Paul Lukas has no peer when it comes to the world of cataloging and commenting on sports uniform design, and today he has a post I look forward to every year: all of the uniform changes heading in to the new baseball season.
Nothing really major. The Blue Jays have trashed the powder blue alternates. The Dodgers have that light blue home alternate. The Pirates have trashed the pinstriped vest. Lots of memorial patches are floating around. The Padres are — inexplicably — encouraging everyone to use their secondary logo “whenever possible,” instead of their primary logo, yet are still keeping the primary logo and are continuing to call it primary. It’s like the logo has a guaranteed contract or something and can’t be released.
All in all, a quiet year on the uniform front with most of the moves being tasteful enough. No terrible missteps. And though I love the Blue Jays’ powder blues, the fact that they never wore them on the road like God and Nature intended made me rather blah about the whole enterprise.
Good stuff from Lukas. Check it out.
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.