The Dodgers found their backup catcher Wednesday, reaching a one-year deal with Brad Ausmus.
Truthfully, I don't have a lot to say about a backup catcher. I mean, come on, Ausmus is almost 40 and he hit .218 last season. He's going to do what Gary Bennett did in 2008 and Mike Lieberthal did in 2007, only, hopefully, do it a little better.
Obviously, the Dodgers aren't concerned about Russell Martin's durability since Ausmus will be too much of a drain on the offense to start more than 30 games a year. He's a backstop stopgap, plain and simple. A "defensive specialist," as the "baseball lifers" say.
So, with that out of the way, here are a few fun facts about Ausmus:
1. He graduated from Dartmouth (I think that's a reflex whenever anyone mentions Brad Ausmus. Try it. Say, "Brad Ausmus" with someone else in the room. They'll respond by saying, "Did you know he graduated from Dartmouth?")
2. He ranks fifth all-time among Jewish ballplayers in career hits. At least according to this.
3. He was part of an eight-player trade between the Tigers and Astros that also featured ex-Dodgers Jose Lima and Daryle Ward, as well as Todd Jones, C.J. Nitkowski, Trever Miller, Orlando Miller, Doug Brocail and one of the Brian Hunters (Brian L., if you're really keeping track).
4. He led the National League in grounding into double plays with 30 in 2002.
5. His father is a retired European history professor, and Ausmus says his favorite book was written by his father. It's called "A Schopenhauerian Critique of Nietzsche's Thought." I had trouble just spelling the title.
6. His fellow ballplayers voted him the fourth smartest person in baseball in a Sports Illustrated poll in 2007. The people ahead of him were Greg Maddux, Billy Beane and Tony LaRussa. Bobby Cox was fifth.
7. He was an expansion draft choice of the Colorado Rockies in 1992, which means he's on at least one card (1993 Donruss) that displays a Rockies logo but features him wearing a Yankees uniform.
8. He said this almost one year ago about Roger Clemens: "Roger is a friend of mine. Whether this is a complete fabrication or 100 percent true, he's a friend of mine, and I've said before, even if it is 100 percent true, he wasn't hurting anybody. We're not talking about a violent crime here." Ooooooooh, Brad. I was nodding my head right along with you until the last sentence and a half.
9. His Baseball Reference page is sponsored by "Brad Ausmus is The Bossmus," a site that features "the largest collection of Brad Ausmus game used bats, hats, jerseys and other various things available on the Internet." No Longoria or Pujols for this guy.
10. This card is a night card! (and you thought I'd never get there). A lot of the Astros cards from 2006 Topps are night cards. A number of them are from the 2005 postseason, which is quite cool.
Brad, here's to a career year in 2009, even at age 40. After all, you are The Bossmus.