Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel: “I feel terrible and I am truly very sorry”

29 Comments

Last week Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel ruffled more than a few feathers when a recording of him comparing Zack Greinke to “Rain Man” surfaced. It showed insensitivity to both those with social anxiety disorder, like Greinke. It also showed insensitivity to those with and those caring for people with autism, who have to deal with “Rain Man” stereotyping pretty constantly.

Garfinkel had apologized even before the furor began. But as Maury Brown notes, Garfinkel has gone the extra mile here, showing genuine remorse for his comments and being a pretty darn standup guy about it all. Maury, by the way, has a special interest in this — and was among the harshest critics of Garfinkel last week — as he has a child on the autism spectrum. Even knowing him a little bit and/or following him on Twitter, you get a pretty good idea of how challenging raising an autistic child can be, so you can understand why he was particularly irked among baseball writers.

Everyone makes mistakes. These days everyone apologizes for them. Rare it is, however, that you see apologies in human terms which evince genuine regret over those mistakes. Good on Garfinkel for doing so.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
11 Comments

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.