Just woke up from a crazy dream. I was in Cooperstown this summer and the only person giving a Hall of Fame acceptance speech was a baseball writer. I know, that seems insane because the Hall of Fame is about the players, not the writers, right? Anyway, as the guy finished men with chisels added the word “Writing” in between “National Baseball” and “Hall of Fame” on the front of the building.
Glad I woke up before they finished!
Six-figure bids are expected when an auction house sells a rare 148-year-old baseball card that was discovered at a yard sale in rural Maine, the auction house manager said Wednesday … It’s not the same as a modern baseball card, which became commonplace beginning in the 1880s. Instead, it’s an original photograph from 1865 of the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club mounted on a card. The card shows nine players gathered around their manager.
Only two of these exist in the world, the other being at the Library of Congress. The coolest part: they were apparently made to give to fans of the opposing team as a means of taunting them.
And now, 150 years later, we get bent out of shape when a relief pitcher does a little dance.
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.