Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Tim Tebow wants to play baseball. Tim Tebow is deluded.

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According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Tim Tebow is “actively pursuing a career in professional baseball” and plans to hold a workout for MLB teams later this month. That according to Tebow’s agents. UPDATE: they are very serious about this.

Agents, it seems, who are too afraid of their meal ticket to tell him “no” and too irresponsible to tell him that he’s going to make a fool out of himself. Because there is zero chance whatsoever that Tebow, a 29-year-old who hasn’t played competitive baseball since he was a junior in high school, could play affiliated baseball as anything other than a publicity stunt.

Tebow was actually a pretty good baseball player in high school and there is a story that goes around about how was “almost drafted by the Angels” or some such thing. Baseball, however, has dozens of rounds in its draft and it’s not uncommon for a club to draft a multi-sport star on the off chance he gives up his chosen sport. Such a thing is not, however, a sign that a guy is going to be a good baseball player and it certainly means nothing 10-12 years after he last picked up a bat. Most actual major league superstars can’t play baseball effectively again after a layoff of 1-2 years due to the rust and such. But Tebow is gonna do it? Sure he is.

If this is some sort of reality show gambit, secret research for some investigative report he’s doing for ESPN or if the end game is to play two games for the Bridgeport Bluefish to give his athletic career “closure” of some kind, hey, knock yourself out, Timmy. If he seriously thinks he has a shot to be a legitimate professional baseball player, he’s dreaming.

There is a silver lining, though: this news is already causing hardcore football fans to opine that, even though Tebow couldn’t make it in the NFL, he’d be OK at baseball because baseball is somehow easier or whatever. That’s fun in its own right, but it’s also fun because it allows us to watch this again:

 

 

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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I hope your morning went better than Buster Posey‘s evening.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: The Reds took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth and then the Reds bullpen Reds bullpenned all over itself. The Cards scored five runs in the final frame, all charged to Tony Cingrani but with a strong assist from Ross Ohlendorf, who walked in the Cardinals’ tying run and then hit Yadier Molina with the bases loaded, allowing the winning run to score on a walkoff HBP. Bryan Price probably spent a long time after this one, staring into middle distance, wondering why he never went to, I dunno, dental school or something. Dentists make a good living, the hours are better and they never have days like this.

Blue Jays 7, Rays 5: Toronto wins the Battle of the Domes, as Devon Travis had four hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh and Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista each drove in three.

Giants 8, Marlins 7: Brandon Crawford has seven hits in this game, notching a triple, a double and five singles. He was the first player to do that in 41 years. When I first heard that time frame I thought “I wonder if it was Ted Williams or Stan Musial” and then I quickly remembered that 41 years ago was 1975, time stops for no man and now I feel really friggin’ old. Rennie Stennett did it in 1975, by the way. And he did it in nine innings, not 14 like Crawford did, but it was still pretty cool that Crawford did it.

In other news, Buster Posey face-planted into third base:

Given how MLB has rolled with this sort of thing with Posey in the past, I expect them to ban third base this offseason.

Braves 4, Brewers 3: Braves relievers Jose Ramirez, Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Cunniff and Jim Johnson combined for six scoreless innings as the Braves won in 12. The winning run came via a dropped sac fly. Which would’ve been deep enough to score the runner anyway, so it probably didn’t matter. It just looked kinda weird.

Twins 3, Astros 1: The Twins have won seven of nine. Baseball seasons are long and weird. Minnesota enjoyed a three-run fifth inning which came courtesy of Carlos Gomez playing some clown shoes center field. First he let a single get passed him for a two-base error which scored a run and then he lost a fly ball in the lights, turning what should’ve been an out into an RBI triple. We all have bad days at work, I suppose. Thankfully for us, ours aren’t in front of 20,000 people.

Rangers 4, Rockies 3: Colorado had a 3-1 lead heading into the ninth when Elvis Andrus singled in Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar, who had put themselves into scoring position with a double steal — and then Mitch Moreland doubled in Andrus. Adrian Beltre and Nolan Arenado homered, the former in a winning cause, the latter in a losing one, obviously.

Athletics 3, Orioles 2: Kendall Graveman went seven innings allowing only one run and Stephen Vogt homered and drove in another run with a single. With this loss and the Blue Jays’ win, Baltimore and Toronto are tied, virtually anyway, for first place in the AL East.

Mariners 3, Tigers 0: Hisashi Iwakuma tossed seven shutout innings and the M’s got three RBI singles. Iwakuma has won seven of his last eight starts.

Dodgers 9, Phillies 4: Corey Seager hit two homers and Chase Utley and Yasmani Grandal each went deep as well. L.A. had a 5-0 lead after one inning, so I assume Vin Scully had to dig deeper into his story telling repertoire than usual on this night.

Credit is due to the Yankees for making A-Rod’s exit drama-free

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If, two or three years ago, you had to bet how Alex Rodriguez‘s exit from the New York Yankees was going to eventually go down, the smart money would’ve been on outcomes ranging from “rancorous litigation” to “pistols at dawn.” The odds against “special farewell night dedicated to the man, his salary paid-in-full and Rodriguez assuming an advisory position on the team” were so long that they weren’t worth calculating. Indeed, they would’ve triggered alarms at the state gambling commission.

Yet here we are. A-Rod got to have a press conference — without lawyers — yesterday and on Friday he’ll get to tip his cap to the fans in Yankee Stadium, see highlights from his career on the Jumbotron, try to ignore flashbulbs with each pitch he is thrown and, when it is all over, leave the field to a standing ovation. It’s almost as if he’s just like any other all-time great.

A lot of this was made possible by Rodriguez himself, of course. After his scorched Earth campaign around the time of his suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013 he retreated to Miami and, by all outward appearances, became a changed man. He called off his lawyers, went to school, spent time with his kids, worked out hard and, it seems, began to appreciate all of the things which he had almost completely lost. His bounceback 2015 season and, more importantly, his team-first attitude and newfound self-awareness and aversion to controversy, made it conceivable that, yes, Alex Rodriguez could very well leave the game on his own terms. Or at least something close to them.

But it was the Yankees who always controlled the exact circumstances of A-Rod’s departure. Despite being on the hook for tens of millions of dollars between 2015 and 2017, the Yankees could’ve always just decided they didn’t want Rodriguez back following his year-long suspension. They could’ve released him and stepped away from what they might’ve reasonably feared would be a renewed A-Rod Circus. They could’ve eaten his entire salary and traded him to a team willing to take a flier on an intriguing DH possibility and a potential box office draw. They never had to let him suit up in pinstripes in 2015 and, after he faltered at the end of that year and well into this year, they could’ve just unceremoniously pulled the plug with nothing more than a curt goodbye and a single line on the transaction wire.

That they didn’t do that and that they are, instead, giving A-Rod, in effect, a five-day farewell tour capped off by a farewell night, is quite admirable and quite honorable. Given that he’s really unable to play anymore and given where the Yankees are on the rebuild cycle, it’d be too much to just guarantee his roster spot through 2017 like some clubs might’ve done for a declining superstar. And, of course, the relationship between the Yankees and A-Rod has enough of a rocky history to suggest that pushing things that far was never in the cards. But no one really expected that it would end this nicely, all things considered. With a farewell game, a seemingly satisfied A-Rod and the chance for him to ease into an advisory role with the club after his playing career is over.

Last night Jon Heyman gave some of the background on how this all came about. It was mostly the doing of Hal Steinbrenner who, realizing that A-Rod’s position on the team was becoming untenable and realizing that it would soon become a daily item in the tabloids, flew up to New York to talk to A-Rod and to convince him to accept his impending release with grace. It’s a chance that the Yankees organization would never have given him a couple of years ago and, to be fair, one which A-Rod never would’ve accepted then either. A-Rod is getting a lot of credit for stepping away quietly, but Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees are deserving of praise for extending the offer when they did and how they did.

Maybe there’s a chance that pistols are still drawn and maybe there’s enough time between now and Friday for the old A-Rod/Yankees circus to put up the tent one least time and give us all something to gawk at. But for now the only thing that is truly eye-opening is just how much both sides, the Yankees and Rodriguez, have grown and how thoroughly they’ve let go of the past.