Mo Vaughn: real estate tycoon

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Vaughn Mets.jpgMo Vaughn used to spend his offseasons here in Columbus, Ohio.  Our paths crossed in a very, very vague way about seven or eight years ago as one of his investments — a bar he opened called “Flo Nitelife” — crashed and burned almost as soon as it opened. I represented a creditor, there ended up being no money in the joint anyway, and everyone decided that there was no sense in everyone suing everyone else.

I took two things away from that experience: (1) the certainty that one should never, ever go into the bar business unless one is in tight with both the booze distributors and the code enforcers, because you’re roadkill if you’re not; and (2) the feeling that, while Mo Vaughn may not have been the best bar owner on the planet, he was a pretty nice guy. I mean even my client who was left holding the bag on some fixtures that weren’t paid for swore that Vaughn was a great dude. Stuff just happens, ya know?

All of which makes me happy to see that Vaughn appears to have turned his business fortunes around, this time in New York:

These days he’s got it–not as the American League’s former MVP but as
the managing director of one of the city’s best-regarded and most
active buyers and managers of affordable housing. Along the way, Mr.
Vaughn and company have earned a place as one of the city’s top choices
for turning around distressed residential properties.

Vaughn may not have panned out as the Mets’ first baseman, but he’s doing much better in the Big Apple his second time around.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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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.