Bud Selig: “We’d better” have expanded replay next season

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Bud Selig has repeatedly downplayed the outcry for expanded instant replay this year, which is why this comment from a Q & A with Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday was pretty surprising and downright refreshing.

You have said you want to expand instant replay to include reviews of fair or foul balls and trapped balls. Will that expanded replay be in place for next season?

“I think we’ll have it for sure. They’re working on cameras in all the ballparks. We need the right cameras. Should we have them by next year? We’d better.”

That’s what we have longed to hear from Selig for a long time now, but actions speak much louder than words. Expanded replay for fair-or-foul balls and trapped-or-caught balls was actually negotiated into the new collective bargaining agreement last November, though the implementation was subject to negotiations between MLB and the umpires’ union. It was announced back in March that the two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement in time for this season. MLB also wants to make sure that they have the proper technology in place in all 30 parks. Let’s hope Selig has more sense of urgency to get this done than he has shown with the committee on the Athletics-to-San Jose case. Thursday’s answer was a pretty good start, though.

By the way, Shaikin’s Q & A is worth a read. Selig addresses a wide variety of topics, including the new Wild Card format and whether he showed a double standard by allowing the Moores to take $200 million in TV money from the recent sale of the Padres, but wouldn’t allow Frank McCourt to do the same with the Dodgers. Really interesting stuff.

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.