Danny Valencia’s walk-off single against Chris Perez last night was dramatic enough, coming with the bases loaded and turning a 1-0 Indians lead into a 2-1 Twins victory, but their back story added to the drama.
Valencia and Perez have been friends since high school, played together at the University of Miami, and were roommates for two years. And after Valencia handed Perez just his second blown save of the season he also handed him some pillows and blankets, with the Indians closer staying at the Twins third baseman’s place for the night.
Asked about their postgame plans for the evening, Valencia replied: “We’re just going to watch highlights over and over.”
If Valencia’s hand didn’t end up in a bowl of hot water Perez is a better friend than me.
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.