Busting the narratives: reverse pennant races

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As Kierkegaard once said: “The baseball season can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”  Which is why narratives are created as the season goes on, assigning epic collapses to teams who play poorly late and inspirational surges to teams who play poorly early. Even if said teams — over the long haul — are about exactly the same.

But what if we turned the season around backawards? What if we lived it “Time’s Arrow”-style, with the season beginning in early October and ending in early April?  What would we say about teams then?

Chris Jaffe takes a stab at that, looking at past seasons — 1982, 1973 to be exact — and figuring out the narratives which would have prevailed in that case.

It’s a fun mental exercise and a good read.

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.