Buster Olney makes a great point today: Andy Pettitte has been called for 11 balks in his career. Three of those were called by Angel Hernandez, who obviously doesn’t think that Pettitte’s awesome move to first is so awesome. Or maybe it’s too awesome. I don’t know. The point, though: Angel Hernandez is umping first base tonight.
It was a long time ago — maybe 1997 or 1998 — but I remember an ESPN game in which someone made a point to break down Pettitte’s move to first base. It’s pretty spectacular, and I’m not sure how Hernandez calls it as a balk more than others do. Maybe he just caught Pettitte on bad days. Maybe Hernandez just isn’t much of an ump.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.