunked

    SAN DIEGO – Anthony Rizzo, a towering figure in a Chicago Cubs renaissance whose plate appearances have begun to resemble Butch Cassidy’s dash from that Bolivian cabana, padded stiffly across the clubhouse. He was wrapped from armpits to waist in a thick heating pad, which gave him the appearance of one of the California burritos they sell on street corners here.

    Anthony Rizzo reacts after being hit by a pitch against the Mets on May 14. (Getty Images)Anthony Rizzo reacts after being hit by a pitch against the Mets on May 14. (Getty Images)He’d been hit by 12 pitches – hip, back, triceps, hip again, thigh, forearm, back foot, elbow, front shin, hamstring, back again, back foot again – not yet a quarter through the season, a decent pace considering it’s been 11 years since a batter was hit 30 times and 44 years since one was struck as many as 40 times.

    Not much hurts when you’re 25 years old, generally speaking, an outlier being the residue of a baseball launched from, like, 55 feet away. Pretty much, if it’s thrown too hard to get out of the way of, it’s probably going to hurt, even if you’re 6-foot-3, 240 pounds and all game, as Anthony Rizzo is. Which,

    Read More »from Anthony Rizzo and the art of getting plunked
  • Kris Bryant's meteoric rise from San Diego's cheap seats to Cubs phenom

    SAN DIEGO, Calif. – From the third-base dugout Tuesday evening, Kris Bryant pointed into the distance, to a place that technically is part of Petco Park and in reality is where they occasionally herd the college kids for about five bucks a pop and hope they don't make too big of a mess.

    "Way up there," he said of the seats above the right-field bleachers, above some signage, above a concourse and below the marine layer but only just barely.

    He wouldn't come often to Petco Park. Might've had something to do with the seats. But he was here the night two years ago when Carlos Quentin charged – and broke the collarbone of – Zack Greinke, when all the people here were screaming and yelling and going a little crazy over it.

    Kris Bryant has given Cubs fans reason to smile again. (Getty Images)Kris Bryant has given Cubs fans reason to smile again. (Getty Images)"Yeah, I was one of those fans," Bryant admitted.

    There were other games not quite so memorable, but he loved them all. He played then for the University of San Diego, and was a couple months from professional baseball. He was a Las Vegas kid, but would grow into the

    Read More »from Kris Bryant's meteoric rise from San Diego's cheap seats to Cubs phenom
  • Tuesdays with Brownie: It's just the Marlins' way

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season.)

    The best part about the Miami Marlins is how rigorously earnest they are in all endeavors: in full attack, in frantic retreat, in their various zigs and zags, in sickness and in health and in, you know, same ol’-same ol’.

    At some level, maybe at all levels, they really believe this stuff. So, I’m pretty sure (if not totally positive), they are not just messing with us, though it would be great if they were.

    As baseball operations president Michael Hill assured us Monday morning after opting to replace his field manager with his general manager, a somewhat uncommon personnel tactic, “If we didn’t think it would work we wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

    OK, just checking.

    The list of things they thought would work and instead ended up refashioning in a ceremony a lot like Monday’s is beginning to rival the arc of a Giancarlo Stanton home run. First, a loud noise. Then, from certain vantage

    Read More »from Tuesdays with Brownie: It's just the Marlins' way
  • Marlins change direction again with Dan Jennings

    Dan Jennings has one of those big smiles, along with one of those big handshakes. He tells stories in a big voice and often follows them with a big laugh. Because of these qualities, it’s easy to like Dan Jennings, who in addition has toiled as a savvy baseball man in a capricious organization – the Miami Marlins – for which, presumably, that genius can have a tendency to go unrewarded.

    This is where, one day in the retelling, Jennings, the Marlins’ erstwhile general manager, might very well gather up his big ol’ voice and big ol’ laugh and continue the story of the Marlins in mid-May 2015.

    New Marlins manager Dan Jennings, center, shakes hands with team president David Samson, right, as Mike Hill, president of baseball operations, looks on. (AP)New Marlins manager Dan Jennings, center, shakes hands with team president David Samson, right, as Mike Hill, president of baseball operations, looks on. (AP)For on Sunday the Marlins fired their manager, Mike Redmond, because the Marlins were supposed to be competitive in 2015 and instead were 16-22 and a half-game out of last place in the NL East. It seemed at the time to be a rash decision, but that’s what the Marlins are especially good at. In a half-day of speculation leading to Monday morning’s announcement of Redmond’s replacement, the names that bubbled up and floated away included Jeff Conine, Brett Butler, Tony Perez and Ivan Rodriguez, along with the out-of-work Rons – Roenicke, Washington and Gardenhire.

    But, instead, in a decision that would be described as interesting, out-of-the-box, and even bizarre, the Marlins on Monday presented their new manager: Dan Jennings.

    Jennings last coached 30 years ago, at a high school in Mobile, Ala. His professional playing experience is limited to having been signed as a pitcher by the New York Yankees out of a tryout camp. He did not, by appearances, actually throw a professional pitch for the Yankees.

    As his bench coach, Jennings hired Mike Goff, one of the Marlins’ advance scouts. Goff was a first-base and bench coach for the Seattle Mariners for a few seasons eight years ago, and managed after that in the minor leagues for the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. Goff might be remembered for being the minor-league manager 20 years ago who, during a Northwest League game, mooned an umpire.

    Jennings’ assistant general manager – Mike Berger – replaced Jennings as general manager under baseball operations president Mike Hill.

    At the end of a wonderfully Marlin 22 hours, the organization would find itself back in the baseball season. Jennings will lead the team into a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Monday night at Marlins Park. The Marlins, despite their promise of another new start, were six games behind the New York Mets and 5 ½ games behind the Washington Nationals. For six weeks, they have proven to be wholly average in almost all ways.

    On Monday morning, Jennings sat between Hill and team president David Samson. Owner Jeffrey Loria was absent. The three men who had the most to do with constructing past and current Marlins teams said they’d spent recent days in conversation over the play of these Marlins and who might best lead them. When it was decided Jennings would leave the front office for the top step, Jennings said, he notified his mother, who responded, “Have you lost your mind?”

    “It is out of the box, I will not deny that,” Jennings said.

    Managing a baseball team is an imperfect science. The Marlins, as a history, are even less perfect. Maybe this works. Giancarlo Stanton has played for six managers since his debut in 2010. Jennings will be his seventh. He is known to like and respect Jennings, though presumably he liked and respected many of the others as well. Maybe it doesn’t work, but Hill, Samson and even Jennings seem to believe it will.

    “If we didn’t think it would work we wouldn’t be sitting here today,” Hill said.

    The job does not appear to be an interim one.

    “Dan’s our manager,” Hill said, before adding, “for the remainder of the season,” then adding again, “Our expectation is this will go on as long as it’s going to go.”

    “As far as for how long,” Samson inserted, “they’re all signed through 2018.”

    One day, no matter how this goes, it’ll be a helluva story. And Dan Jennings will tell it well. Until then, the Marlins have a lot of baseball to play, and a new guy out front.

    “I have never shied away or been afraid of challenges,” Jennings said. “I accepted the position because my heart is in that clubhouse.

    "There are going to be cynics. There are going to be critics...I fully expect to be judged on the body of work."

    More MLB coverage:

    Read More »from Marlins change direction again with Dan Jennings
  • Mike Redmond's firing once again shows impulsiveness of Marlins ownership

    In case you thought the Miami Marlins had finally found a course they could believe in, could build on, could sustain, we bring you Sunday. Minutes after nearly being no-hit, which resulted in their 10th loss in 14 games anyway, they fired their manager and his bench coach. Presumably owner Jeffrey Loria could not help himself, as it had been months since the Marlins had skittered off in a panic over something or other.

    The club announced it would name a replacement for manager Mike Redmond on Monday, at which point the Marlins will have their eighth manager in a decade, including Jack McKeon twice and one-and-dones Joe Girardi and Ozzie Guillen. In fact, come that news conference, Loria will be paying three managers (Guillen, Redmond and the new guy) and a former general manager (Larry Beinfest), with little to show for it but a reputation for overreaction.

    Mike Redmond was fired after the Marlins started the season 16-22. (Getty Images)Mike Redmond was fired after the Marlins started the season 16-22. (Getty Images)Speculation out of Miami pegged third-base coach Brett Butler as the possible next man up, at minimum on an interim basis, but a

    Read More »from Mike Redmond's firing once again shows impulsiveness of Marlins ownership
  • Troy Tulowitzki says he won't try to force a trade from the Rockies, for now, at least

    LOS ANGELES – Deconstruct the notion that Troy Tulowitzki might wish to continue his baseball somewhere other than in Denver, and what you have is a man who has turned 30, whose final prime seasons are coming, whose team has won four games in a month and probably lacks the depth to make anything more than a cosmetic recovery, and whose body appears finally capable of remaining upright. He's played in a lot of games over the years that don't count for much. He's watched a lot of others.

    There's also the argument Tulowitzki has contributed to the Colorado Rockies' losing battle with relevance. He does, after all, account for a good portion of the payroll (and will for another six seasons) and he does have a knack for injury. Doesn't he then have a responsibility to the rebuild, the reload, the restoration, whatever they're going to call this? And what of the club's responsibility to, you know, find some freakin' pitching once in a while?

    Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .303 with two home runs this season. (AP)Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .303 with two home runs this season. (AP)Tulowitzki met over lunch Thursday with his San

    Read More »from Troy Tulowitzki says he won't try to force a trade from the Rockies, for now, at least
  • MLB Power Rankings: Are the Yankees for real?

    On Alex Rodriguez’s milestone, Justin Verlander’s rehab plans and Torii Hunter’s preferred transportation:

    The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games):

    St. Louis1. St. Louis Cardinals (23-10; Previous: 1) – Matt Carpenter, 29, sits out with “extreme fatigue.” Man, is he gonna hate his 50s.


    Los Angeles2. Los Angeles Dodgers (22-11; Previous: 6) – Joc Pederson king of three true outcomes – homer, walk, strikeout. Unlisted fourth true outcome is running into Yasiel Puig in gap.


    Kansas City3. Kansas City Royals (21-13; Previous: 2) – Things much calmer once it was explained to Yordano Ventura that WAR is just an acronym.


    New York4. New York Yankees (21-14; Previous: 8) – Team Twitter account indifferent on A-Rod milestones, social media guy explains he’s waiting for home runs to be verified with blue checkmarks.


    New York 5. New York Mets (20-14; Previous: 3) – Bartolo Colon has beaten the Orioles for seven different teams, ties Bud Norris.


    Houston6. Houston Astros (21-13; Previous: 5) – Did you know Orbit’s also the guy who can get you

    Read More »from MLB Power Rankings: Are the Yankees for real?
  • The problem with Clayton Kershaw might not be a big problem at all

    LOS ANGELES – Maybe you believe he's been unlucky. Maybe the deeper statistics say he's been unlucky.

    Clayton Kershaw does not believe he's been unlucky. He thinks he should throw better pitches and then, maybe, he wouldn't be unlucky anymore.

    These are the thoughts he has, the conversations he's drawn into, when a pitcher of his stature has one win in seven starts and a 4.26 ERA, when some numbers insist he has been exactly the pitcher he was for the past four seasons while others imply there could be something more to consider if you're of the mind to consider them.

    The last word, of course, belongs to Kershaw and then whether you choose to believe the first 1,400 innings of his career or the last 44. Because random comes for everyone, no matter how big and strong, no matter how polished, no matter how prepared. Things just happen. It's not always pleasant. And it doesn't always come wrapped in a pretty statistic that's supposed to have it all make sense.

    Clayton Kershaw is 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA this season. (Getty Images)Clayton Kershaw is 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA this season. (Getty Images)For example, Kershaw is

    Read More »from The problem with Clayton Kershaw might not be a big problem at all
  • Tuesdays with Brownie: A catcher's tale

    (A weekly look at the players, teams, trends, up-shoots and downspouts shaping the 2015 season.)

    The adults who make these decisions in Valencia, Venezuela, took a long look at this boy, Carlos Eduardo Perez, and determined, yes, he would be a catcher, just as his older brother, Carlos Tomas Perez, was, and as his younger brother, Carlos Jesus Perez, would be.

    So the adults gathered up the equipment, roughly sized it up and handed it over. Perez, like his brothers before and after him, began the life.

    Some years later, Carlos – known to friends and family by his middle name, Eduardo, for obvious reasons – went to his mother to say he would not be a nurse like she was or a contractor like his father, yes, Carlos, was. He would be a ballplayer.

    “OK,” Heidi Perez told her middle son, “but you have to work hard. It’s not that easy.”

    Carlos Eduardo Perez, like his brothers, chose the life.

    The Toronto Blue Jays signed him in 2008, when he was 17. The Houston Astros traded for him in 2012

    Read More »from Tuesdays with Brownie: A catcher's tale
  • Baseball's most surprising team is trying to erase years of futility

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – On the benches under the giant ball caps in front of Angel Stadium, the boys and men of summer gather and wait for the small buses that ferry the famous New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox or Detroit Tigers from their hotels. Some of the players arrive in cabs or airport cars. But most come on the buses for the price of a tip or their gratitude, then step to the curb and walk in bunches to the iron gate across the plaza. The boys and men shuffle their baseball cards and 8-by-11s to match the faces of the players and trot alongside them, offering the cards and photos and a pen, and sometimes there is victory and other times nothing more than the hope that the next small bus carries a more generous crew. Depending on the team in town, there could be a dozen or even dozens of them, waiting, organizing their binders, staring off toward East Orangewood Avenue and the coming of the buses.

    On Thursday afternoon, the best team in the American League would be here, a full five

    Read More »from Baseball's most surprising team is trying to erase years of futility

Pagination

(1,918 Stories)