COMMENTARY - Three days after it was announced that former Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow as making a career move to give professional baseball a try, baseball managers and media were still giving opinions about whether the former NFL player can make it in another sport.
While the majority of the comments have been negative since Tebow let the world know he has been training in both California and Los Angeles and plans to hold a workout for all 30 MLB teams, there is this feeling I keep having with regard to the news.
Don’t bet against Tebow.
One of the hardest things an athlete can do is hit a 90-mile an hour fastball or a curveball. It is also harder to attempt to retrain yourself to pick up another sport. Take into consideration Tebow hasn’t played organized baseball since he was a junior at Nease High School and it would seem the deck is stacked against.
But don’t bet against Tebow.
Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter might have summed up the feelings of most baseball officials when he as candid as he could be in his disdain for this attempt by the mercurial and controversial sports figure. The man who preaches religion and athletics – sometimes in the same breath – is going to do something Jordan-esque. By the way, Michael Jordan didn’t have the baseball career he thought he would when he left the NBA for a chance to try swinging a bat.
"Am I intrigued? No, not at all. Amused? No, not at all. I think about what these guys do in our Dominican Academy, and Delmarva and Aberdeen and Gulf Coast League and Frederick and Bowie and Norfolk. I take very seriously the stuff they have to do to get the opportunities to do what they're doing.
"Somebody will sell some tickets in the spring. I should be careful, we may sign him. I bet he was a good player in high school ... I was, too. And I played quarterback. I'll stop."
Everyone is entitled to his opinion. Showalter is one of the most respected managers in the game. If he has a gripe, maybe we should all heed his words.
Still, don’t bet against Tebow.
I think there is some reason that Tebow will become a decent player on the major league level, but my thoughts are really in the minority. Tim Tebow makes news being Tim Tebow. The man who is always in the news, always talking about football and religion and trying his best to make his way in the world of sports. Since his days at Florida winning national titles, it has always been Tebow – the man Gary Danielson still talks about from time to time on college football broadcasts. At some point, it will end, but even at 29 years old, Tebow is a hot button topic.
What happens if a major league team signs him? Where does he go? How will he deal with the rigors of minor league life? How will others adjust to him? For everything Tebow is, he isn’t one of them. He hasn’t put the time in. He hasn’t put the years of hard work in batting cages and sandlots in. But there is something here about him that makes me think he makes a major league roster at some point.
Don’t bet against Tim Tebow.
Maybe I am naïve and think finally he will break through. The “doer” as one of the sports colleagues called him, is changing his tune – that being an NFL quarterback is still a dream of his. Maybe he sees the flaw in the fact he could have played in the NFL, but at another position and well, he failed. There has to be more to it than that. There has to be a reason. With Tebow, you get the athlete, the entrepreneur, the preacher and the rock star. And there is no chance of getting around that.
Baseball will take a chance on him because the idea of him failing at another sport is the story more than his success. It is how society is today. Failure always trumps success. But in this case, fans and MLB people in the know will watch and wait for his workout. Tebow will join an organization in the near future. He will command headlines in newspapers and take up major yardage on ESPN. Once again, Tebow is relevant. Fans and haters beware.
Just do me one favor – don’t bet against him. Not yet.