Of all the current minor league baseball players, Tim Tebow is one of them.
The former Florida and NFL quarterback and current SEC Network analyst wanted to try his hand at a sport he hadn’t played since high school, and many thought it nothing more than a joke.
Then he held a tryout, where many real Major League Baseball scouts watched him hit, throw, and take fly balls. Then the New York Mets signed him and said it had everything to do with Tebow’s on-field abilities and potential.
Not so fast.
After the Mets recently promoted Tebow from low Class A to high Class A, general manager Sandy Alderson has admitted what many thought all along.
“Look, we signed him because he is a good guy, partly because of his celebrity, partly because this is an entertainment business,” Alderson said at a convention at Citi Field on Friday, according to Roger Rubin of Newsday. “My attitude is ‘Why not?’”
Anderson also revealed another interesting part of the Tebow saga, which came out of the original tryout. He said that after Tebow’s subpar performance during the workout, the Mets scout who was there would not have wanted his name associated with the report signing Tebow. So Alderson fittingly improvised.
“Ultimately the guy that we put down was the director of merchandising,” he said.
Tebow was not horrible in low-A, but he was not good either, hitting just .220 with 3 home runs in 64 games. He was still promoted and has been solid early on, including making this nifty catch in the outfield, although it still left Alderson literally trying his best to justify the move beyond mere entertainment exposure.
“I was searching a little bit for some rational explanation for promoting him,” he said. “Actually, if you look at some of the more esoteric statistics, he actually does pretty well: He doesn’t really chase. Some of the fundamental things you are looking for in your player, aside from athleticism and so forth. He has command of the strike zone, power — those are things he can do.”
Tebow stayed on and signed an extension with SEC Network even after joining the Mets, and these comments from Alderson move the whole situation even further from baseball and closer to a full-on entertainment ploy.
The man does fill the seats and sell jerseys. That we cannot deny.