Sure, Tim Tebow has every right to conjure a dream and pursue it — even if he’s pursuing it not in the old-fashioned climb-the-mountain way but in the newfangled I-deserve-to-be-placed-on-the-top-of-the-mountain-now way. As to this specific dream, there’s an unmistakable sense that the outcome may have been carefully arranged before the dream was announced to the world.
Consider the timing and the manner of the unveiling of Tebow’s new venture. His agents at CAA handed the news to a coworker, who agreed to give the situation credibility (perhaps at the expense of a little of his own), with Adam Schefter declaring to his five million Twitter followers as they sat down for their morning coffee (and promptly spat some of it against the screen) that Tebow would take up baseball with the same kind of nonchalance that Schefter would pass along the news of a team signing its punter to a new contract.
Immediately after the initial tweet came an article that conveyed without scrutiny quotes and other nuggets that gave more superficial credibility to the incredible notion that a guy who hasn’t played baseball since 2005 could hold a workout for all Major League Baseball teams and actually attract real interest. Then came a “report” from Darren Rovell of ESPN (another coworker) that the Dodgers had given Tebow a private workout before the season, that “a scout” was present for the workout (who the hell else would have been there?), and that the Dodgers thereafter showed interest.
In the aftermath of the initial flurry of “news” came the perfunctory, meaningless, publicity-seeking offers from minor league teams, one of which was passed along by Schefter on Twitter without mention of the obvious reality that this is the kind of crap minor-league teams always pull. After that, plenty of videos on ESPN.com have emerged regarding Tebow’s new endeavor, including one showing him repeatedly hitting a ball with a bat (but none actually showing where the ball goes).
What ultimately bothers me about this isn’t that Tebow has decided on the brink of 29 to take up a sport that requires years of focus and diligence and effort to master (even for those who truly possess real skill), but that it all feels contrived. Whatever the end game — and it won’t be a surprise if a Major League team not in contention decides when the rosters expand to 40 to give Tebow a job in order to sell tickets and jerseys in September — it feels as if those behind the project already knew how it will unfold before they pulled the pin on the process of unfolding it.
Regardless of how it plays out, the life story of Tim Tebow now has another wrinkle that will add 10 minutes or so to the final cut of the seemingly inevitable movie from Disney, the company that owns ESPN.