Barry Bonds is a nice guy. Don’t believe me? Well let’s lay forth the evidence.
On Tuesday, the news came out that the all-time home run king had donated $20,000 to a group of journalists. JOURNALISTS!?! That’s like Lex Luthor and the Riddler holding a bake sale in support of the Justice League. It’s just hard to imagine it happening — unless that check was carved in kryptonite.
But wait there’s more. On Wednesday, just after Alex Rodriguez became the seventh member of the 600-homer club and we started talking about him one day becoming the all-time record holder, this messages pops up on Bonds’ web site:
“Congratulations Alex on hitting your 600th home run today, welcome to the club. Stay healthy and focused, you only have 163 to go. I’ll be watching and rooting for you along the way. Good Luck.”
And that’s it. No snarky remarks. No jealousy. No evil cackling accompanied with the promise to “get you if it’s the last thing I do!” The old guy sounds like he’s turning over a new leaf.
Unless, of course, this is all part of the plan …
Are you on Twitter? You can follow Bob here, and get all your HBT updates here.
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.