Georgia State Patrol announced that trooper Donald Crozier was fired yesterday after being involved in the New Year’s Eve crash that killed the wife of Braves trainer Jeff Porter.
Department of Public Safety commissioner Mark W. McDonough issued the following statement:
Immediately following the crash, I requested the resources of the Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team, the department’s Special Investigations Division, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in the follow-up investigations.
The investigations are continuing and the findings from each will be presented to District Attorney Paul Howard for his consideration of charges when the investigations are concluded. Although this personnel action has been taken, this will in no way change the focus of the investigations.
Jeff Porter was driving with Kathy Porter in the passenger seat and two children in the backseat when they were struck by Dozier’s patrol car in an intersection at around 4:30 pm Saturday.
According to the State Patrol’s statements Dozier was speeding while in pursuit of a motorcyclist and “failed to use due regard when traveling through the intersection on a red traffic signal.” Beyond that, Mike Morris of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that witnesses to the crash observed Dozier’s siren not being on, although his blue lights were flashing.
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.