First that dustup with Kevin Youkilis and now some bad in-game managing is making for a pretty crappy day for Bobby V.
Daniel Bard and James Shields were locked in a 0-0 pitchers’ duel. Bard had been effective all day, but effectively wild too, walking several. In the seventh inning Bard, already over 100 pitches on a hot day in one of his first few major league starts, started to tire.
With two outs, he walked Sean Rodriguez. Then he gave up a single to Desmond Jennings. He was visibly tired by this point, but Valentine didn’t pull him. Nope, he then let him walk Carlos Pena on four straight pitches to load the bases. Two outs, remember, in a 0-0 game, but on goes Bard.
Even Longoria comes up to bat. He too walks on four straight pitches, scoring Rodriguez. It’s 1-0 Rays in the bottom of the seventh as I write this. UPDATE: That score held up. Rays win it 1-0.
Maybe we can call this Grady Little-level managing. Or maybe Bobby V. learned a lesson from the Youkilis thing and was just not wanting to appear to question the motivation of a second player in less than two days. I guess someone will have to ask him after the game. Which should be fun.
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.