Umpire ejected Russell Martin for making a joke last night

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Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber tossed Russell Martin from last night’s game in the fifth inning because he made a joke following back-to-back walks by Phil Hughes.

Or at least Martin claims his comments were a joke, telling reporters afterward that he asked “did you stretch before the game tonight?” and then added “I feel like you’re kind of tight tonight.”

Given the situation it’s not hard to see how Schrieber may have missed the humor, especially since Martin admitted afterward that he was being critical of the strike zone, but throwing him from the game seems like overkill.

Or as Martin put it afterward:

What, we can’t talk anymore? It’s a game, man, we’re supposed to be having fun. I was just trying to get him to laugh. I didn’t say he sucked. I didn’t say he was the worst umpire in the league. I didn’t cuss at him. I didn’t say any of that stuff. And I got thrown out. That’s tough to do.

Schrieber declined to comment because umpires rarely speak to the media, so we may never know his version of the story.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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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.