For all you Tim Tebow lovers out there, or MLB Network, ESPN, Fox or whoever shows highlights, today is your big day.
Tebow is at the bat.
That’s right, today at 1 p.m. EST our Lord and Savior will take his first hacks in MLB Spring Training games for the New York Mets when they take on the Boston Red Sox.
It will undoubtedly be the most-watched Spring Training game on MLB Network this spring, regardless of what Tebow does at the plate, and that’s the problem.
At this point in his life and athletic career, Tebow isn’t so much an athlete as he is a sideshow. A circus act. A reality TV star who takes any chance he can to be in the spotlight and take attention away from others. And because he does it in the name of God or something, people think it’s OK and that he should continue to get those chances.
Let me be up front here. I’m not questioning Tebow on if he is a nice person, he seems to genuinely want to do good, and aside from his love of looking good in front of cameras, he seems like a decent dude.
But, Tim Tebow is not a baseball player. Being a pretty decent high school baseball player 11-12 years ago does not make you a Major League prospect and should never suddenly give you an invite to a big league team’s Spring Training over a guy who is a legitimate prospect, and not a 29-year-old sideshow who was only brought in to sell t-shirts and put a few more butts in the seats on a random Tuesday afternoon.
In the Arizona Fall League, where most teams send top prospects to get them more playing time, and to measure them against other top young players, Tebow hit a robust .194/.296/.242 in 70 plate appearances, with 20 strikeouts, and only three extra base hits, all doubles.
Most annoying is that Tebow in every athletic endeavor has failed at every step, and yet fans and hot take artists only focus on the good. His game-winning touchdown pass in the playoffs, a walk-off single in the Fall League, helping a boy with a seizure. They see that one instance and think, “Boy that can happen all the time because he just believes and tries so hard!”
No it can’t. He’s proven it time and time again, and that other 90 percent, that massive glaring list of failures, always seems to get ignored just because he’s nice.
Deep down, I think Tebow knows he’s not a baseball player and not even close to being an MLB-caliber one, but it’s another chance for him to be in front of the cameras, spreading his brand, which is all Tebow, all the time.
He realized his dreams of being a starting quarterback in the NFL was over, and jumped ship to the next thing that would give him any sort of chance, as well as the publicity that went along with it.
This is a guy who claimed he would do everything he could do be an NFL quarterback, and then after tons of coaching from former NFL quarterbacks he reverted back to his old ways of scrambling the second there was any pressure on him, throwing terrible, questionable passes, and forgetting all of his teaching. He had chances in the Arena League and CFL to continue being a quarterback, but turned them down, probably because the spotlight on those leagues wasn’t big enough, or wouldn’t last long.
He isn’t even that committed to baseball! Sure he puts on a good show and says all the right things in front of the camera, but when he signed with the Mets, for a hearty $200,000 signing bonus, and also inked a 2-year deal with Adidas, he said he would keep his main gig as an analyst for the SEC Network, owned by ESPN of course.
That seems fair. One guy in Single A baseball gets to keep his weekend job that pays him hundreds of thousands of dollars, while the other 24 guys on the team are all barely making enough to survive, hoping they get moved up to higher leagues to make a little more money.
I’m legitimately interested to see what happens to this baseball dream when Spring Training ends and the cameras of big league teams are no longer on him. And instead of talking to ESPN or Fox Sports on the regular, he’s doing interviews for local TV in Beloit, Wisconsin, or any other small town with a team.
There’s only so much shelf-life for someone like Tebow and other reality TV stars. At what point do we get tired of seeing him get trotted out there like a show pony to big roars from the crowd, only to see him fail?
And he is going to fail. In baseball, he’s going to fail all the time. Hitting .194 against prospects? What gives you any reason to think he could be successful against guys who are two to four leagues up from that?
The only difference between Tim and the stars of Jersey Shore is that he seems like a better person outside of the cameras. But both love those cameras, and most people are tuning in not because they thing it’s good or that the people are good, but because they know they’re probably going to see a trainwreck at some point.
Are we really going to be doing this for the next five or six years? Getting excited or having to give attention to him when he tries his next thing? Or maybe he’ll be like Jose Canseco and just suit up for a bunch of low-level minor league teams in whatever sport, sign a few autographs, bring in a big crowd for a night or two, collect a check, then we all go back to forgetting about him.
It is insanely unfair that Tebow keeps getting these chances just because he’s a nice guy. I’m a nice guy, most people seem to like me, but that doesn’t mean I get a chance to be the GM of a hockey team or the face of a news corporation because I’m nice. And yet, Tebow does. In his time as a baseball (and football player) I’ve yet to see one scout who is actually involved in the games (Skip Bayless doesn’t count) who thinks he could be good at either sport.
But all his teammates and coaches love him, because, aw shucks, he seems like a nice guy I’d want my daughter to date.
And so when Tebow takes the field today for his first hacks against big league pitching, I won’t be watching. But I’ll have my finger crossed, hoping he strikes out in every at-bat so real people can get back to playing baseball, not some sideshow attraction who has no reason to be there other than the fact that he’s famous.