Arizona, here he comes … maybe. The 29-year-old former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner signed a deal to start playing ball for a New York team, but it’s not the Giants or the Jets. Instead, the Mets have brought him into their minor-league system after impressing scouts with his batting and field play during tryouts. The Mets weren’t the only team interested, either:
The Mets decided to sign Tebow on Wednesday, a source said. General manager Sandy Alderson met with team co-owner Jeff Wilpon, who signed off on Alderson’s suggestion that they get a deal done.
Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella had confirmed earlier this week that the team had interest in Tebow and had “multiple” conversations with Tebow’s representatives as a step toward signing him to a professional baseball contract. …
Brodie Van Wagenen, Tebow’s baseball agent at Creative Artists Agency, told reporters that several clubs stayed after the workout to meet face-to-face with Tebow. The Colorado Rockies were reportedly another team with interest in the former quarterback.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Tebow has been working on this switch to baseball for the last three months. He hadn’t played the sport competitively since high school, more than a decade ago, but Tebow has kept himself in shape. His athleticism made him dangerous as a QB, and it apparently has provided him an opportunity to give the Deion Sanders route a try.
At least, Tebow hopes for the Sanders route. The comparison most seen in the media has been to Michael Jordan rather than Sanders, who is the only man to play in both a Super Bowl (twice) and a World Series. Jordan’s move to baseball and mediocrity was less explicable than Sanders’ double major, and Jordan quickly grew tired of flirting with the Mendoza line in the minors and went back to basketball. Sanders had natural gifts in both sports — he hit .533 in his lone World Series in 1992 — but focused on football later. Tebow doesn’t have to make those choices nor does he have other options; no one in the NFL is clamoring for his services, and he can concentrate on competing on the baseball field alone.
It’s still a long shot for The Show, however. Tebow has his athleticism and his discipline, but so do hundreds of younger men vying for a small number of openings, and they might just be a wee bit hungrier, too. As admirably as he has conducted himself over the years, Tebow will have lots of fans cheering him on, but at 29 he’ll have to make it soon or not at all. But if the Mets just caught a deal, New York fans could have some reason to cheer in 2017. And perhaps the rest of us can cheer an athlete kneeling on the field again.