Tim Tebow keeps proving his baseball career is no joke.
Scores of people doubted the devout Christian and former NFL quarterback would be able to compete as a pro-baseball player when he first announced the transition in 2016.
So far, he’s answered those doubters — and then some.
In the past, NBC Sports called Tebow “an insult to real baseball players,” while the Washington Post called his baseball career “a publicity stunt.” It appears these outlets, and many others, were completely wrong about the athlete.
That’s because Tebow is most likely on track to play in the big leagues this season, if all continues to go well for him in the next two months. He has climbed up the minor leagues relatively quick; he is already in Double-A despite making his pro-baseball debut last year. Plus, he’s actually competent at the plate.
Through 77 games for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (the Mets Double-A affiliate), the 6-foot-3, 240-pound left fielder has hit .269, with five home runs and a .727 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage). It is a drastic improvement over the .226 batting average and .656 OPS he put up in Single-A just last year — and an indication he’s continued working hard to improve at a sport he had not played since high school.
Tebow’s especially been heating up at the plate lately. The 30-year-old batted .301 in June and collected nine hits in 23 at-bats in his first seven games in July, according to MiLB.com.
Tebow told the site he initially struggled with the short turnaround and the small amount of time players have to prepare for their next opponent — but that’s not as much of an issue for him anymore.
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“The biggest challenge is probably adapting from game to game, series to series with the pitchers, and seeing how much they change,” he told MiLB.com. “You’ll see that there might be a team that throws you a certain way, and it works and they stay on it or it’s not working and they adjust and you have to adjust.”
Tebow’s recent momentum also earned him a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game. Though he competed against other MLB teams’ top prospects in the contest, he managed to hit a double.
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) July 12, 2018
Even if Tebow is not the best player on his team, it’s becoming clearer every day that he’s got a legitimate shot at playing in the big leagues this season.
After getting off to an 11-1 start this season, the Mets have lost more than twice as many games as they’ve won since, going 26-53 through their next 80 games to put them at 37-54 on the season. They are in last place in the National League’s Eastern Division.
By September, they’ll most likely be eliminated from playoff contention — unlike their in-city rival, the New York Yankees, who were one of just three MLB teams with at least 60 wins so far this season as of July 13.
With that in mind, the Mets will be largely irrelevant by the end of the year — unless they call up Tebow. Room on the roster would not be an issue, either. In September, MLB rosters expand from 25 players to up to 40 players (though teams rarely carry more than 35).
Clay Travis, formerly of Fox Sports, said on Twitter he believes Tebow will make it to the big leagues this September. On Travis’ radio show, Fox Sports reporter Jon Morosi, an “MLB insider,” made the same assertion, calling Tebow “a credible Major League Baseball prospect” who “belongs” in the big leagues.
If Tebow is able to move up this season, it would not be a shock to see the mainstream media try to label it a PR stunt once again. Yet Tebow has proven his doubters wrong before.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday and other outlets.
(photo credit, homepage and article: YouTube)