The All-Star Game caps are pretty different. And pretty cool.

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I realize most new uniform tweaks on special occasions are met with derision, but I really do think that the caps the All-Stars will be wearing this year are kind of fun:

 

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The press release says the caps were “[i]nspired by the 1970s era batting helmet of this year’s host club, the Minnesota Twins.” Which, yes. I wish, however, that they didn’t have the patch on the side too, as it makes a too busy mess out of the thing. The design itself is enough of a change from the norm, right? Still: pretty sweet caps for a one-off, even if I wouldn’t want to see most teams in them every day.

Just eyeballing it, though, I think the following teams would be better off with the All-Star Game designed version than with their every day caps: Nationals, Blue Jays, Rays, Diamondbacks and Rockies. A few others — Braves, Reds, Cubs, Astros and Pirates — would look good in these as occasional alternates, even if I wouldn’t want their normal caps replaced. The white panel designs are worse than the color designs, I think.

Anyway: fun.

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.