MLB, Twitter, and 'strongly worded suggestions'

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As a follow-up to my MLB/Twitter report from earlier this week, I’m told that what I called a “ban” on MLB.com writers using their Twitter accounts for non-baseball topics was really more like “a strongly worded suggestion” (that every writer followed, since that’s what happens when your employer makes a strong suggestion). To me that sounds like semantics, but fair enough. My apologies for the overstatement.
As you may recall, however, an MLB spokesperson denied the entire premise of my report and told me they were “mystified” by the mere notion of any changes related to MLB.com writers and Twitter. Which is funny, since all the MLB.com writers received an e-mail memo with the “strongly worded suggestion” and several of them quickly created separate Twitter accounts as a result.
Also amusing given the whole “mystified” thing is that any tweets from MLB.com writers mentioning the Twitter-related changes were deleted yesterday, which seems odd if there’s nothing to the report and the whole thing is false. Anyway, this isn’t exactly an earth-shattering story and I’ll probably give it a rest now, but MLB denying the entire premise of something that’s clearly based in fact has been frustrating and strange.
Apparently the MLB spokesperson didn’t inform Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that the whole thing was make believe, because he has this report today:

It turns out that the Twitter policy sent to each of the 30 Major League teams applies to non-uniformed personnel only. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he didn’t receive an e-mail that was sent to front office members of every major league team. Sox third baseman Mark Teahen said he was informed of the Sox’s Twitter policy from a member of the Sox’s traveling party but didn’t realize the memo was for non-uniformed personnel only.

Setting aside the silliness of MLB denying the existence of something sent to 30 teams and every MLB.com writer, that news from Gonzalez is very positive in that managers like Ozzie Guillen and players like Mark Teahen aren’t subject to any “bans” or “strongly worded suggestions” or whatever you want to call it. We may have lost the ability to see the MLB.com writers’ personalities in between lineup postings, but at least Denard Span can still use Twitter to complain about umpiring.

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.