Believe it or not — and my psychiatrist clearly does not believe it — I read every comment posted to this blog. And based upon reading every comment posted to this blog, I have learned two things:
1. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are rooting for the Phillies; and
2. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are rooting for the Yankees.
Really, the passion with which many of you believe that those knuckleheads are rooting for the other team is incredible. It’s rendered even more incredible in light of the fact that so many of the same people who think that Buck and McCarver root also say that they don’t know what they’re talking about. In an ideal world, the statements “McCarver knows nothing!” and “McCarver roots for the other guys” would represent complementary concepts that shouldn’t bother anyone (after all, if they guy truly is a moron, and truly is rooting for the other team, doesn’t that bode well for your team?) But the former notion seems to make the latter notion all the more intolerable for many of you.
Personally, I don’t think that either of those guys root for anything other than high ratings and a long series. In this, they are no different than so many of their predecessors, including Bob Costas, Tony Kubek, and Joe Garagiola, all of whom have been accused of postseason bias over the years (they’re also all NBC guys . . . hmmmmm), erroneously so in my view. But still the perception persists, and I really want to know why.
Those of you who think that the broadcasters are in the bag for the other team: why do you think so? Give us examples of alleged bias in the comments. It’s an off day and we don’t have to listen to them bleat, so let’s talk about their bleatings a bit, shall we?
UPDATE: This post on the excellent Fack Youk! blog is a week old, but it’s a much more thorough handling of the subject.
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.