Those of us outside the Nation do it all the time, but it’s not often you see it on the pages of the Boston Globe. Take it away Tom Scocca!
What the Red Sox most resemble, here in 2009, is some unholy amalgamation of the postwar Brooklyn Dodgers and the Grateful Dead. The Dodgers have been mythologized by fans like Doris Kearns Goodwin – not by chance, a vocal member of Red Sox Nation – as lovable underdogs, but in their day they were neither underdogs nor lovable. They were simply the second-biggest bullies in baseball, a rich and successful franchise that could be counted on to beat up the rest of the National League and to get beaten up on by the Yankees.
Red Sox fans don’t even wait for the passage of time to worship the mysteries of their own team. The blue-shirted, pink-hatted crowds descend on other cities’ ballparks for a mass smug-in whenever the Sox are on the road . . . Like Deadheads, they’re indifferent to what city they’ve trailed into, so long as they’re bathing in the presence of like-minded worshippers: Yoooook! Duuuuude!
Rebuttals and concurrences can be submitted in the comments.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.