This year’s All-Star Game starting pitchers, Justin Verlander and Matt Cain, are certainly both big names with excellent track records, but it’s interesting to note that the honor of starting an All-Star Game doesn’t always go to elite pitchers.
Obviously any pitcher who starts an All-Star Game is by definition having an excellent season at the time–so please hold onto those angry comments and e-mails–but here’s a list of some All-Star Game starters during the past 20 years: Esteban Loaiza, Terry Mulholland, Brad Penny, Charles Nagy, Kenny Rogers, Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Back in 2006 the game featured a scintillating Kenny Rogers-Brad Penny matchup and following Roger Clemens’ start in 2001 the American League had a five-year run in which they started Derek Lowe, Esteban Loaiza, Mark Buehrle, Mark Mulder, and Kenny Rogers.
Verlander-Cain is pretty damn good.
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.