For as long as I can recall, Sandy Koufax has shown up at Mets spring training to do a little coaching of Mets pitchers and a little meet-and-greet kind of thing each year. This owing to his friendship with Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
I wonder if that’s all over, because the Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that Koufax has been hired as a special assistant to chairman Mark Walter, to work with Dodgers pitchers in Spring Training and to serve as a consultant throughout the year.
A nice move for the Dodgers, both substantively and for p.r. purposes, and, with all due respect to the Mets, a much more appropriate team for Sandy Koufax to associate himself with each spring.
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.