Marlins targeting senior demographic with Thursday promotion

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It’s tough to be a fan of the Miami Marlins these days. Giancarlo Stanton is the only star on the roster, and the Marlins still may trade him sooner rather than later. The new stadium is a bit of an eyesore. Upper management is aloof, threatening to sue season ticket-holders and banning protesters.

After drawing over 34,000 for the home opener against the Braves on Monday, the Marlins have averaged barely above 15,000 in the three games since and it’s a trend that is expected to carry on through the season. In an attempt to get fans to the ballpark any way possible, the Marlins are introducing a very interesting promotion. Via Fish Stripes:

On Thursdays anyone over the age of 55 can attend a Marlins game for free, and in the “best available” section. Others can get discounts on tickets by visiting sponsors like Subway and Chevron to get the proper coupon for cheaper seating.

Thursdays at Marlins Park may be the only time when the average age of the fans in attendance are more than three times older than the average age of the home team’s roster.

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.