Not a lot has gone right for the Mets recently. They’ve lost their ace starter, their star slugger and their closer to injuries. Their most famous starter stayed out partying on Cinco de Mayo which led to a nearly weeklong tabloid story. Just not ideal.
One part of their 2017 plan is going well, however. It’s a small part, but one that you know someone in the marketing department hoped would go well. That’s the Tim Tebow experiment.
Tebow has gotten fairly hot lately down in the Sally League of late. Overall, he’s hitting .250/.330/.370 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 28 games for Columbia, but in his past 16 games he has an .849 OPS. It has the Mets thinking:
According to a club source, there has been discussion about moving the former Heisman Trophy winner to a higher level within the minors, but such a jump likely won’t occur until after the All-Star Game in midseason.
The next level up from where Tebow is now would be St. Lucie, which is high-A, but I bet if they promote him they’d send him to Double-A Binghamton. Partially to get him closer to New York geographically, but partially as a sink-or-swim proposition.
Players say that the toughest jump in the minors is the one to Double-A. That’s where real talents go after the great filter that is A-ball. If Tebow could somehow manage to hold his own there it would, perhaps, provide the Mets a path to an eventual big league cup of coffee and all of the publicity, marketing and jersey sales that would provide. If not, well, at least they’d know for sure that he couldn’t hack it.
Anyone can get hot for a couple of weeks and Tebow could quickly slump down in Columbia. But it’s intriguing all around.
It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.
What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.
You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.
Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:
I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.
This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.