Tim Tebow became famous for pulling off miracles while quarterback of the Florida Gators. But with ESPN‘s Adam Schefter reporting that Tebow will give up the gridiron in favor a baseball career, the magic is drying up.
The thought of Tebow playing professional baseball is foolish. Tebow hasn’t played baseball in 11 years, since he was an 17-year-old junior playing at Nease High School in Florida. If that wasn’t enough, Tebow is about to turn 29 and is close to reaching the end of his athletic prime.
More than anything, this purported quixotic quest reflects on his inflated and entitled perception of his own ability. This move feeds right into what caused many fans to turn on him in the first place.
Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones summed it up in one Tweet.
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) August 9, 2016
The reason Jones responded so negatively is simple — trying to embark on a baseball career after an 11-year hiatus is a slap in the face to players who have worked their whole lives to achieve one.
Let’s be real about his chances of playing in the majors. They are close to nonexistent. Better athletes than he — Michael Jordan for one — have failed to break through to the highest level in baseball.
Regardless of his .494 batting average in high school, he hasn’t played organized baseball since the Bush Administration.
Making it to the major leagues is really, really, really hard.
Just one in 200 high school players will be drafted. Out of signed draft picks, just one out of six of those will ever make the major leagues. For every high school baseball player who makes the MLB, nearly 1,200 will not.
To think he can just walk in and compete for a roster spot is ludicrous. Assuming his bat speed and fielding are good enough to play professional baseball, which is a huge assumption, Tebow almost certainly won’t be able to hit.
The man has not hit live pitching in more than a decade. Playing in high school, the top pitchers aren’t getting close to major league speed or location. If Tebow had at least played at Florida, maybe there would be more baseball optimism. He did not.
If everything went best-case scenario, Tebow still wouldn’t reach the majors for at least a few years. That’s multiple years of giving up a glamorous career as a SEC Network analyst to slog through motels and charter buses until he reaches the majors — past his prime, no less.
Baseball America quoted several scouts talking about Tebow’s potential MLB interest.
The reviews were not positive.
“He just didn’t play enough,” said a veteran National League scout who watched Tebow play in high school. “Against better pitching he wasn’t quite ready for it. All these years later, I would be suspicious…you have to see him hit against very good Double-A or Triple-A pitching.”
Another American League scout was even less optimistic about learning to hit against professional pitching on such short notice.
“Ted Williams was right — hitting is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. You add time off to that equation and it’s nearly impossible. His only shot would be as a pitcher.”
Luckily for Tebow, the mania has still not subsided. When the news broke of his transition, Tebow quickly became the top trending Twitter topic in America. An independent semi-pro ball club, the Schaumburg Boomers, also offered him a professional contract. He will get a chance.
— Schaumburg Boomers (@boomersbaseball) August 9, 2016
If Tebow does break through, it would be an incredible story. Maybe unparalleled. Even the great Bo Jackson, who played in the MLB and NFL at the same time, played baseball continuously. An 11-year break is virtually unprecedented.
And hey, if this whole baseball thing doesn’t work out, Tebow might have other options.
.@TimTebow Have you ever thought about basketball?
— Harlem Globetrotters (@Globies) August 9, 2016
On Twitter: @ShehanJeyarajah