Craig Finn to the Twins: play better music!

15 Comments

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady is a big Twins fans. BIG fan. Wears Twins jerseys on stage, writes songs about them and everything.  And he loves going to the park.  Once upon a time they used to play cool music at Twins games too, but no longer, he tells CBS Sports.com’s Eye on Baseball:

EOB: I’m assuming you’ve been at a Twins game at least, where they’ve played one of your songs, but what was it like the first time you heard your own song at a baseball game?

CF: It was at the Metrodome. The music guy there got in touch with me and knew I was going to be at the game and he played eight Hold Steady songs during the Twins game. And the other music he played was Bruce Springsteen and the Replacements. So I felt like I was being serenaded by my own mix, so it was pretty amazing. I feel like my relationship with Minneapolis is strong. I sing about it a lot and we get good crowds there. There are times where I always feel like I’m really accepted by the city and that was one of them. I’ve heard (the Hold Steady) once in Target Field. Unfortunately they let that guy go and they used to have amazing music at the dome, they’d play smart music, stuff you don’t always hear at the ballpark. I was disappointed they let him go and they got some sort of Top 40 DJ, playing Lady Gaga.

EOB: That’s terrible when you have a place like Minneapolis that’s so rich in music history.

CF: You want the park to be connected to the city both architecturally and vibe-wise. I thought when I’d go to a game and hear the Replacements, this is what makes our city different. That we really understand what we have musically and honor that. I thought that was unfortunate that it’s gone away. But whatever.

It does stink. Baseball is so very local. Any park in a city with any kind of local musical or artistic heritage should play that up as much as possible.  Too bad the guys in Minnesota don’t feel that way.

Read the rest of the interview, by the way. All kinds of stuff about baseball. Which makes me like Craig Finn a lot.

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

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
6 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.