Tim Tebow is not good at baseball. To go a step further, Tebow should not be even on a Single-A roster. While his fanbase is huge, Sandy Alderson’s publicity stunt for his Low-A team should reach it’s conclusion immediately. While he does fill the stands with the self-proclaimed Tebow Nation, he is a novelty act. And an act that’s novelty has worn thin on baseball purists around the nation.
To be a celebrity playing in minor league baseball has to be unnerving. Especially when that celebrity is a Heisman Trophy winning college football player. Who already became a bust at his chosen sport. The decision to play baseball is not “following a dream” for Mr. Tebow. If it were, he would have tried to play baseball for the University of Florida baseball team. It is important that prior to his “open tryout” in 2016, he had not played baseball since 2005, when he was a Junior in High School. Had he signed with an independent team who had offered, this would feel less of a novelty act.
Instead, he won the Heisman and played professional football for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. By lacking a NFL style release he did not last long in the league. He wound up out of football by 2012. He is the only quarterback to ever win a playoff game under the age of 30 and never start another game in the league. A lucrative contract with ESPN followed, where he broke down defenses for the collegiate pregame show on the SEC Network.
A Novelty Act
Following his try-out, the New York Mets signed him to a $100,000 signing bonus minor league contract. He suffered in the Arizona Fall League, hitting six points below the Mendoza line, striking out 20 times in a mere 62 at-bats. The organization saw fit to promote him to Class A Columbia Fireflies of the South Atlantic League for the 2017 season. Thus far into the season, Tebow is batting .224 with 66 strikeouts in 201 at-bats. By comparison, Colton Welker leads the South Atlantic League in batting average, with a .365. Tebow’s three home runs this season stands 10 behind the league leader, Daniel Johnson. Tebow is not in the top 10 of any offensive category this season.
He could be a leader in the clubhouse, but he is more likely to be a distraction. At 29, he is older than everyone on his team. The closest in age is 26 year old pitcher Cameron Griffin who has bounced around Rookie, A-, A, and A+ ball since being drafted in 2013. The rest of the squad are barely able to legally buy beer, being aged 17-23. To see a member of their team get the huge fan base he has, combined with other teams trolling him, has to cause some resentment in the other young men in the clubhouse.
It has been opined that Tebow should get a call-up to the Queen roster towards the end of the season. Such a call-up would be a mockery to baseball; a mockery for which Alderson should be fired. The Mets’ system contains over a hundred guys who have paid their dues playing in the minors – be it in Kingsport, Brooklyn, St. Lucie, Binghampton, and Vegas. To call up a player who is barely above the Mendoza line in Single A is ludicrous.
Citi Field Input
All this aside, the troubling issue is that Alderson expects baseball fans to take this as a serious roster decision. The only serious things about Tebow in the Mets’ organization are the facts that it is a money grab and that he is taking up a roster spot. The second part of that is serious in the fact that some kid playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Kingsport Mets could be working on fulfilling his legitimate lifelong dream. Instead, Alderson has chosen to present a circus act to take that spot. Tebow is not going to be a major league player. His numbers are too low, his mechanics are too bad, and by the time the late season call-ups happen, he’ll be earning millions again on the SEC Network.
The decision to have Tebow in a jersey rests with Alderson. It is not a decision that is good for baseball. Tebow needs to realize that his future is not in the game of baseball, and hang the spikes up. Preferably sooner rather than later to let a kid who has truly dreamed of baseball and has paid his dues to have the roster spot. This stale novelty act needs to join such bad memories as 10 cent beer night and disco demolition night of publicity acts in baseball.