WASHINGTON — The last time Tim Tebow played in New York, he suited up for an ineffective Mark Sanchez. The next time he suits up in the Big Apple, it could be in place of Yoenis Cespedes or Jay Bruce–while facing down Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg.
If that sounds strange, it should–but that’s the life of Tim Tebow. More than five years after his NFL career effectively ended, Tebow is 18 months into a professional baseball career that has gone from whimsical to legitimate.
As it stands, Tebow is in big league camp with the New York Mets, and is expected to stay there for the next six weeks. This is part of a concerted effort by the team to figure out what they have in Tebow and try to accelerate his development.
“This experiment, if you will, is not going to last forever,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told SNY. “But he’s made meaningful progress. We thought he would best benefit from being in major-league camp, that that would accelerate his development, rather than falling back on protocol. I’m very comfortable that he’s here.
“Somebody asked me whether I think he’ll be a major-league player at some point. I think he will play in the major leagues. That’s my guess, that’s my hope, and to some extent now after a year and a half, a modest expectation.”
To be fair, there’s a lot to read between the lines there. Cynically, the Mets have a lot of money to be made if Tebow can have the same effect on the Mets’ attendance that he had on the farm teams’ attendance in 2017.
Alderson also has every reason to believe that any player in his system could contribute at the Major League level–otherwise they are just taking up space. Nobody wants to admit that.
But this is still a major step forward for a baseball player who had not stepped foot on a diamond in a decade when he started working out several years back.
“I think he’s great for the team,” Alderson continues. “I think he’s great for baseball. He was phenomenal for minor-league baseball last year. And the notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he’s not coming through the traditional sources, I think, is crazy.
“This is entertainment. And he quietly entertains us.”