UPDATE: Phils irk Mets en route to 11th straight win

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UPDATE: Here’s Chase Utley’s response, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. It’s pretty much what you would expect him to say.

“I have never ever attempted to break up a double play with the intent
to injure someone,” he told MLB.com. “I understand what it’s like to be
taken out. I’ve been kicked, kneed, elbowed, spiked and even flipped
upside down. And as much as I might not have liked it at the time, I
understand that it’s all part of being a Major League second baseman.
Second basemen have had to deal with this for over 100 years. And with
that said, we as a team play the game hard and play it to win. That is
not going to change.”

11:56 AM: The Phillies continue to be the hottest team on the planet. They defeated the Mets 3-2 last night to extend their season-high winning streak to 11 games and reduce their magic number to two. And consistent with when these two teams usually meet up, it didn’t come without a little bit of bad blood.

After the game, a number of Mets told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that they were irked by Chase Utley’s takeout slide of Ruben Tejada during a double play in the fifth inning. You can watch the play in question here and judge for yourself, but here’s what David Wright had to say about the incident.

“You can ask him. He’s a second baseman. If he wants guys sliding like
that into him, then it’s perfectly fine. He knows how to play the game.
If he doesn’t mind guys coming in like that when he’s turning a double
play, then we don’t have any problem with it. It’s a legal slide. It’s
within the rules. But somebody is going to get hurt. So I guess that’s a
better question for him.”

“Chase, he plays the game hard. He plays the game passionately. But
there’s a thin line between going out there and playing the game hard
and going out there trying to get somebody hurt. That’s a thin line.
Nobody is going to push us around. We’re going to have our teammate’s
back. I think cooler heads prevailed, but we’ve got to let them know
that over on our side we didn’t appreciate it and that we’re going to go
out there and have our teammates’ backs. I think our bench let him
know. As far as I’m concerned, it’s done. We move on. We’ll reevaluate
the way we go into second base.”

For what it’s worth, Tejada didn’t have any issue with the slide, though it’s nice for Wright to say something that didn’t come out of a cliche generator. In truth, the Mets should probably be more concerned with the very real possibility that the Phillies will clinch their fourth straight NL East crown right in front of them this weekend. The best way to fight back would be to, you know, actually win some baseball games.

MLB may introduce “tacky” baseballs in 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.

They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.

As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.

Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.

Here we go: Tim Tebow reports to Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a work out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.

Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.

The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.

In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: