For almost his entire career — certainly since he signed that first mega contract with the Texas Rangers — the sports media and sports fans have dumped on Alex Rodriguez. He has been mocked, slammed, jeered, attacked, baited and sometimes slandered pretty constantly since 2001. Yes, he has often brought a lot of that on himself, but there is no disputing the fact that, at best, his legacy, as of, say, a week ago, was pretty poor. A good player at times with a history of PED use who, no matter the case, is somewhat silly at best, despicable at worst.
So, to suggest that this latest bit of unseemliness coming out this morning tarnishes his long-since-tarnished legacy is a kind of rich. Yet it’s being suggested. Here by Danny Knobler:
It’s not getting any better for Alex Rodriguez now. He’s not coming back from this hip surgery and this steroid scandal the way he did from the last one. That one scarred him. This one finishes him off … This week’s story simply cost him whatever little piece of his legacy he still controlled.
Here’s a video representation of that.
At least until the next time he makes some misstep or another. Then we’ll once again say “oh, now he’s done it. A-Rod has really stepped in it here and his legacy is now toast.”
Please. His name is mud. The same media which repeatedly declares it as such made it that way. Let’s not get a case of the vapors now, after all this time. Instead of picking up the brickbat to once again take a few swings at Rodriguez, how about talking about PEDs in sports in a reasonable way and looking at this story for purposes other than A-Rod destruction. Because that stuff is old hat.
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.