Why is Tim Tebow here, anyway?

TebowOn the radio last week, Howie Rose and Josh Lewin were whiling away a languid spring training game, talking about the imminent arrival of ex-quarterback Tim Tebow in major league camp. They were musing on peoples’ reaction to him even being in Mets mufti – a lot of anger and cynicism coming from a lot of folks who feel Tebow is getting an undeserved shot, a feeling he’s there for his name only. Given the public perception of Mets’ ownership, that’s definitely a valid viewpoint. Anyway, Josh and Howie compared his appearance in camp to that of Garth Brooks’s, some 20 years ago, but that was a charity stunt. They went on to say that Tebow could be providing something off the field, that at the advanced age of 29, he could be a guide to younger players in the lower reaches of the Mets’ minor league web. He can be an example of how to comport yourself as a celebrity-athlete. It is true that the guy’s a winner – a Heisman Trophy, a playoff victory for the Denver Broncos over a very strong Pittsburgh Steelers team a few years ago — and he seemingly is always looking to “do the right thing” when not in uniform. So, were the Mets’ radio men implying that Tebow could take the place of David Wright as the Mets’ shining example of how to act? The problem with that idea is this little fact: Tebow can’t really play.

Tim Tebow seems like a nice guy, the kind of fella you’d want your sister to marry. That’s all well and good, but for his chosen professions, he lacks some basic, requisite skills. He washed out as a pro quarterback because he lacked arm strength. As a prospective MLB outfielder, that’s a kind of serious drawback as well. And for someone who self-admittedly hasn’t played any organized baseball since high school, a batting eye isn’t something that develops this late in life. Oh, sure, he’ll run into the occasional BP fastball and launch it impressively over a distant fence, but the chances of that happening once the cages are rolled away are pretty slim. He only made his spring debut for the people back home yesterday – a televised Mets 8-7 win over the Red Sox – DHing, batting eighth, striking out twice. We’re not sure how he looks in the outfield, but I’d wager it’s a lot less graceful than taking the snap as the up-back on a fake punt. He has little hope of advancing past low A-ball. And yet, for all his shortcomings, good things seem to happen around this guy. That OT win over Pittsburgh was carved out of sheer guts and a smashing offensive line. I was at a game when he was playing for the New York Jets and beat Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on that very same fake punt mentioned above. Even yesterday. Yes, he went 0-for-3 with 2 Ks, but in that other at-bat, he hit into a double play as the tying run scored. My thought when it happened was “That’s so Tebow.”

And hey, if it helps the Wilpons sell a few extra jerseys or t-shirts? Why not? That debt service isn’t gonna pay itself, you know.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

21 comments for “Why is Tim Tebow here, anyway?

  1. March 9, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I’m not a Tebow fan and there’s a 0.00001 chance he makes the majors.

    But I don’t get why anyone is upset. He didn’t play in an MLB game until 11 guys left for the WBC and the Mets had a split-squad game. Champ Stuart’s been in camp from the start, has 16 ABs and struck out nine times. If anyone’s taking away ABs from a guy who could help one day in the majors, it’s that guy. But no one’s complaining about him.

    I don’t have to like Tebow to appreciate that he makes people happy. And he’s going to play this year in either Columbia or St. Lucie — two areas of the country where he most likely has a huge fan base.

    Would fans in Florida rather see Tebow at 29 or Patrick Biondi at 25, who they saw last year? Would fans in South Carolina rather see Tebow or Joe Tuschak at 23, who they saw last year? All three guys will eventually play the same number of games in the majors.

    It’s a feel-good story for the fans of the A-ball affiliates. As a Mets fan, I’d much rather hear that instead of the Wilpons did something to piss off ownership of their Triple-A affiliate.

    • Jimmy P
      March 9, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I’m sure that affiliate owners would love to have Tebow on the roster for a time.

    • Name
      March 9, 2017 at 11:54 am

      I’m in your camp of why do fans even care. It’s spring training and there are hundreds of warm bodies in the minors league system so what’s the problem with Tebow being one of those warm bodies?

  2. Matt Netter
    March 9, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Charlie, I’m a big fan of your writing, but with all due respect as a fellow Mets fan and blogger, I am so anti-Tebow that I refuse to even read this. This is a bizarre sideshow that reeks of a publicity stunt and I’m just trying to ignore it.

  3. March 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

    It’s absolutely a publicity stunt but as Brian said, alost a dozen established names are away at the WBC. If Tebow can pull a rabbit out of his hat and become a real prospect at his advanced age, good for him. Otherwise I expect the front office to demote him soon.

  4. Chris F
    March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I would never want that flea-ridden dog to marry my sister. The faster he is out of the organization the better.

    How many non-prospect, “nobody” players get press conferences? and direct assessments of potential from the big league skipper? none. well, except for the hack that got signed because he was “famous” for something else. Well done going to the other team’s on deck circle…you’re a real baseball talent.

    I can think of a half dozen folks who comment here at M360 that I’d rather see in Mets camp.

  5. IB
    March 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Go back to the rubber chicken circuit, Tim! Your failure to be a big leaguer will be an inspiration!

    I’ll be glad when he’s out of the NY sports scene conversation.

  6. Mike Walczak
    March 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Tebow is a waste of time and a distraction. He needs to get cut and sent back to Florida where maybe he can go to grad school and play baseball.

  7. Jimmy P
    March 9, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    He’s there to remind these young, idealistic players who are striving for a role in Major League Baseball: “Stay woke. It’s a business.”

    In fact:

    “It’s an entertainment business.”

    It’s an ugly, discouraging message, but it is also true fact. He’s here because it is not, and never was, just baseball.

    He’ll be gone soon and it will all be as a whisper across water. Forgotten, unheard.

    • March 10, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Why is it ugly and discouraging?

      On the day that Tebow played – these outfielders also played:
      Champ Stuart
      Patrick Biondi
      John Mora
      Travis Taijeron
      Gene Cone
      Wuilmer Becerra
      Kevin Kaczmarski
      Arnaldo Berrios

      I’ve never heard of Arnaldo Berrios before. He played for Brooklyn last year and in 139 PA he batted .185 with a .487 OPS. If Tebow’s not keeping Berrios from getting a shot, who is he depriving?

      As for his full-season assignment, he’ll be taking playing time away from someone lower on the food chain than Arnaldo Berrios.

      Yawn.

      • Jimmy P
        March 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm

        I know that’s your POV.

        To me, a system should reward effort, focus, attitude, dedication. Those are the guys who should get reps, get opportunities to improve their game, to face quality MLers.

        Tebow is a joke as a player, and they all see it, know he’s not a baseball guy. It’s marketing and hype, not baseball.

        I’m not angry about it, but it sends a bad message to the players. But, whatever.

        • March 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

          Wait, are you questioning Tebow’s effort/focus/attitude/dedication? I mean there are a ton of things to razz Tebow about but those are qualities he possesses in spades.

          • Chris F
            March 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm

            I agree he is athletic and works hard to be in good shape, but Im 100% with Jimmy on the baseball part of that. I dont think he is a scholar of the game with attitude and dedication to learn how baseball is played. I think he believes in his athleticism as a the key to unlock opportunity. But he is a joke of a player – not a baseball guy in any way. And if he takes any time away from any player who has dedicated themselves to the game, I see it as a loss, no matter who that person is. Sadly this has become a thing about Tebow, when really it is about the terrible decision made by the team to bring this guy into the organization. I cant fault him for wanting to play. That said for all the crap Ces got for his cars and horse last year, Im surprised the Mets need all the oxygen being sucked out of the room when amazing players like Rosario and Smith are left in the dark from media.

            from Anthony DiComo a few minutes ago:
            Astros Minor Leaguer Brian Holmes falls behind Tim Tebow 3-0 in the eighth, but comes back to strike him out swinging. He’s 0-for-4.

            • Name
              March 10, 2017 at 4:20 pm

              “But he is a joke of a player – not a baseball guy in any way.”

              Clearly the problem is that your expectations are way too high for him. Like Brian said, no one would ever call a 39th round pick Arnaldo Berrios a joke of a player, but somehow Tebow deserves that tag? Once you accept the level of player he is (probably rookie level, maybe A+/AA at best), maybe you’ll come to terms with him being here.

              The only way it’s a joke is if they progressing him up the levels when he clearly hasn’t proven he can handle it and has no business being there.But we’re talking about Spring Training for gods sake and there’s nothing wrong for a single A player to play during Spring Training, especially during a WBC year.

              • Jimmy P
                March 10, 2017 at 4:50 pm

                He went to the wrong batting circle.

                But, it’s fine. We disagree.

                My main point is that the organization is sending the wrong message to its players, everybody in the locker room. But it’s not the end of the world.

                I suspect that you are overstating your own point of view just to be argumentative. I don’t recall you lobbying for many Rookie Level 29-year-olds.

                Again, I don’t care much, I have zero anger over the non-issue, but let’s not pretend that this is about baseball or that he’s about making a serious, fully committed baseball effort. He kept his day job at ESPN.

                You’ve been conned.

                • Chris F
                  March 10, 2017 at 5:38 pm

                  +1

                  Why do we get nonstop live tweeting by the beat reporters for the Mets and press conferences?

                  low level nobodies dont. Yet we need to fill the air with his important info. Heres a bit of a newsflash. Hes a 29 yo baseball nobody, who has nothing to say about anything relevant to this team.

                • Name
                  March 10, 2017 at 6:24 pm

                  I’m not lobbying for him. I’m lobbying against the fact that you care. It’s spring training. Nothing counts or matters. I can see how you think it’s unfair because some minor leaguers know that Spring Training might be the biggest platform they ever play on and he is taking someone’s chance.

                  Ironically, people like you only make Tebow more relevant. The media reports on things that people have an interest, both positive and negative. If people stopped caring about him, the media would eventually get it and stop reporting him and he would fade in obscurity. But because he generates reactions and views, they continue to write about him and thus he’s able to stay in the public eye and gets chances he wouldn’t otherwise.

                • March 10, 2017 at 6:58 pm

                  He kept a gig for which he was contractually obligated during the Arizona Fall League, where no one plays every day. If he does something like this during the regular season, it’s another matter entirely.

                  It’s a vanity project that he’s able to do because he is Tim Tebow. But while he’s doing it, my assumption is that he’ll give it everything he has. The issue, of course, is that there’s not a lot he has to give, baseball-wise.

  8. Jimmy P
    March 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Today, kids, we’d like to teach you that life is not fair.

    “And now batting 8th for the New York Mets…”

    • Chris F
      March 10, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      noooooooooooooooo! Its like a nightmare.

    • TexasGusCC
      March 11, 2017 at 1:23 am

      James, I learned that in the first grade. I became a Mets fan at the end of the third grade. Hence, I already knew the real deal when I started arguing that Doug Flynn was better than Willie Randolph.

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