I have no idea what kind of baseball owner Mark Cuban would be, but if Tim Cowlishaw thinks he’d be a bad one, he had better bring stronger arguments than this to the table:
Cuban is a lightning rod. Those Mavericks fans who love him do so
unconditionally and pay little attention to the fact that the team is
not fundamentally better off than it was a decade ago when he purchased
it from Ross Perot Jr.
I’ll leave the hardcore basketball analysis of Cuban’s tenure as Mavericks owner to Kurt Helin over at PBT. But even this novice realizes that Cowlishaw is out to lunch here.
The Mavericks were a laughing stock for most of their history before Cuban came. They have been a playoff team for a decade since he came. Cuban may have made all manner of mistakes over that time that kept the Mavericks in the category of “really good team” and cost them a championship or two, but to suggest that the team is not “fundamentally better off” today than they were before Cuban bought them is ridiculous.
I don’t know if Mark Cuban has a chance in the August 4th auction for the Rangers. And I don’t know what his intentions would be with respect to the Rangers if he bought them. But why anyone expects that he’d be a disaster as an owner is a mystery to me.
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.