The Tim Tebow Experiment was in full force Wednesday at First Data Field, and as one would expect Tebow couldn’t live up to the hype.
Awkward, and at times ridiculous standing ovations from New York Mets fans, Tebow was a predictable 0-for-3 in his first ever spring training game. But hey, at least he got on base via a hit-by-pitch.
Tebow looked uncomfortable at the plate. He struggled to get his footing in the batters box, and his swings at the ball were too wide. His comfort issues in the box made Billy Crystal looked more comfortable facing Major League pitching when he took an at bat as a Yankee back in the spring of 2008.
The 92 mph heaters coming from Boston’s Rick Porcello in Tebow’s first at bat overmatched the former Broncos and Jets quarterback. Before he knew it he struck out looking on a fastball on the outer half of the plate four pitches in.
Tebow’s second at bat was better. He fouled off the first pitch he saw, and worked the count to 2-2 before grounding out into a run-scoring double play. The grounder educed an even more cringe worthy standing ovation from the crowd, who was just happy to see Tebow put the bat on the ball. Yes, we have come to that point, folks. Maybe we should give Tebow a participation trophy while we are at it.
After getting plunked by Brian Johnson in the sixth inning, Tebow was fanned again, this time on three pitches by Brandon Workman in the eighth inning.
What exactly did this accomplish? Absolutely nothing, except prove that Tebow has no business being on a baseball field, let alone one that belongs to major league caliber players. Yet, this is the world the Mets embrace in all of its ludicrous glory. It’s not so much about baseball as it is about jersey sales, ticket sales and that horrible P-word, publicity.
As John Harper from the Daily News pointed out in his column Wednesday, the Mets are doing Tebow a disservice playing him at this level of ball so quickly, especially if he is truly serious about playing professional baseball.
The Mets have used the World Baseball Classic as impetus to hand Tebow a Spring Training promotion, since 14 players have left Met camp to take part in the international tournament. Still, the franchise would have done better had they given another minor league player a chance to get valuable at bats against major league pitching.
But this is the Mets reality for the interim. Give Terry Collins and his coaching staff credit; they are embracing this to the fullest extent while making sure their regular players get the time they need. Word is Collins will let Tebow start in the outfield on Friday. That will be an event all to itself. If anything the Tebow story serves as a nice distraction for the Mets from David Wright’s questionable future, and Matt Harvey’s rough start to Spring Training.
Once camp breaks and the real business of a long baseball season begins, the Mets should cut Tebow loose and let him pursue his baseball career elsewhere.