Just for the record, we don’t really understand the whole Tim Tebow phenomenon, beyond the superstar college quarterback thing.
We know he won a Heisman Trophy and two national titles with the University of Florida, so that makes him a god (lower-case G) among the Saturday afternoon football crowd.
Tebow seems like a great guy, by all accounts, and a true role model. That’s important, too. But the Kardashian-level grip on our ever-shrinking attention spans? Can’t figure that part out.
Tebow hasn’t competed in a sporting event that actually counts since the Jets cut him more than three years ago, and yet we all remain locked inside his immense gravitational pull, like doomed satellites. We don’t get it, but good for him.
As for the Mets signing Tebow, well, that part makes perfect sense. And we’re not all that caught up in the baseball aspect of it. Whether Tebow ever sees a pitch at Citi Field, other than a photo-op BP session with the real Mets, is besides the point.
If the Mets really were hungry to add an impact player, truly equipped for the major leagues, they could have aggressively pursued Cuban defector Yulieski Gourriel, who signed a five-year, $47.5-million contract with the Astros this summer. That, of course, was a financial risk Sandy Alderson and Co. had no interest in taking.
But someone like Tebow, who costs virtually nothing and could, at the very least, generate some serious attention (re: $$$) at minor-league outposts such as Port St. Lucie for spring training and Class A Brooklyn? That’s worth rolling the dice on.
And there’s no downside. Other than providing him the Michelin star quality clubhouse spread at Tradition Field and cleaning his uniform, what else do the Mets have to float here?
It’s a win-win, all under the guise of believing in Tebow’s baseball ability, which — for a 29-year-old who hasn’t played competitively since 2005, as a high school junior — seems to be a huge leap.
Twenty-eight of 30 teams scouted Tebow at his private L.A. workout last week and the reviews were mixed. Other than swatting BP fastballs 400 feet over the outfield fence, and a dazzling 60-yard sprint, Tebow didn’t appear to have much else, aside from a muscular 255-pound frame tailor-made for his other sport.
Alderson apparently disagreed. After poking fun at the idea of Tebow a few days before the workout, the Mets’ GM did a 180-degree spin in explaining the decision during Thursday’s conference call.
“While I and the organization I think are mindful of the novel nature of this situation, this decision was strictly driven by baseball,” Alderson said. “This was not something that was driven by marketing considerations or anything of the sort. We are extremely intrigued with the potential that Tim has.”
This might be a good time to bring up that Tebow’s agent happens to be CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen, who also represents Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. The Mets don’t have any pressing business with the two pitchers yet, but you may have heard that Cespedes has an opt-out after this season, and his market value seems to increase after every game.
Giving Tebow a chance, on one of the bigger media stages, certainly wouldn’t put Cespedes in the Mets’ back pocket for 2017. But it could make the relationship between Van Wagenen and the Mets’ front office a little chummier for the future, which definitely wouldn’t hurt the negotiating process.
The Mets also did Tebow the favor of letting him occasionally bolt from the Instructional League this fall to keep his job as a college football analyst for ESPN, another gig he appears to be quite good at.
Again, where’s the harm in that? We’re taking this Tebow fantasy camp stuff only as seriously as both he and the Mets will allow us to. And if they’re both cool with him moonlighting in Baton Rouge, Athens or Tuscaloosa for a day or two over the weekend, fine.
Odds are, Tebow flames out before Binghamton. But when the Mets are done this season, maybe after a surprising October run, we’ll need something else to talk about. And it’s a safe bet everyone is going to want more Tebow, because they always do.