The Sporting News picks the top 50 players — and does a terrible job of it

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This is less the Sporting News’ mistake as it is their panel of “125 experts, including 18 Hall of Famers” who pick the Top 50 current ballplayers in the game this time each year. They get number 1 OK: Pujols.  Not many would argue with that.

But how about Chase Utley at number 9 behind Ichiro and Derek Jeter of all people?  How about Jayson Werth at 49, only 16 slots behind Derrick Lee and five behind Bobby Abreu!  I love to make fun of defensive Phillies fans more than life itself, but they have my total permission to go apes— over this one.  Not that they are the only ones with beefs here.  Go down the list and you’ll find all manner or weirdness.

As Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball notes, the panel of experts includes guys like convicted multiple felon and all-around dummy Denny McClain, Peter Ueberroth, the architect of 1980s-collusion, and Darren Daulton, a fine former catcher but a man who currently believes that the universe is created and sustained by numerical synchronicities, and that all matter is charged with vibrational energy, which has escaped human perception because it is extradimensional in origin. Really.

So obviously good judgment and sober reasoning is not a qualification for the Sporting News’ expert panel.  As such, I think we should take this poll’s results about as seriously as McClain and Ueberroth take the law and Daulten takes the scientific method.

Report: Umpire John Tumpane pulled a woman from the edge of the Roberto Clemente Bridge

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Stephen J. Nesbitt and Steph Chambers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have an enthralling report involving umpire John Tumpane. On Wednesday afternoon, prior to the game in Pittsburgh between the Rays and Pirates, Tumpane had finished a run and lunch. As he was crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge just outside of PNC Park, he noticed a woman climb over the bridge’s railing above the Allegheny River.

Tumpane was worried and headed towards the woman. What began was an act of heroism. He started a conversation with the woman, who said, “I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” and then said, “I’m better off on this side. Just let me go.”

Tumpane refused to let her go. He had his arms wrapped around her and spoke words of encouragement until police and paramedics arrived. As the woman was being put into the ambulance, Tumpane asked for her name and prayed for her. He said he hopes to reconnect with her before he leaves town for the next series. He called it an “interesting afternoon.”

The recap here doesn’t do Chambers and Nesbitt’s reporting justice, so please head over to the Post-Gazette to read the full story.

In a sport in which home plate umpires are some of the only ones wearing caged masks, it’s easy to forget that they are human beings, too. We curse at them for making calls that go against our teams, but they can be capable of greatness, too. Tumpane certainly showed that on Wednesday.

Tim Tebow homered on his first day with Single-A St. Lucie

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Edit: The title initially said that Tebow homered in his first at-bat with St. Lucie. He played in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader and went 1-for-2 with a walk. He homered in his first at-bat of the second game of the double-header.

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Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.

Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. On his first day with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.