Earl Weaver: 1930-2013

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Sad news to pass along from Baltimore, as MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko reports that Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver passed away last night. He was 82 years old.

An iconic figure with the Orioles, Weaver compiled a 1,480-1,060 record over 17 seasons as the team’s manager. This included stints from 1968-1982 and from 1985-1986. Known for his unique wit and progressive baseball strategy, Weaver led the club to six American League East titles, four pennants and a World Series title in 1970.

Weaver is 22nd all-time in managerial wins and ninth all-time in winning percentage. His fiery personality often led to some legendary arguments with umpires. Only Bobby Cox and John McGraw were ejected in more games.

Weaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 while his No. 4 is one of six numbers retired by the Orioles. He was present last June when the Orioles unveiled a statue with his likeness at Camden Yards.

So long to a true baseball legend.

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.