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Gary Sheffield was impressed with Tim Tebow’s bat speed

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Former outfielder and current agent Gary Sheffield spoke with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette on Sirius XM’s MLB Network radio about Tim Tebow’s desire to play baseball today. Sheffield says that he has worked with Tebow and that, while initially skeptical, he immediately came around to the idea that Tebow could make it because of the speed, power and compactness of his swing. Sheffield was also impressed by “that sound,” referring to the crack of the bat on Tebow’s swings.

I don’t know if “crack of the bat” is a legit scouting observation or not. People have always talked about it, and I’m sure that there is a correlation between bat speed, squaring up the ball and strength that leads to that satisfying sound. I suspect it’s one of those deals, though, where all good hitters make the bat crack nicely, but not all hitters who make the bat crack nicely are good hitters, if that makes any sense. One of my Twitter friends, a Twins fan, reminded me that people talked big about the sound of the crack of Delmon Young‘s bat back in the day. And sure, if Tim Tebow could be Delmon Young that would be WAY better than anyone expects, but let’s not pretend bat crack is determinative of anything.

I’ll give Sheffield an extraordinarily wide berth on bat speed. If anyone on the planet knows bat speed it’s Gary Sheffield. That dude whipped the lumber like nobody’s business. Still worth noting: Sheffield was hired to work with Tebow. I don’t know what sort of relationship they had — he may have just coached him a bit on one afternoon, he may have worked with him a lot — but Sheffield does seem to have an interest in the Tim Tebow story working out, so take it for what it’s worth. For my part: I’m not gonna die on a hill of second-guessing Gary Sheffield’s insights on hitting, but I’m highly skeptical.

I’m more skeptical on the comments he and host Jim Duquette make about Tebow’s dedication and hard work. I don’t doubt that Tebow always worked hard at what he set out to do, no matter the results, but there is a clear thread in his career where, if someone asked him to do something he didn’t want to do — like play in the CFL or learn another position — he wasn’t too hot on it. People can change, of course, but as so many have observed, baseball is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. If Tim Tebow has major league dreams and someone says that he should cool his heels at extended spring training go ride the pine for the Missoula Osprey for three months to just soak in some baseball for a while, how will he react?

I guess we’ll see. In the meantime, here’s Sheffield talking Tebow:

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”