Tim Tebow has decided to try his athletic hand at baseball.
Last month, Tebow announced to national media that he was holding a workout due to the fact that he now wanted to try to play professional baseball. Twenty-nine teams showed up to the workout, which is an astounding number for any top prospect, but when you’re Tim Tebow, you automatically get a pass.
How do you read into something like this?
Well, from the perspective of a baseball player with aspirations to go pro, this is definitely something that makes your stomach turn.
I understand the incredible athlete and football player that Tebow was and acknowledge the fact that he is still young. I personally have always been a fan of his, not only based on his play on the field, but also for the morals he portrays off the field. However, I am not a fan of this situation at all.
Think about all of the people who have been on the daily baseball grind — Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. They play over 100 games every year, working out, running, and taking hundreds of swings per day, all in order to get just one chance to play in front of any scout that will come, let alone 29 scouts.
These players have been doing this since they were 14 years old. Years of work in order to get noticed by at least one person, the right person. So when you look at this from the perspective of a player, the fact that Tebow gets the chance of a lifetime based on what he’s done in another sport and what he did 10 years ago in high school, it’s a huge problem. It’s a big slap in the face to the thousands of guys and girls getting after it everyday trying to chase their dreams on the baseball or softball field in order to get that one look.
Now, trying to look at this objectively, the fact that he was able to get signed by the New York Mets still doesn’t make too much sense. Now, I am all for anyone trying to follow and chase their dreams if they have a passion for it. Tim Tebow’s passion is nothing that I would ever question. Despite this, hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in all sports. Taking 10 years off and then deciding that you can do that again at a professional level is preposterous.
ESPN Senior Baseball Writer Keith Law expressed similar sentiments:
Via Keith Law/ESPN: “His swing is long, and he wields the bat like someone who hasn’t played the sport in more than a decade, which he hasn’t. He can’t catch up to 90 mph, which is well below the major league average for a fastball, and was cutting through fastballs in the zone on Wednesday night. He rolled over twice on fastballs, which is something you generally see professional hitters do only on off-speed stuff, and he showed below-average running speed.”
Law would also rip the Mets, questioning their motives for even signing him in the first place:
“The Mets’ decision to sign Tebow for $100,000 as, essentially, an undrafted 29-year-old free agent, where any other player would be lucky to get $1,000 and a plane ticket, was a craven, mercenary move befitting an independent-league team desperate for the added revenue from ticket sales, not something a major league team with postseason aspirations should be doing.”
This decision by Tebow and the Mets had direct principal parallels to Michael Jordan’s decision to retire from basketball and pursue a career in professional baseball for the Chicago White Sox.
Although different circumstances and completely different caliber of players, the principle is the same.
No matter what type of athlete you are, whether your MJ or Tebow, playing baseball is one of the hardest sports to play. This is especially true if you want to be a hitter and you haven’t played the game since High School in Tebow’s case and Middle School in Jordan’s case.
The only athletes to be able to transition to baseball successfully from another sport were Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson. The difference? They both played baseball at an elite Division One college and were both drafted by Major League teams. They had the talent to play the game and deserved the opportunity to play it because they competed at high levels in college, not in high school or middle school.
Tebow and Jordan received what I’m calling a “free pass” because they were elite and popular athletes in their respective sport and because sports is such a business, they received pro contracts in order to boost revenue sales. What this does is take away possible opportunities to sign someone who has dedicated their lives to baseball, playing at the highest levels, who deserves that shot much more than they do or did.
My question to teams like the Mets would be when do we start rewarding true talent and hard work over a business opportunity?
Do you agree with the Mets signing Tim Tebow to a professional contract? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3