Miami-Dade mayor: “The freedom-loving people” of Miami want Ozzie Guillen fired

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L’affair Ozzie is continuing apace. We’ve had the comment, the outrage, the apology, the media hand-wringing, and now the political opportunism.

In the run-up to Ozzie Guillen’s second apology over his Castro comment, Carlos Giminez, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, calls for his termination. Because apparently there is nothing more satisfying to “freedom-loving people” than to fire a person for voicing a weak, unpopular political opinion:

“I join the rest of our Miami-Dade County community and all freedom-loving people in condemning the statement made by Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen,” Gimenez said in a 5 p.m. statement. “For too long, the Marlins organization has been the source of controversies in our community and I now challenge them to take decisive steps to bring this community back together.”

“Bring this community back together?”  Call me crazy, but I have this feeling that a community that is strong enough to have escaped Castro and build what it has built in Miami is not capable of being destroyed by an isolated incident of one loudmouth saying something ill-considered to a magazine reporter.

Anyway, Gimenez didn’t say what those “decisive steps” were, but it’s pretty clear that he wants Guillen fired. Which, as I said yesterday, seems preposterous to me. At least if you treat this as merely a matter of Ozzie Guillen spouting off.

But maybe it’s not just about Ozzie spouting off to Miami politicians. That comment about the Marlins being “the source of controversies”  is loaded with meaning, likely being a reference to the funding of the new ballpark, which is now the subject of a federal investigation. That messiness led directly to Mr. Giminez getting his job, when his predecessor was recalled due to his involvement in alleged shadiness. Moreover, the matter of who supported public money for the Marlins became an issue in the subsequent election to replace the old mayor, with Giminez being an anti-stadium dollars guy.

Which, hey, good for him because that’s admirable. But it also suggests that being tough on the Marlins is part of Gimenez’s recent political DNA too.  Which suggests that Guillen is being seized on, not only because he said something that people in Miami don’t like, but because it’s politically expedient for some folks to make the Marlins into the boogeyman.

So, the theater continues. The allegedly shocking comment, the outrage, the first apology, the media hand-wringing, the second apology and now the political opportunism. All that’s left are the lawsuits, right? That’s how this sort of thing tends to go, isn’t it?

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.