Jake Arrieta joined David Kaplan and Jesse Rogers on Chicago’s ESPN 1000 on Tuesday. He was asked about players flipping their bats in celebration after a home run.
It’s not surprising that Arrieta feels this way, but it’s also disappointing. Major League Baseball wonders why fans are gravitating towards other sports like the NBA and it’s because their players can actually express themselves in the arena. Mike Trout is the best player baseball has seen since Ken Griffey, Jr. and he’s about as interesting as paint drying on a wall. That’s because baseball tamps down players’ impulses to express themselves, to show emotion. Active pitchers (like Arrieta), former players (like Goose Gossage), and commentators preserve this outmoded mentality where emotionless play is correct and it is sapping the sport of personality.
If I were commissioner, I’d stop trying to fiddle with the rules to try and make the sport interesting. Instead, I would try to bring out the best in the players, make them relatable to fans. And I’d make a phone call every time someone like Arrieta speaks in favor of hurting players who dare to show emotion on the field.
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.