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Decent chance Tim Tebow plays in bigs next year

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New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said yesterday that the world’s most famous minor leaguer, Tim Tebow, has been hitting multiple times per week. That clearly suggests that Tebow, who broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, is coming back next season.

It’s also worth noting that Van Wagenen noted that Tebow is on “a real mission to play in the big leagues next year,” and that when asked if that meant he’d play in the big leagues in 2019, Van Wagenen did not rule it out. Tebow will likely begin the 2019 season at Triple-A Syracuse, but I would not be at all surprised if he were given a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.

How that makes you feel is up to you, but I’ve come around on Tebow a good deal. Yes, I still think much of what has him playing baseball these past couple of years is a stunt and no I do not think that he truly belongs in the bigs on merit, but (a) he has played at at least a respectable level for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience; and (b) even if you believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, that does not preclude you from giving Tebow a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Now, it seems, that includes doing the hard work of coming back from an injury that has ended a lot of players’ baseball careers. If calling him up to the bigs for a fun experience does not harm anyone else, who are we to say it shouldn’t be done?

Hall of Fame should do away with cap logos on plaques

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As mentioned earlier, Brandy Halladay, wife of the late pitcher Roy Halladay, says he will not wear a cap with the logo of either of the two teams he played for during his 16-year career. Instead, he will wear a generic baseball cap. Brandy said, “He was a Major League Baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered.”

In the time since this news was reported, Blue Jays and Phillies fans have been arguing with each other and the takes are flying. Take, for example, this article by Bob Ford on Philly.com. It’s titled, “Roy Halladay would have wanted his Hall of Fame plaque to have a Phillies hat.” In August 2016, Halladay was asked which team’s cap he would prefer to wear if he got into Cooperstown. Halladay said, “I’d go as a Blue Jay.” He continued, “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”

Brandy hasn’t said why her family has decided to have her late husband wear neither team’s logo on the cap in his plaque, but the territoriality displayed by each city’s fans might be part of the reasoning. Ultimately, I believe she made the right call and it shows why the Hall of Fame should do away with logos on plaques entirely.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame was established in 1936, a time when players spent an overwhelming majority of their careers — if not their entire careers — with one team. Take, for example, the class of five inducted in the Hall’s inaugural year: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Cobb played for the Tigers for 22 of his 24 seasons. Wagner spent 18 of his 21 seasons with the Pirates. Mathewson pitched for the Giants in 16 and a half of his 17 seasons. Johnson spent all 21 years with the Senators. Ruth was famously sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees and he still spent 15 of his 22 seasons in New York. There were rarely debates about which cap a Hall of Famer should wear in his plaque.

It is increasingly rare for a player nowadays to stick with one team for most or all of his career due to the advent of free agency and the frequency of trades. Hall of Fame candidate Curt Schilling, for example, pitched for five teams and the team he spent the most time with — the Phillies — is arguably No. 3 on the list of cap priorities behind the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Fellow Hall candidate Manny Ramírez spent equal time with the Indians and Red Sox and also had three really good seasons with the Dodgers. Whenever a player who spent significant time with multiple teams is inducted into the Hall of Fame, the “which cap will he wear?” conversation comes up and inevitably pits fans of one team against the others. That’s not what the Hall of Fame should be about; it should be about celebrating the storied careers and the types of men these players are or were, no matter which team or how many teams he pitched for.

When you get to the core of it, the logo on the cap is just an advertisement, anyway. The Phillies and Blue Jays are businesses. Our human nature as fans — our territoriality, our loyalty, our sense of belonging — causes us to want to claim the superiority of one business and its associated laundry over another. Most of the time, this doesn’t seem out of place, but Halladay is a unique case as he made significant contributions to two franchises and was voted in posthumously, so he can’t speak for himself (he did in 2016, as mentioned). Brandy shouldn’t have to worry about upsetting one fan base or another picking a logo for her late husband, and she shouldn’t have to be second-guessed by fans who feel spurned. The Hall of Fame should follow Brandy’s lead and, going forward, induct all of its players without cap logos on their plaques.