Let’s not convict Milton Bradley in the court of public opinion just yet

25 Comments

As reported last night, Milton Bradley is in some big-time legal trouble as a result of allegedly making threats of bodily harm and/or death against an unidentified female. The charges under California Penal Code section 422 are felony charges, and if they are borne out, he could end up doing time.

It’s important to remember, however, that the law Bradley is charged with violating carries a subjective element. Specifically, the victim had to have taken the threat seriously at the time and had to have been placed “in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety.”

We have no idea about the facts of this case and in no way am I either doubting or buying his accuser’s allegations. However, because of the subjectivity of it — because it relies on the victim’s own words about what she felt at a specific time as opposed to eyewitness accounts or evidence of physical harm —  it’s a law that can lend itself to specious claims more easily than others. If this were merely a case of Milton Bradley rolling his eyes at someone and breezily saying “One of these days, Alice, bang-zoom, to the moon!” I’m assuming that the police would not have made an arrest. And of course, Milton Bradley has a long and colorful history with anger management issues.

That said, despite his personal history, let’s give Bradley the benefit of the doubt before convicting him in the court of public opinion, OK?  We simply don’t know enough at this time to say anything intelligent about the merits of the claim. Really, we don’t know anything.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
11 Comments

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.