I missed this one from last week, but given that today seems to be all about Constitutional rights and unruly fans and everything, it’s timely enough.
The Athletics had a fan removed from the Coliseum last month for holding up a sign that said “Wolff Lied. He Never Tried,” obviously referring to owner Lew Wolff’s comments about how he’s done everything he could to keep the team in Oakland as opposed to moving it down to San Jose. No word on whether the fan with the sign was tased in the process of being removed, but he probably deserved it if he was, because the sign could have had a hidden death laser in it or something. You just never know!
Going forward, however, the Athletics are going to have to put up with the critical signs, because the city has decided that the Athletics’ policies against the signs violates the First Amendment. Indeed, Oakland’s city attorney said that “the A’s may not impose restrictions against personal attacks or bad taste — unless the restrictions are explained by a legally compelling reason.”
Since we seem to have so many Constitutional law scholars reading the blog today, I don’t have to tell you that those reasons include the incitement of violence or material that is obscene to local standards. Which, considering this is the East Bay, is pretty much nothin’.
So feel free to fly your Anti-A’s flags in the Coliseum, folks. Even if doing so makes Lew Wolff try even harder to get his team in a private facility where he can control every single thing you do.
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.