Gary Carter’s memorial service was held last night at the Christ Fellowship church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Many of Carter’s family, friends, former teammates and colleagues paid tribute, including a speech by fellow Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench.
The Mets naturally had a large contingent on hand for the occasion and according to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, the Wilpons and manager Terry Collins presented Carter’s widow, Sandy, with a mockup of the patch the team will wear in honor of Carter this season.
The mockup depicts Carter’s No. 8 over an inverted home plate. The patch is expected to be ready for players to wear at some point during spring training and prior to Opening Day against the Braves on April 5.
This gesture may not satisfy those who also want Carter’s number retired, but I think it would be a pretty cynical motivation on the Mets’ part to do it now that he has passed away. Either way, having his No. 8 on a Mets’ uniform this season will be pretty cool.
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.