Combat Sports

All-Star notes: Bochy tabs Halladay as NL starter


All-Star notes: Bochy tabs Halladay as NL starter

July 11, 2011


What's happening in Arizona, site of the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game? To get you set for first pitch, we collected some of the best reporting from the Comcast Regional Sports Network family. Stay with us for comprehensive coverage from the desert featuring the Comcast SportsNet team of Mychael Urban, Kate Longworth and Jaymee Sire.

CSNPhilly: Bochy turns to Halladay to start for NL
John R. Finger

With the best record in the majors and five players at the All-Star Game, it seems only logical that a Phillie should start in the game. However, with elected starter Placido Polanco out because of an injury, National League manager Bruce Bochy had one guy he could turn to.

With that, Bochy named Roy Halladay as his starting pitcher for Tuesday nights midsummer classic.

"I couldn't have a better guy to start the All-Star Game for us," Bochy said. "You talk about the elite pitchers in the game and you look at his numbers this year, and it's obvious he's very deserving.

CSNChicago: Ramirez tells Bochy, 'thanks but no'Patrick Mooney

Aramis Ramirez got hot late, putting together a few good weeks to become the most productive third baseman in the National League. But his invitation to the All-Star Game didnt come soon enough.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy reached out on Sunday to see if Ramirez wanted to be an injury replacement. But the Cubs third baseman had plans to go back home to the Dominican Republic, and his family had already traveled there.

Its just too late, Ramirez said. No chance I could make it.

Nats' Harper soaks in All-Star scene
Mark Zuckerman
Bryce Harper has been "playing up" against older, more experienced competition since ... well, pretty much since the day he first picked up a baseball bat and homered off his father.

Sunday evening, though, brought a whole new challenge for the Nationals' uber-prospect: Four at-bats against four different flamethrowers from four different farm systems in the All-Star Futures Game, all of them shown on national television.

The end result was perhaps predictable: Harper went 0-for-4, striking out twice and grounding out twice. The happy-go-lucky 18-year-old's reaction, too, was perhaps predictable.

"I don't even care what I did today, actually. I really don't," he said. "I could've went 4-for-4 and: Hallelujah. 0-for-4? Hallelujah, too. I'm just happy to be here, to be around the guys I am."

CSNBaltimore: All-Star ethics have changed
Stan "The Fan"
For some folks who may be too young to remember, fans actually lost the right to vote on the All-Star game after a ballot stuffing scandal took place -- in Cincinnati, of all places. That's right, back in 1957, the Reds' fans stuffed the ballot box to the extent that they made a mockery of the vote.

Believe me, I get that this isn't exactly as important as voting for our congressman or president, or even dog catcher.READ MORE AT CSNBALTIMORE.COM.

What they’re saying: Congratulations to Andre Ward

What they’re saying: Congratulations to Andre Ward

Oakland's own Andre "Son of God" Ward is calling it a career at 32-0. And plenty of noteable teams and icons showed the champ respect on Thursday...

Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’


Gary Brown never recovered on the field from 2015 DFA: ‘Hurt me to my core’

There was a time when Gary Brown was considered the Giants’ top prospect – their center fielder of the future. Hype was never higher than in 2011, when the fleet-footed 22-year-old set a franchise record with 188 hits in 131 games, earning California League Rookie of the Year honors with the San Jose Giants in his first full minor league campaign.

But six seasons and seven major league at-bats later, Brown’s professional baseball career ended at 28 years old.

“I feel like I let my emotions get the best of me in the years after that (2011 season),” Brown told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive phone interview. “I think I started to believe the hype that everyone started to give to me.”

Brown never matched his magical .336-season in High-A ball with 14 home runs plus 53 stolen bases, and then struggled finding a routine with the rigors of the Pacific Coast League’s travel schedule once he reached Triple-A. Despite three hits in his seven at-bats as a September call-up with the Giants in 2014, Brown was designated for assignment on March 31, 2015.

Brown’s career spiraled playing the draining waiver game. Unsuccessful stints with the Cardinals and Angels sent Brown to the land of the last chance: Independent ball in the Atlantic League.

“It was not fun for me for quite a few years. I wasn’t a very happy person,” Brown said. “After I got DFA'd by the Giants, that really took a toll on me. I never really recovered from that, so I was kind of stuck in the past and things kind of just got away from me. 

“I was kind of heartbroken to be honest. I mean, it hurt me to my core.”

Through tumultuous career turns, the Southern California native never turned on the team that drafted him 24th overall in 2010.

“I'm thankful for the opportunity the Giants gave me. No matter how big or small mine was, I am very thankful” Brown said emphatically. “I definitely wish I could have shown what I feel like my true potential was, but it didn't work out that way. 

“I still root for the Giants. All my friends with the Giants, I'm still pulling for them. They run that organization so well. I have no ill intentions or anything bad to say about the Giants organization.” 

Far removed from his days with the Giants, Brown found new life with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2016. Brown batted .249 and returned to the team in 2017. He started strong with a .298 batting average in 31 games while having fun for the first time in years, but injuries struck at an inopportune time.

Chronic aches in his hip joints and intense back spasms, in addition to a frustrating lack of interest from MLB teams and the fact he and his wife had twins on the way, spurred Brown to retirement in the middle of the season on July 5.

“Retirement has nothing to do with the lack of competitiveness (of the Atlantic League). It was the distance and the time away, matching the minor league salary,” Brown said. “Going back to that makes it really hard on the family and when you get older it really becomes about what you value more.”

The player he once was is gone, but the person he is has only grown. There’s one piece of advice which goes beyond the diamond that Brown was sure to pass on to the next wave of future top Giants prospects.

“Never stop making adjustments,” Brown said ruefully.

Days away from turning 29 on Sept. 28 and out of baseball for the first time in his life, Brown is certainly making his own.


Part 2 of our interview with Gary Brown focusing on where he is now in his life will be released Friday on