I saw yet another negative Tim Tebow article recently. Yawn.

In it, the writer referred to Keith Law's October 14 comments that were quite unfavorable to Tebow as part of his article's support.  I fully respect Law's perspectives, this is not about him...the quote from Law was essentially before the AFL season really got rolling.  Why not, using the same reasoning, quote a writer after the 2016 season about something he said about Rob Gsellman before the 2016 season?   That would be most likely an out-of-date viewpoint.  Results count.

The AFL season has now come and gone, and Tebow, as that author simply noted, hit just .192...the inference was "why waste your time, Timmy boy, when is the circus gonna leave town?"

Donald Trump got trashed by so many in the media as a buffoon, an idiot, etc.  Then he won the primary, more bashing followed, then he won the election (and then the Dow jumped 2000 points - whee!)

I could write my support of Tebow like the relatively few political pundits that actually didn't bash but instead tentatively supported Trump did.  I read many such articles with lead-ins like "well despite his flaws, he"..."we all know he has shortcomings but"...etc.   A very rare few were like Ann Coulter, a full throated, unapologetic supporter of Trump from the start, who liked what he was saying and felt very strongly that TRUMP WOULD WIN.  She was gutsy, unwavering...and right.

So I will go Ann Coulter's approach here by saying it is slack journalism to keep pointing out he hit just .192 in the AFL  - yeah, OK, but was there progress?  In fact yes - he started out 0-13 but hit .245 afterwards.  Also unmentioned was that his OBP after the initial 0-13 was a solid .362, and a truly commendable .405 in his last 10 games.  So...he had a higher batting average than several AFL dudes, and a higher on base % (despite the 0-13 start) than 19 of them - all guys playing for years who were hand-picked for the AFL because of their talent. Hmmm?

He did what he did against mid to high minors quality pitching when, by comparison, literally NO ONE that is drafted in the first round is put up initially against pitchers anywhere near that quality.  He also did what he did despite not having played baseball in 10 years.

So put down the half empty glass for a second, and at least pick up the half full one.  What does a familiar-to-Mets-fans MLB hitting expert have to say about Tebow?

"He’s put together like no other athlete I’ve ever seen,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said recently. “He’s got a lot of work to do, he understands that. He knows it’s not going to be easy, but having seen his swing now and worked with him a little bit, I’m not so sure that he can’t break through maybe give himself a chance to get (to the majors).”

Long is not ruling out him getting to the majors - neither am I.

Most MLB prospects haven't ever accomplished much under extreme pressure. All have experienced some level of pressure, but which have succeeded before 70,000 screaming fans and million on TV?  "None" is the correct answer.  Many players will falter as the spotlight grows brighter and hotter. Some MLB players - take your pick - can frustrate you when you see them perform below the level of their talent, perhaps due to choking when the pressure is on.

Tebow, though, has overperformed throughout his sports life - it's in his DNA to succeed. From what I read, he was most likely the hardest working player in the recent AFL season, taking ceaseless, focused BP, and it showed in his progress.

I looked at the AFL player page for Tim and it listed the following accomplishments for a QB who did not have a true NFL QB arm, but maximized his talents nonetheless to accomplish a lot in football.  Read this killer resume and tell me this guy lacks the internal make up to make it to the majors - my estimate is you could well see him in Queens by mid-2018:

Signed by the New York Mets on Sept. 8, 2016... selected by the Denver Broncos in the 1st round (No. 25 overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft... led Florida to BCS National Championships in 2006 and 2008... won the Heisman Trophy as the top player in college football in 2007 and was a Heisman finalist in 2008 and '09... SEC Player of the Year in 2008 and '09... spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos and another with the New York Jets in the NFL... works as a college football analyst for ESPN on the SEC Network... in the NFL, Tebow had 17 career touchdowns, threw for 2,422 yards and rushed for 989 while scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. 

Off the field: Contributes to a variety of ESPN platforms including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and the network's Heisman Trophy coverage... a published author, Tebow released "Through My Eyes," which was named the No. 1 sports book of 2011 and the best-selling religion book of 2011... created the Tim Tebow Foundation, which aims to "bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need." ... the foundation also helps provide surgeries to children of the Philippines through the Tebow CURE Hospital... co-authored the book "Shaken." ... born in the Philippines and grew up the son of missionaries... worked with a charity to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and disadvantaged children... appears mainly on the SEC Network as co-host of SEC Nation, a traveling pre-game show... spokesperson for Nike, Jockey, FRS Health Energy and TiVO... was the subject of the 2011 ESPN documentary Tim Tebow: Everything in Between and the 2012 NFL Network documentary The Faces of Tebow... was designated a "Great Floridian" by Florida Governor Rick Scott in recognition of his "major contributions to the progress and welfare" of Florida in 2013.

NCAA career: At Florida from 2006-09, Tebow appeared in 55 games, completing 661 of 985 passes for 9,286 yards, 88 touchdowns and 15 interceptions... he rushed 692 times for 2,947 yards and 57 touchdowns... was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2006... in 2007, he was a First-team Academic All-American, a Manning Award finalist, the Rivals.com National Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Offensive Player of the Year, a First-team All-American, the Roy Kramer SEC Male Athlete of the Year and won an ESPY for Best Male College Athlete... in 2008, he was again a Heisman finalist, won his second ESPY, was named the SEC Championship Game's MVP and was a SEC Scholar-Athlete... in 2009, he won the Senior CLASS Award, was a Heisman finalist, First-team All-SEC, named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and was selected by Sports Illustrated as the College football Player of the Decade... in 2010, the NCAA instituted the so-called "Tebow Rule" which banned messages on eye paint, a rule not specifically named for Tebow but which many believed was influenced by him.

NFL career: NFL career was highlighted by his 2011 season in Denver when he won the team's starting QB role and led the Broncos to their first AFC West title and first playoff appearance since 2005... was traded by the Broncos to the New York Jets after the 2011 season when Denver opted to sign Peyton Manning.

College football awards:
  • BCS national champion with Florida (2006, 2008)
  • SEC champion (2006, 2008)
  • William V. Campbell Trophy (2009)
  • SEC Player of the Year (2008, 2009)
  • Manning Award (2008)
  • Wuerffel Trophy (2008)
  • Maxwell Award (2007, 2008)
  • Heisman Trophy (2007)
  • Davey O'Brien Award (2007)
  • Chic Harley Award (2007)
  • AP Player of the Year (2007)
  • Sporting News Player of the Year (2007)
  • First-team All-American (2007, 2008)
  • Second-team All-American (2009)
  • First-team All-SEC (2007-2009)

I see in a resume like this a winner who won't let obstacles like age or lack of experience keep him from his goal.  

When it comes to Tebow and baseball, my glass is FULL.

Trump confounded almost everyone and made it, and I think Tebow will provide an encore. I for one am on board until he proves he's not up to the task. I think he is up to it.  After all, it's only a kid's game, right?


Anonymous said...

Nice article, Tom.

It is refreshing to actually read a "positive" piece, when most everyone else seems so quick to be negative.

I look at Tebow as a "lottery ticket". Outside of the signing bonus (100K, I think), what risks are the Mets really taking? If he bombs, then he gets cut and the Mets move on. It's not like we have a system teeming with outfield talent that will be blocked by his presence.

If he makes it, then we have one more talented player in our system then we had prior to his signing, and maybe more. You can't quantify "intangibles" and he has those in spades.

Personally, I think he could end up being a decent fourth outfielder, power bat/pinch runner off the bench, if it all works out. That's not too shabby for such a small, risk free investment.


Mack Ade said...

Is there an age ceiling in AA?

I really do not want to send Tebow to the rarefied air situation of the PCL. I would want a real evaluation of his talent, even if it is against far younger players. The balance off would be that they are more experienced baseball players.

Thomas Brennan said...

Mike, I agree. I hate the tinge of mockery disguised in so much commentary these days...I wish Tebow (who I don't know, and only saw snippets of during his football career) all the best because he is humble and gives it his all.

Mack, I think age limits would be discriminatory, so I do not think so. I'd like see him start out in St Lucie, then quickly up to AA. Unless they think he's ready for AA at the end of spring training.

bob gregory said...


See if he produces attractive numbers in the PCL in order to maximize value.
Then hope he becomes a trade asset of some type.

bob gregory said...

Of course, only if he proves capable of handling AAA.

Thomas Brennan said...

he'd be a big draw in Florida if he could hit, that's for sure....and if he is that successful, he'd be very attractive to a team like Marlins vs. another no-name player of similar skills. But if he manages to get to major league caliber, he'd be a big draw here, too. My guess is a big market second division team that would not be afraid to play him and lose games. But we'll know a lot better in 6-9 months what he is - or isn't - as a ballplayer.

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