Okay, so when news of Tim Tebow signed to the Mets, my reaction was vaguely similar to all of people here. Pretty much:
And then I had a minute where I thought, “Alright, let us not get too hasty to snap judgments, let us see what is about to unfold.” I thought to myself, “Well honestly, Tim Tebow is not a bad guy, I would have picked him over Mark Sanchez as my backup QB, and while he may cry a little bit too much for me, let’s just watch.” After all, baseball attracts all kinds of people who you wouldn’t immediately peg to play the sport, maybe it’ll be fine, right?
Well if Spring Training is any indication, the snap judgments of the twitter GMs were in fact correct. Here are my two biggest gripes about Tim Tebow being a professional baseball player (you’ll note that this has NOTHING to do with Tebow as a person or his work ethic as an athlete):
- Broadcasting has already taken precedent — Prior to Instructional League, Tim Tebow and the Mets both mutually made the public aware that Tebow would be missing time in order to fulfill his duty as an ESPN and SEC broadcaster. I get that contracts are binding, and I get that he had already made a commitment that he would like stick to. Loyalty and commitment are great traits for both people, dogs, etc. Commitment is especially great if you’re trying to be a professional athlete. So if you already can’t commit completely to the sport you want to go pro in, why start the journey now? He could have waited till said contracts ended and then worked towards fulfilling his pro baseball dream, or something. And who knows, maybe that is on the Mets, who were the only team to agree for Tebow to split time between his TV role and baseball.
- He’s not even sure of the rules — Possibly the funniest thing to come out of Spring Training was reigning Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello, admitting that he thought Tebow was the bat boy. And no, it’s not because he has the slender build of your standard bat boy, but because he went ahead and warmed up in the wrong on deck circle. He was quoted as saying “I thought you walked around because you’re a left-hander,” and then told the New York Post, “… there’s a lot of things I’m trying to play catch-up on.” Yes, I’d say that the rules of the sport you’re looking to be a professional in is a solid place to start “catching up.” (Like, is this real life?)
Now before you read this thinking, “Well you’re just being a Tim Tebow hater, he’s a great person… etc.” You’re wrong. I, one-hundred percent, agree that he seems like a terrific person. As previously mentioned, in football, I would have definitely picked him over Mark Sanchez as my back up QB. I’d argue that you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would argue against the idea that his is a “model athlete off the field.” The flaw in anyone’s “shut up he’s a great person, you’re just a hater” argument is that sports do not (and literally cannot) care how good of a person you are off the field. The best athletes play. Yes, your coach, like Geno Aureiemma, can choose not to play you if he feels that you are undeserving. Endorsement deals fall through all the time because people do “bad things” off the field. Sports, however; don’t discriminate between “bad” and “good” people off the field. The ball doesn’t fall differently, the hits don’t come easier, and the bases aren’t closer.
And then there are those who say, “Well he hit a home run! That count’s for something.” To that I would argue, well Bartolo Colon also hit a home run, but that doesn’t make him a good hitter. Tebow’s HR came off of an 11th round draft pick who opted to throw a 91mph fast ball. That was also only his third day seeing live pitching. But fast forward to Spring Training, Tebow is currently hitting .167 with 8 strikeouts in 24 at-bats. Most recently, he faced off against ace, Max Scherzer. Yes, ALL batters have problems hitting against Scherzer, so him striking out is definitely not a surprise to anyone. But what is alarming is the lack of bat speed that he possesses.
Tim Tebow hits against Max Scherzer.
It’s fun and eventful, and for Tim, it doesn’t go well. pic.twitter.com/4oZabpjOYS
— Jay White (@JayWhiteSports) March 27, 2017
Look where the ball is as Tebow’s bat crosses the plate. Spoiler alert: he’s really (REALLY) late.
The Mets have already announced that Tebow’s professional career will begin in Class A, Columbia, where I’m sure he will be the coolest almost 30 year old in a sea of 22 year olds. Will he be the best baseball player? Eh, jury is still out on that.
I waited all Spring Training, after I waited all Arizona Instructional League, and I’ve been reminded that you go with your gut, because your gut is generally correct. It has only been a few months after a 12 year long break from baseball, so I’m STILL trying to remain open minded about Tebow, I swear. I don’t think he’s joking when he says he wants to do this, and I do not think this is a publicity stunt. To be honest, I’m not even sure what to call this really, it’s just all interesting.
While I would never say that I am rooting for ANY player’s failures, I would say that “needing to play catch-up” for Tebow is a huge understatement. I’d also be lying if I said I had high hopes and expectations. And while I would definitely agree that any good attention brought to the league by Tim Tebow’s name is a positive thing, I would say that there are many other prospects that the media and the league should be focusing on instead as I see this as a “blip” in the grand scheme of things.
One of my favorite baseball related articles I’ve read is the Oral History of Michael Jordan‘s baseball career. At one point it mentions that Sports Illustrated said that MJ and the White Sox “embarrassed” baseball, which I would say is harsh. Most people think fondly of MJ’s brief stint as a baseball player. But I’d also say that all signs are pointing to a similar fate for Tebow’s baseball career. No, I’m not rooting against him (well technically I am because he’s a Mets player), but it will surely take a miracle for him to come anywhere close to the MLB with what he has shown thus far.