On 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.
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