Apparently ego and vanity are the only reasons A-Rod is appealing

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That’s if you believe Bob Klapisch, of course.  He takes a look at A-Rod’s return to the Yankees and — despite noting that the Yankees are awful and A-Rod is actually looking like he is capable of helping the team — he casts a cynical eye on Rodriguez’s presence on the Yankees. And it’s not even a money thing. Klapisch even admits that anyone would play if there was money at stake so it’s hard to fault Rodriguez for that. But:

Given the inevitable humiliation that awaits, A-Rod is using the last two months of the season to build up equity with the fans. Only a fool would believe that’s possible – that home runs in meaningless games will clear the stench of years of PEDs use. But that’s how Rodriguez rolls, swaddled by ego, a tone-deaf vanity and his PR staff that never let Rodriguez forget he is larger than life. So A-Rod on about rescuing the Yankees, but he has to know that’s beyond anyone’s grasp. Instead, it’s all about the stage – his stage, just the way baseball’s greatest narcissist likes it.

I forgot the part where A-Rod claimed he could “rescue the Yankees,” but hey, if you want to paint someone in the most negative light possible sometimes you have to take some liberties. After all, it’s boring to say that A-Rod is playing because (a) he’s a healthy baseball player under contract; who (b) is eligible to play because his suspension is under appeal. Much better to chalk it all up to vanity and ego and stuff.

But really, the efforts people are taking to make mounting a defense to a draconian punishment look like evidence of bad character on A-Rod’s part is amusing. I mean, it’s not like you need to find new avenues for attacking A-Rod’s character. But even if you do, this is an odd one, as I’m really curious to know whether Klapisch or any of his like-minded noble souls would simply roll over and accept four times (and then some) the workplace punishment they thought they were subject to beforehand.  Would they not fight that, even if they were as guilty as sin? Would they not continue coming to work if their union contract said they could?

Nah, of course they wouldn’t. They aren’t so vain, egocentric and narcissistic as all that, I’m sure. They’d just disappear.

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.