With Tim Tebow back in pro sports, it’s time to cue up the thinly veiled media hatred. At age 29, he has signed a minor-league contract with the New York Mets and will play in the fall instructional league. This after a workout in front of scouts from 28 of the 30 teams and a gaggle of baseball writers.
The Mets think Tebow, who’ll play a corner outfield position, will be a good influence on their young players and could advance quickly in a sport he has not played full time since 2005, when he was a junior in high school. The question is if he can hit a breaking ball.
Said General Manager Sandy Alderson: “While I and the organization are mindful of the novel nature of his situation, this decision was strictly driven by baseball. This was not something that was driven by marketing considerations or anything of the sort. He is a tremendous athlete, has great character, a competitive spirit and aside from his age, this is a classic player development opportunity for us.”
If you’re reading this, you know about Tebow’s career as a quarterback at the University of Florida and in the NFL. You also know he is an outspoken Evangelical Christian. You may not know that he was homeschooled, was born in the Philippines and spent three pre-college summers there helping with his father’s orphanage and missionary work.
Tebow may not be the prototype NFL quarterback, but nobody even wants to audition him as a backup. A reasonable orange cat would conclude that he is blackballed because of his religious beliefs. So did Larry Taunton, executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation, which defends the Christian faith. In 2011, he wrote this in USA Today:
“[Former Arizona QB] Jake Plummer said on a Phoenix radio station that he would like Tebow more if he would ‘shut up’ about his faith in Jesus Christ. And with that little comment, the cat, as they say, was out of the bag. Plummer said what the commentators wouldn’t say. Their dislike for Tim Tebow is not, as they would have us believe, about his throwing motion or his completion percentage; it’s all about his open professions of faith and his goody-two-shoes image. When it comes right down to it, we don’t want heroes who are truly good. We want them to fail the occasional drug test or start a bar fight from time to time. It makes us feel better about ourselves.”
It is important to note that Tebow will not have to give up his day job, analyzing football for the SEC Network. His duties in the instructional league will take up a couple of days a week; if he plays in the minors next season, the season will be over on Labor Day.
Might as well close with a comment about another public symbol of the QB persuasion, Colin Kaepernick. Boo if you must, but the man is suffering enough. He’s sitting the 49ers bench while Blaine Gabbert starts.