Tebow’s decision unfair to baseball’s minor leaguers


In this Aug. 30, 2016, file photo, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow finishes his work out for baseball scouts and the media in Los Angeles. Tebow has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. (Chris Carlson/AP)

Tim Tebow was an outstanding college football player. He won the Heisman as a sophomore, which is no small feat. Tebow should, by all accounts, be given credit for his athletic accomplishments. However, after four years at the University of Florida, his transition into professional football was shaky at best. Despite his exceptional college performance, many scouts doubted his ability to play professionally. He was taken 25th overall by the Denver Broncos, and his play for them was decent, but after they signed Peyton Manning, Tebow was traded to the Jets, who mostly wanted him for special teams. He rode the bench and was released after one season. He was then signed by the Patriots, who cut him during preseason. After spending two seasons out of football, he signed with the Eagles, who also cut him during preseason.

It feels safe to say that Tebow’s professional football career was a failure.

Fast forward to today, where Tebow is a week removed from signing a minor-league contract with the New York Mets. To be fair, Tebow isn’t completely inexperienced with baseball. He last played as a junior in high school, about twelve years ago before dedicating his life to football. After having been released by the Patriots, Tebow said that he “will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing [his] lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback.” Now it appears he has found a new “lifelong” dream.

There are a few things that make Tebow’s career change irritating, namely all of the struggling baseball players that will never get this same opportunity. There are ballplayers who have been playing since their tee-ball days, relentless in their pursuit of a real lifelong dream. Maybe they get into Division II or Division III collegiate programs. Maybe they spend time struggling through independent leagues, hoping to get an opportunity to be scouted by an MLB team. Tebow, 12 years removed from any kind of baseball activity, just says the word and 28 major league teams send scouts (here is where respect is shown for the Cubs and Athletics, who refused to buy into this).

Tebow dismisses the idea that this is a publicity stunt, and yet, after receiving his $100,000 signing bonus and permission to miss portions of training to continue his football broadcasting for the SEC network, he’s already begun selling signed baseballs and bats, available on his website for $125 and $175 respectively. The proceeds will go to his foundation. While an honorable cause, it is worth it to note, as minor leaguer Cody Decker pointed out, most baseball players sign balls for free, every single day.

At 29 years old, and 12 years removed from baseball, there’s little chance you see Tebow in the major leagues. For now, he will play in the Mets’ instructional league. With so little experience and a below average scouting report, it’s hard to deny that this looks like a marketing maneuver. Overall, Tebow is an insult to those who actually dedicate themselves to the sport for their entire lives and still have almost nothing to show for it. Peter Moylan, a relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, summed up the situation best. “Every minor leaguer gives up so much to chase their dreams, @TimTebow doesn’t even have to give up his day job. #justnotright,” Moylan tweeted.

Rachel Schaefer is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.schaefer@uconn.edu.

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