Riggleman trashes Tom Boswell of the Washington Post

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Reasonable people may disagree about the wisdom of Jim Riggleman leaving the Nationals like he did yesterday, but I think everyone can agree that going on the radio the next day and trashing a well-respected baseball columnist by name is going to make you many friends. Certainly not in the media, but likely not with folks in the game too, most of whom respect the columnist in question and who don’t take a shine to would-be employees who get into scrapes with the press.

But that’s what Riggleman did today while on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio show with host Bruce Murray. The object of his ire being Tom Boswell of the Washington Post, who he felt tried to run him out of town and hated him for not being Earl Weaver. Or something.  The bigger accusation was saying that Boswell printed “half-truths,” and didn’t get Riggleman’s side of the story on everything.

The transcript, via the DC Sports Bog, is here. Here’s the most quotable part:

“I read the papers. I read that nonsense Tom Boswell writes, and I’ll say this: Tom Boswell has tried to be the impetus behind me not being the manager here for a long time. He is a master of the half-truth. A half-truth can be more dangerous than a lie. He prints just enough nonsense that can paint a picture.

“But he’s become such a snake and such an impetus to have me out of there, [and] he’s just written so many snide remarks. That type of stuff from such a well-respected columnist throughout the country, to get away with that nonsense, I’m just bringing it to your attention, that that’s the kind of stuff that gets written that is totally false … he never tells the full story. He’s never interviewed me, he never talks to me and asks me these questions. He just writes negativity.”

Which may have more salience as a criticism if Boswell was primarily reporting news as opposed to offering opinion and insight, which he is more than capable of doing without going to Riggleman for his defense every time his name is mentioned. And hey, if the fair assessment of the state-of-the-Nats is negative — which has been the case for most of Riggleman’s tenure — is Boswell supposed to avoid negativity?

But at this point, Boswell certainly doesn’t need my defense. Riggleman, on the other hand could use a little help.

 

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

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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.