Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Flashback: here’s how most open tryouts work in professional baseball


The Tim Tebow thing is weird and sorta interesting on some meta media/celebrity level. But as you could probably tell from my post on it, I’m a bit irked by it too. Mostly because I strongly suspect that very, very few people, including former athletes, would get the opportunity to have private workouts with major league teams if they possessed Tim Tebow’s baseball pedigree. It makes me wonder what his lot would be if he wasn’t an ESPN personality who has gotten a publicity push that far outstrips his athletic accomplishments over the past several years.

We don’t actually have to wonder that, though. We know what normally happens with such folks: they go to Major League Baseball’s open tryout sessions put on by the MLB scouting bureau each summer. This is where the rare undiscovered talent like Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jim Morris — the high school teacher whose story got turned into a Disney movie — is found. The guys who went undrafted out of college or whose life path differed from the usual path of a professional baseball player. Sometimes some future minor leaguers are found in this setting, but it’s pretty rare.

Two years ago Tony Dokoupil of NBC News did a story about these tryouts. It’s a pretty interesting read. If, for no other reason, than it can serve as a contrast to whatever ratings-grabbing spectacle I suspect ESPN will turn Tebow’s MLB tryout into.

Tim Tebow wants to play baseball. Tim Tebow is deluded.

Getty Images

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

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.