Six years after a hot-potato trade from the Broncos to the Jets killed the football version of Tebowmania, Tim Tebow is trying to get to the highest rungs of another sport. He has made it to the New York Mets’ major-league training camp, and G.M. Sandy Alderson believes it’s a matter of time before he ends up on a major-league roster.
But time is the key; Tebow is 30. Alderson thinks that, is Tebow is ever going to develop to the point where he’s ready for the big leagues, he needs to be in a big-league environment.
“This experiment, if you will, is not gonna last forever,” Alderson said, via SNY. “But he’s made meaningful progress. We thought he would best benefit from being in major-league camp, that that would accelerate his development, rather than falling back on protocol. So I’m very comfortable that he’s here. He’s gonna be a great addition over the next six weeks. Somebody asked me whether I think he’ll be a major-league player at some point. I think he will play in the major leagues. That’s my guess, that’s my hope, and to some extent now after a year and a half, a modest expectation.”
The expectation isn’t simply that Tebow will earn his keep through baseball skills, but through what he can do to help the team do justice to its main reason for existence: To persuade people to part with their money and/or their time to attend and/or to watch Mets games.
“I think he’s great for the team,” Alderson said. “I think he’s great for baseball. He was phenomenal for minor-league baseball last year. And the notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he’s not coming through the traditional sources I think is crazy. This is entertainment. And he quietly entertains us.”
At least someone is finally admitting it. If he was any other 30-year-old prospect who rediscovered baseball a decade after being a very-good-but-not-stellar high-school player, the experiment wouldn’t have made it to the first test tube. But he brings a name and a following and a presence, and the teams that employ him have benefited from this financially.
So that’s ultimately the challenge. If the Mets can sharpen Tebow’s skills to the point where he can approach the Mendoza line and/or not have fly balls bounce off his head (then again, that’s hardly a disqualifier), the Mets can sit back and listen to the sweet sound of a cash register ringing, over and over again.
(Speaking of entertainment, you can entertain yourself with a free copy of Madden on PS4 by using code 5ER3-GJN5-FMTR or Xbox One with WT9G2-FXWXK-6VDYP-GX3Y4-RGC2Z. First-come, first-served.)