College World Series sees ball hit to exact same spot in 2 straight games. One fair, one foul

In the early session of Friday’s College World Series action, Oregon State was thoroughly robbed in the bottom of the third, after scoring a run to bring the score to 2-1, advantage LSU. Beavers center fielder Steven Kwan then raked a looper to deep left, and it struck the yellow foul line, which technically makes that a fair ball.

In the evening session between Florida and TCU, then, the Gators trailed, 2-1, in the bottom of the third, but came back to tie the game thanks to a strong Dalton Guthrie offering into extreme left. Like, EXTREME left. So extreme left that this ball strikes the left field fence directly on the yellow exactly one foot above where Kwan had hit his ball earlier in the afternoon.

That ended Roberts’ outing, and hurler Colin Peluse was called in to mop up what was left. Peluse walked the first batter he faced, then Ryan Larson stepped to the plate in his first game back after taking a pitch to the head in the SEC tournament.

That’s Florida’s FIRST WALKOFF WIN OF THE SEASON. The Gators are more known for their pitching staff than their hitting prowess, scoring just enough runs with the help of their arms to be one of the best teams in the SEC. What do you do when the hero of the night tears ass off into center field? You chase him down, dammit.

Most college baseball mobs an internet sensation unto themselves take place somewhere in the infield. Not so for Ryan Larson and Florida, who range about before eventually petering out in dead center. Great job, guys.

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Mr. Met should embrace his new heel turn

Mr. Met gave a fan, or fans, the finger. The human being inside the costume lost his job. The Mets organization scrambled to issue an apology. Like most Mets stories, it is powered by the twin engines of scandal and tragedy.

It doesn’t have to be this way. This is the perfect opportunity to rebrand Mr. Met as a heel the first true heel in sports mascot history. There are mascot antagonistes, of course: The Philly Phanatic is notably puckish; Miami’s Sebastian the Ibis was once arrested. Plenty of mascots have creepy, dead-eyed stares. But no team’s official mascot has ever truly worn a black hat.

New York City, and Mets fans in particular, would love to hate a Mr. Met who hated them back. This is a city where even acts of kindness are wielded with an edge, and millions of people carry the subdued anger of humans deprived of personal space. All day long, New Yorkers battle the subways, and tourists, and rats, and dripping wall-unit air conditioners to earn enough money to pay the exorbitant rent for their insultingly small apartments. Why do I do this to myself? New Yorkers say, not always about supporting the Mets. These are people who long to voice their anger and who need an outlet for their rage.

The answer is simple: Syndergaard just really loves Cholula. He’s from Texas, where he says it’s in every restaurant and always in his family’s kitchen cabinet. He grew up eating it. He still eats it. He eats it on everything.

Strasburg’s only win came in 2014 across from Dan Haren, and Kershaw is barely his better in WAR, ERA, and WHIP in 2017. It would never be fair to paint Strasburg as an underdog, but this could be a chance to prove a point. Hold onto your butts.

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Trading draft picks should be allowed in MLB

MLB’s draft doesn’t get the attention of its NFL or NBA counterparts, and there are a few reasons for that that the league can do nothing about. Drafted players, with rare exceptions, aren’t helping out in a few months or a year or usually even two years like they for the world’s top basketball and football leagues. The fact that the best available talent is taken instead of immediate needs being picked takes something from it, too, as it’s occasionally harder to debate just who a team should zero in on in anyway other than who the outright best talent is.

However, MLB could take a cue from other leagues and allow draft picks to be traded, which would add layers to how a team is able to rebuild, reload, or better contend in the moment in time they’re in. Look at how gripped NBA fans were this past weekend, when the Celtics, who not only appeared in the Eastern Conference finals but also had the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, decided to trade down to acquire an additional pick for the future and they did it for a number of reasons.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of exceptions.

The goal is to look for which teams found the best second basemen over the last two decades, from 1997 through 2016. The system is simple, and it uses the Baseball-Reference quick-‘n’-dirty guide to what WAR totals mean:

I can’t stop laughing at the marketing video, because a) it features some guy who got a tattoo of a goddamn Cholula bottle, and b) the background music is manly man tunes from a truck commercial. No one else in the crowd which is made up of mostly food bloggers and a few other sportswriters seems to find any of this funny.

The movie ends, Syndergaard says a few words about how great Cholula is, gets up, and walks by me. He is a million feet tall. He leaves the intimate space and heads out to the balcony, where he sits down on a rough-hewn wooden bench.

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Tim Tebow Watch Watch: A promotion and ‘some positives’

Welcome back to the Tim Tebow Watch Watch, in which we look for breathless hyperbole and/or questionable baseball analysis when it comes to the minor-league career of Tim Tebow. It’s supposed to be fun and snarky, and it’s supposed to bring clicks to SB Nation.

And while this didn’t start out as a scheduled goof on the Associated Press, they are certainly the most willing subjects of the Tim Tebow Watch Watch. Their weekly check-ins with Tebow’s progress have been framed in bizarre ways.

Tim Tebow: Outfielder isn’t working out for him or the Mets. Maybe there’s a second-life to his second-life, though, and he can make the switch to the mound and the knuckleball.

The Brewers had a chance to gain ground in the NL Central while playing the reeling Cardinals, and they took advantage. Here’s Eric Thames hitting a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning, securing the series sweep for Milwaukee.

The Braves got an MVP-caliber season from Marcus Giles, who finished with 7.8 WAR in 2003, when he was 25 … and then finished with 7.8 WAR over the final four years of his strange career. Other than three seasons from Giles, though, the Braves have had seven kinda-sorta-OK seasons from Dan Uggla, Kelly Johnson, and Quilvio Veras, but nothing more.

The Dodgers, Pirates, and Brewers all had a decent-to-good second baseman every other year, roughly, but none of them has had a breakout season in the last 20 years, with no All-Star seasons to be found. You might expect that from the small-market teams, but the Dodgers are something of a surprise. Logan Forsythe might help them get over the hump soon, but if that doesn’t happen, expect them to pay cash for Jose Altuve or D.J. LeMahieu soon.

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A 5-year-old heart transplant patient received an invite to a Red Sox game and the story will melt your heart

Ari Schultz, a 5-year-old boy, has been in Boston Children’s Hospital for over six months. Ari was diagnosed with critical aortic stenosis and evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome during the second trimester of his mother’s pregnancy. These complications eventually led to the need for a heart transplant.

On March 3, Ari received a heart transplant. And on Wednesday, he received news that he will *finally* get to leave the hospital. His reaction will absolutely melt your heart.

One could argue that the most important work of this draft has already been done, but there are a number of productive players throughout baseball who were drafted after the 10th round.

Mark Reynolds (16th round), Logan Morrison (22nd), and Scott Schebler (26th) are all in the top 10 in home runs this season, while pitcher Robbie Ray (12th round) ranks fourth in the majors in Wins Above Replacement (3.4).

Mike Piazza made the Hall of Fame after getting drafted in 1988 in the 62nd round, a round that no longer even exists. Future Hall of Fame slugger Albert Pujols slipped all the way to the 13th round in 1999.

Oregon State here holds the added advantage of a stellar pitching staff, even without Friday ace Luke Heimlich, who announced Thursday that he would not be traveling with the team to Omaha, so as not to create further distraction for the team on its title attempt. In the lead-up to the Beavers’ Corvallis super regional, The Oregonian discovered that Heimlich was a registered sex offender, having been convicted of molesting a younger family member when he was 15 years old.

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