Let’s pray for Tim Tebow’s baseball career

By Anthony Ferranti

 (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

On Feb. 7, 1994, Michael Jordan shocked the world of sports by coming out of his retirement to play professional baseball. He signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox minor league program and played one season, putting up 51 RBIs, three home-runs and maintaining a batting average of .202. Although his professional baseball career is incomparable to his impact on the game of basketball, Jordan showed the world that if you have enough spectacular fame in one professional sport, you can give another one a shot.

Fast forward 22 years, and one can find the next dual-sport celebrity athlete launching himself into the spotlight, but this time with far less of an impact. At the beginning of August, the 29 year-old Tim Tebow announced that he would try his luck in professional baseball. He signed a contract with the New York Mets this September and currently plays for the Scottsdale Scorpions, an Arizona Fall League team. The Mets handed out an impressive $100,000 signing bonus when Tebow signed his contract, which in my opinion is an embarrassment.

Let me start by saying that unlike Michael Jordan’s basketball career, Tebow’s professional career in the National Football League was never very impressive. Despite finishing a notable college career with three Heisman Trophy nominations (one awarded) and breaking five National Collegiate Athletic Association statistical records, Tebow failed to carry his talent over to the NFL. In fact, many would call his career a failure despite his fame. During his time with the Denver Broncos, Tebow launched himself into the spotlight, setting an NFL Draft record for jersey sales. But Tebow never put up numbers on the field to back up his popularity. When Peyton Manning came into the picture, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets where his career began to slide downhill. In the spring of 2013, the Jets released him after he only threw eight passes that season. Later that year, the New England Patriots signed Tebow but released him when making roster cuts at the end of August 2013. In 2015, Tebow signed with the Philadelphia Eagles but was released before the official season began after competing for the third-string quarterback spot.

After an embarrassing career in the NFL, Tebow must be crazy to think he will have any success in the professional world of baseball. The last time he played baseball was in his junior year of high school, and yet Tebow expects to pick up the game again like riding a bike. Not only has he been away from the game of baseball for over 10 years, but Tebow has not played in an NFL game in four years. It takes years of hard work and dedication for baseball players to finally make it to “The Show.” If Tebow never made it big in the NFL, he would have had no shot at a baseball career.  What Tebow neglects to realize is that despite being in the spotlight of the sports world for several years now, he does not have the athleticism to match his fame.

Given that no one can persuade Tebow away from the baseball diamond, let us consider his early career statistics with the Arizona Fall League as of right now. In his seven games and 24 at-bats, Tebow has a shallow .083 batting average with a total of two hits and eight strikeouts; he is among the worst hitters on the team. Given his horrendous stats, I would consider Tebow’s professional baseball career as a publicity stunt rather than a pursuit of passion. After all, his first passion was always football.

Many sports analysts have come forward to discourage Tebow from playing baseball, and few seem to be supportive of his choice. Among them is ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law, who attacked not only Tebow but also the Mets organization, saying, “chasing celebrities is no way to run a player-development department, and organization or a league. Everyone involved in the decision should be embarrassed when they’re done counting their money.” My guess is that Law is referring to the Tim Tebow jersey sales that will spike if he has even a shred of success in Major League Baseball. It can certainly be argued that the Mets are more interested in Tebow-generated revenue than his athletic performance, which is a shame to the sport of baseball.

Tebow does not belong in the game of baseball. He gave football his best shot and failed professionally. Now that he is suffering with the consequences of a lousy NFL career, he wants to bring attention to himself by trying out baseball. I always thought of Tim Tebow as more of a celebrity than a professional athlete. My recommendation to him would be to take some acting classes if he wants to stay in the spotlight and pursue a career of fame.

Anthony Ferranti is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]