John Makely / NBC News

Flashback: here’s how most open tryouts work in professional baseball

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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.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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