Tim Tebow’s less than inspiring Spring Training debut with the Mets Wednesday is sure to increase the calls for him to step away from the baseball diamond, that he will never be a ballplayer. I really wonder why no one is willing to give this guy a chance.
Tebow struck out in his first at bat, looking rather lost and even having a few words with the home plate umpire. His second at bat was set up to break the Internet — bases loaded, no outs. Instead of hitting the movie grand slam, he grounded into a double play. But a run did score, and Tebow jogged off the field to a standing ovation.
Tebow was hit by a pitch in his third at bat but was promptly doubled up when he got caught off first on a line drive. He struck out in his final plate appearance, looking worse than the first time.
“I think I learned a lot of things,” Tebow said. “Just getting in there and seeing pitches for the first time, competing. I mean, I felt okay, put some good swings when I swung. You just learn. It was the first day for me, getting a chance to compete, and I’ll learn a lot from it.”
Clearly, even Tebow knows he is not ready for prime time. That should shock no one, considering up until less than a year ago, he hadn’t played baseball since high school. Yet somehow people expect him to be major league-ready.
When Tim Tebow announced his intention to give baseball a try, virtually every baseball writer and “expert” analyst proclaimed there was no way he could make it. And that was before they ever saw him swing a bat.
Why not give him a chance? Why not say “Hey, this guy is a big, strong athlete. Maybe he can do it”? I don’t remember Michael Jordan getting shrugged off when he was trying to make the transition to baseball, and he was just as green as Tebow. Could it be because Jordan “earned” the right to try based on his incredible record as a basketball player while Tebow never earned anything (except for a Heisman trophy, leading a struggling NFL team to the playoffs and staging a comeback to win a playoff game)?
Or is it because people are turned off by his very public religious beliefs? Yes, Tebow is outspoken about it, but not in an overbearing way. He does not appear to condemn people who do not believe what he believes, like so many other fanatics (cough, sabermetrics people, cough).
People seem to be rooting for Tebow to fail, as noted in a hateful article on ESPN.com and just a nasty post on the Deadspin. Fortunately, many commenters disagree with the conclusions of these mean-spirited writers.
Tim Tebow is polarizing for some reason, yet by all accounts he is a good and decent man as well as a great teammate. He is the type of guy we should want to see succeed, yet that does not appear to be the case. And really, I am not exactly sure why.