Sandy Alderson made one of his best free agent signings in his six-season tenure as Mets general manager when he inked Tim Tebow to a minor league deal. Now before anyone thinks that I have gone totally bonkers, my statement has nothing to do with Tim Tebow per se.
Tebow’s agent is Brodie Van Wagenen who happens to be the agent of Mets slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. As practically every Mets fan knows, Yoenis can opt out of his contract at the end of this season. Even with his quadriceps injury that made him miss a number of games this year and which still needs to monitored, it’s safe to say that if he exercises his option, he will draw a lot of interest from other teams.
Yoenis Cespedes has stated that he likes the Mets organization and working in New York City. Brodie Van Wagenen frequently attends games and seems to prefer a more cordial approach when it comes to relationships with baseball team owners as opposed to the most famous player agent of them all, Scott Boras, who openly thrives on a more adversarial style. All of that bodes well for Mets fans.
Van Wagenen won’t breach his fiduciary duty to his client. If another team should make an offer for Cespedes that is far more lucrative than what the Mets are willing to spend he would most certainly recommend that Cespedes accept it. However if all of the offers are in the same economic neighborhood then the Mets should be in the driver’s seat.
There is very little downside to the Mets giving Tim Tebow a chance to see if he can play baseball. He will be 30 next year and playing professional baseball must have been on his bucket list. Sure, he’ll create a press circus in Port St. Lucie next February when spring training commences but Mets vice president of media relations, Jay Horwitz, and his hardworking staff are used to these things. If nothing else it will give minor leaguers a taste of what life in the majors is like if they make it to Flushing.
Yes, Tim Tebow , who is incredibly popular in the Sunshine State, will help sell tickets in Port St. Lucie this spring. Since the World Baseball Classic will be taking place this March, many well-known baseball players will be busy with their national teams and thus there will be less star power wattage at Major League Baseball spring training camps. Tim Tebow will help fill the void.
Former Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur was a major high school football star in Georgia and so he has a unique perspective on Tebow. “He hasn’t played baseball since high school and this is a tough game to pick up later in life,” he told me two weeks ago.
The Mets, who are in a dogfight for one of the two National League wildcard playoff sports, begin their final regular season homestand this Friday night. They will take on the Twins for three games, the Braves for a trio, and finish up with four against the Phillies.
New York football fans might want to rework the title of that old Dinah Washington and Esther Phillips’ tune, “What A Difference A Day Makes” to “What A Difference A Point Makes” after the Giants beat the Cowboys by one and the Jets lost to the Bengals by a single digit last Sunday. We’ll see soon enough if that’s a harbinger of how things will go this season will go for both teams.
Bloomingdale’s wisely chose Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. to be the face of its men’s clothing line as the retailer took advantage of the fact that New York Fashion Week coincided with the start of the NFL season.
Noted satirist Bill Maher, whose HBO show “Real Time” begins another season this Friday at 10 PM, occasionally does a bit called “I can’t prove it but I know it’s true.” I thought of Maher’s catchphrase when I read how Hollis native and ESPN air personality Stephen A. Smith criticized John Tortorella for his statement that he would bench a player who followed the lead of San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and refused to stand for the national anthem. Torts is the head coach of Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey.
Hockey is not a sport that Smith normally broaches but ESPN is televising the World Cup of Hockey for the next two weeks. Under the best of conditions there wouldn’t be much attention paid to this event. After all, Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on NBC got worse ratings than the Tony Awards which went against it on CBS. It’s also safe to say that nearly everyone got their fill of international sports competition less than a month ago with the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
So my guess is that ESPN executives encouraged Stephen A. to try to generate some buzz by going after the former New York Rangers head coach in order to draw very much needed attention for the World Cup of Hockey. ESPN honchos were also aware that Smith’s former verbal sparring partner, Skip Bayless, had started his new debate show with Shannon Sharpe assuming the Stephen A. Smith role on Fox Sports 1. Needless to say this would be a perfect time to remind everyone that Smith is still co-hosting “First Take.” Max Kellerman has replaced Bayless on that show.
Frankly, I am surprised that ESPN would even bother with obtaining the television rights to the World Cup of Hockey since all it is doing is helping promote the jewel property of a competitor, the NBC Sports Network, which has the broadcast rights to the National Hockey League. The NHL season gets underway next month.
A final thought here on the Worldwide Leader in Sports. You know that there must have been a lot of long faces in Bristol, CT when Karolina Pliskova upset Serena Williams in the US Open women’s semi-finals on Thursday. A Saturday showdown for the trophy between Serena and Angelique Kerber would have generated great ratings for ESPN. At least they were able to have household name Novak Djokovic compete in the men’s final on Sunday even though he lost to Stan Wawrinka in what has to be classified as a mild upset.
The aforementioned NBC Sports Network, while still lagging behind ESPN, has had a very good year thanks to the Olympics, the English Premier League, NASCAR, and the aforementioned National Hockey League.
If you are suffering from tennis withdrawal pains now that the US Open has ended you might be interested to know that the PowerShares Tour, which is professional tennis’ s senior tour, will come to the Barclays Center on January 7, 2017. Andy Roddick, James Blake, Jim Courier, and Douglaston native John McEnroe will be competing. John McEnroe and Andy Roddick will be joining Mardy Fish, Mark Philippoussis, Martina Navratilova, and Lindsay Davenport at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on October 10 for an exhibition to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
One of the highlights of the 2016 US Open was watching Phil Collins come out and dust off a couple of his hits at the annual opening ceremonies at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The acoustics were great so it’s only natural to wonder if it will become a concert venue in the near future when the Open is not taking place.
Steaming services as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon continue to invade the turf of traditional television. Amazon has just launched a children’s animated series called “The Stinky & Dirty Show” which features the voices of such well-known actors as Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Lynch, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn and Andy Richter. The title characters are a sanitation truck and a road construction vehicle who are buddies and teach lessons about perseverance no matter how daunting the odds may seem.