Tebow started off his Double-A career with a bang today when he blasted a homer on the first pitch he saw. The Binghamton Rumble Ponies (not sure what rumble ponies are but I like it) are the Mets Double-A affiliate that Tebow currently plays for. The home run is a good sign after Tebow struggled this spring.
Mr. Big Show
The former Heisman winning quarterback shocked many in 2016 when he declared his intent to play professional baseball. Baseball is a very technical sport. It is certainly not a sport you stop playing for more than 10 years and then pick up again with hopes of going pro. Even the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan, couldn’t successfully pull the feat off. Jordan happened to make it to AA with the Birmingham Barons. But he eventually hung up the cleats and returned to his former occupation. Even so, if there was a person who could take on the challenge, absorb the criticism, and accomplish the goal then it would have to be Tim Tebow.
In his first full season, Tebow never rose above Single-A all while producing mediocre stats. His steady promotions have caused many to question the motives of the Mets management, citing ticket sales as a huge reason for Tebow’s rise and not performance. While some might grumble about how deserving his promotions have been, Tebow is certainly the type of person who enjoys a challenge. This is just a case of his development being slowed if his competition isn’t high enough. Getting thrown to the flames, so to speak, might be the best approach for Tebow. It certainly paid off today with his three-run shot.
When you’ve won ball games, like he has, on some of the biggest stages in sports, then a minor league game with 1500 people in attendance might be too mundane. The point being, Tebow is the type of player who is going to show up in big moments and that is already apparent.
At the beginning of this Tebow experiment, most people brushed it off as just another headline. Many figured there was no way Tebow would even come close to sniffing a major league roster. After one year the whole perception has changed. His influence over minor league baseball has been incredible. He draws record crowds at almost every venue. He has received praise from former CY Young winner, and Rumble Pony pitching coach, Frank Viola on his hard work and leadership.
He does appear to be making strides though. Really all that is in question is if he can hit the ball. When he first began this journey his swing was clunky. It looked like the swing of a 240-pound football player and not of a professional baseball player. But in the offseason, he toyed around with it and he is now swinging with a lot more fluidity. It is a more natural looking swing that is allowing him to get more bat speed. With his size, he should focus more on making solid contact and less on how much power he is generating. On the other hand, the defensive side of baseball shouldn’t be a huge jump for an athlete of Tebow’s caliber. Like football, its all about footwork and positioning. His 4.71 speed is more than enough for covering the left field spot.
It’s Tebow Time
Tebow beginning the year with the Mets AA affiliate, based on his current skill level, is way too high for him. But one must factor in that this is an elite athlete who is 30 years old, not an 18-year-old kid fresh out of high school. He can afford to be rushed along in the process because he is mature enough to handle the ups and downs in stride. By all accounts, he has been able to translate his football work ethic to baseball. Which is good because honing your craft in baseball is an arduous job.
After today he is one step closer to ultimately realizing his dream.
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