WASHINGTON — The early returns on Tim Tebow’s baseball ability have not been outstanding.
Some might say, not having played the game since his junior year of high school, the odds are heavily stacked against him.
In fact, many baseball experts have said just that. Like Mike Rizzo, general manager of the Washington Nationals, who used words like “extreme long shot” in saying the 29-year-old would be “the first to ever” spend more than a decade away from the game and make it at the highest level.
“I was with the White Sox when Michael Jordan entered that fray of attempting to be a baseball player,” Rizzo told 106.7 The Fan. “You know, there was no greater athlete than him at the time and he struggled mightily to do it.”
“To me, it’s the most difficult game to master,” he said. “It takes the longest period of time. I describe it as ‘go for it, Tim.’ If somebody gives you an opportunity, that’d be great. But long shot. It makes for a good story, but, it’s just, he would defy all odds if he were to make it to the big leagues.”
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, too, believes Tebow faces long odds.
Hollywood actor Kevin Costner, a man accomplished in a business that’s similarly daunting to break into, offers a different perspective.
“Why would he not try? Why would he not try?” Costner wondered to Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. “I mean, it’s like, why would you not just want the summer to go on forever?”
“Listen. I had to make a decision about music,” he said. “No, I had to make two decisions about music. One was I wanted to do it for myself. The second one was, well, if you play in front of people, what are you going to give them? It would make no sense for me to do covers in front of people and I wouldn’t really get it. We do one cover in the course of the night, probably. But for me, I had to make up my mind: Is this good enough to put in front of people? You have to have a little sense about yourself.”
“It doesn’t mean that Tim’s gonna make it,” he continued. “But he has enough sense about himself that, if he doesn’t try right now… this is his moment. He’s a really good athlete. And, you know what? The poor guy knows that so many people are watching, just like they did Jordan, that he takes his grief, but good for him. You take your shots in life and that’s what he’s doing.
“It’s a really time-honored game. I mean most guys out of college go play pro football. Most guys out of college step right into pro basketball. Baseball’s not that way. You see these guys in Omaha and not very many of them actually stick in the Major Leagues. It’s these guys that go into those minor leagues for eight, nine years; there’s a lot. So the Bryce Harpers of the world, you know, we’re getting a lot more of these guys coming in at a young age and able to really, really do it, but it’s a different game. It’s a different game completely. Who doesn’t dream of going to do it? And at his age, why not? You got a feeling, you go for it. It’s like, really, just kind of leave it alone. Look at the statistics and just leave it at that.”