From The Jets To The Mets

Tim Tebow’s switch from football to baseball

Noah Sacco, Staff Writer

Professional sports serve a pivotal role in our society. They not only display athletes with premier talent, but provide us with entertainment at the highest level. In late August, the entire sports world was thrown for a curveball when former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow announced that he is pursuing a career in major league baseball.

Immediately following his statement of his dream to become a major league baseball player, the media swarmed around Tebow like a flock of buzzards. The former Heisman Trophy winner declared shortly after that he would have a workout in front of MLB coaches in hopes in being signed by a team.

Out of the 30 major league baseball teams that were invited to come evaluate the new baseball recruit, 28 of them came ready with their clipboards and stopwatches. Surprisingly though, there appeared to be more photographers and journalists than baseball scouts.

Tebow was given the standard pro-style evaluation, which consisted of the 60 yard dash, fielding and throwing skills, throwing velocity from the outfield, and batting practice. MLB scouts and coaches filled the field as everyone attempted to get a full-on view of the college football star throwing a ball to a base instead of a wide receiver.

The following week, the New York Mets signed Tebow to their instructional league with a reported $100,000 bonus. Then the organization sent Tebow down to Port St. Lucie, Florida to prepare him for his first game in the league. Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, stated, “This is our opportunity to associate with excellence. Whether that translates into a major league uniform, it’s about the process. We can’t control the outcome. All we can do is enhance the possibilities of success.”

Despite the Mets being my favorite team in the MLB, I am appalled at this impulsive decision, as other baseball players probably are as well. The fact that professional baseball is allowing a 29 year-old NFL star to waltz into the baseball world, get signed by a team within two weeks, and start the first game of the league is extremely degrading to other players. Men who have made huge sacrifices by dedicating their whole lives to baseball in order to make it to the next level and receive some sort of publicity are undoubtedly vexed at the reality of this Tim Tebow mania.

Tebow had not swung a bat or thrown a baseball since high school. As a result, he lacks the skills of any average major leaguer in most parts of his game. In his workout, it was apparent that his hiatus from baseball was catching up with him as he whiffed multiple times at off-speed pitches from semi-major league pitchers.

As a baseball player myself, the idea of a football player joining my team, one who hadn’t played baseball in years, and immediately playing ahead of me would definitely incite animosity in me, and potentially in my teammates. All the hard work and dedication that I had done in the offseason would be completely erased.

In addition to frustrated players, the signing of a popular figure like Tim Tebow adds to the entertainment element of professional sports. This exposes the fact that signing big name athletes is largely a marketing gimmick for teams.

Sporting events are the stages for athletes to showcase their talents. When players are bestowed with outrageous salaries, there is skepticism regarding the motives behind the deal. Teams claim that they’re interested in the player’s skill, but in reality, it seems they’re more concerned with what they will bring to the entertainment table.

The sad truth of professional sports is that just as much as they are about raw talent, they’re also about business. Major league organizations search for ways to sell tickets in order to fill seats in their stadiums and their pockets with cash. Whether it be firework night, bring your dog to the park day, or watch former Florida Gator Tim Tebow, they will do whatever is necessary to make you become part of the crowd.

Many compare Tim Tebow to Michael Jordan, in the sense that both athletes “retired” from their professional sports in order to fulfill their desire to play professional baseball. The baseball career didn’t pan out for Jordan, and he made the decision to transition back to the NBA. As for Tebow, it is doubtful the NFL will welcome him back. Major league baseball seems to be his only focus for the future.

This bold decision by Tebow has the potential to redefine the game of baseball, possibly for the worse. It demonstrates the reality that popular athletes in society can become anything or do anything they want to, no matter what skill set they possess.