Not the St. Louis Browns because they don’t exist anymore, but this is kinda close:
On July 17, the Farmington Browns Baseball Club will retire Eddie
Gaedel’s famous number 1/8 in ceremonies between games of a twi-night
doubleheader at Lemay Baseball Association’s Heine Meine Field in St.
Farmington is one of those wooden bat teams that feature college players trying to keep loose during their offseason. Such leagues are great fun, by the way, so if you happen to have one of those teams near you, go check them out.
Everyone knows Gaedel’s story, of course. Given that he was a publicity stunt to begin with, I see no problem with the Farmington Browns Baseball Club using his jersey retirement as a publicity stunt of their own.
Oh, and from what I’m hearing, they’re going to grandfather this thing in Jackie Robinson/Mariano Rivera-style, so anyone wearing 1/8 on their jersey before July 17th will still be able to wear it until they retire.
(thanks to Ron Rollins for the link)
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.