Even if Tim Tebow never legitimately develops and demonstrates the skills necessary to become a major-league baseball player, there’s plenty of money to be made along the way — both for him and whoever puts him on the field.
Assigned by the Mets to the single-A Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies, Tebow brings with him the kind of star power that sells tickets.
“You don’t often have a chance to market a player in the minor leagues,” Fireflies president John Katz told USA Today. “The player is with you a short period of time, and then they’re moving up, moving up. At this level, by the time you figure out who’s a superstar, they’re at the next level. We have a unique opportunity with Tim.”
Because Tebow is a work in progress, Katz will be with the Fireflies longer than players who would be likely to draw a crowd based on their exploits.
The Fireflies averaged 3,785 fans per game in 2016, the franchise’s first season. That number likely will spike for as long as Tebow is on the team, which means more money for the Fireflies, from tickets to food to jerseys to everything else that can be sold. Tebow likewise can (continue to) cash in by signing bats and balls and anything else.
That’s fine. Sports is entertainment. If people want to spend money to see a likeable, well-muscled celebrity play baseball nearly well enough to pass the eyeball test, that’s their business. Even if others roll their eyes at the prospect.
And even if the Mighty Casey striking out is no longer the unexpected climax to a lengthy poem but the rule.