Babe Ruth's final appearance at Yankee Stadium

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Life Magazine has some never before seen photos of Babe Ruth’s last appearance at Yankee Stadium, two months before his death.  They’re in color and, unlike some of the more well known pictures of the latter-day Babe, they give a striking view of just how frail he was.

Black and white photography is wonderful in its own way (and of course was, at one point in time, the only game in town), but there’s an artificial distancing from the present and romanticism to it that we often ignore. It’s hard to think of Babe Ruth as a mere mortal, partially because of the legend that surrounds him and his own exploits, but also because most of our images of him are in black and white. On some level he may as well be Abraham Lincoln or a lovingly-rendered sketch drawing or something.

There’s a human tendency to elevate the past and to say that the world is going to hell in a handbasket today. I suspect much of that is a function of us simply not knowing the past as clearly as we could. Mostly because of the disappearance of living memory, some because of ignorance and — maybe just a tiny bit — because we just don’t see it in full color, both literally and metaphorically speaking.

Sandy Alderson thinks Tim Tebow will play in the major leagues

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Based on his track record so far I don’t think Tim Tebow deserves to play in the major leagues on the merits. Not even close. But then again, I’m not the general manager of the New York Mets, so I don’t get a say in that.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager, so his say carries a lot of weight. To that end, here’s what he said yesterday:

Noting the Tebow experiment has “evolved” into something greater, general manger Sandy Alderson on Sunday said, “I think he will play in the major leagues.”

To be fair, Alderson is pretty up front about the merits of Tebow’s presumed advancement to the bigs at some point. He didn’t say that it’s because Tebow has played his way up. He said this:

“He is great for the team, he is great for baseball, he was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year. The notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he is not coming through the traditional sources, I think is crazy. This is entertainment, too. And he quietly entertains us . . . He benefits the Mets because of how he conducts himself. He’s a tremendous representative of the organization.”

I take issue with Alderson’s comment about people thinking he shouldn’t be in the game because of his background. Most people who have been critical of the Tebow experiment have been critical because there is no evidence that he’s a good enough baseball player to be given the opportunities he’s been given. I mean, he advanced to high-A last year despite struggling at low-A and he’s going to start at Double-A this year in all likelihood despite struggling in high-A. If he does make the bigs, it will likewise come despite struggles in Double-A and maybe Triple-A too.

That said: I don’t mind if they promote Tebow all the way up as long as they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and aren’t trying to get everyone on board with some cockamamie idea that Tebow belongs on the baseball merits. If they do put him in the majors it’ll be because he’s a draw and a good promotion and because people generally like him and he’s not hurting anyone and I can’t take issue with that.

That’s basically what Alderson is saying here and if that’s the case, great. I mean, not great, because Tebow in the bigs will likely also mean that the Mets aren’t playing meaningful games, but great in the sense of “fine.” Baseball is entertainment too. No sense in pretending it isn’t.