NFL bust deserves MLB shot

E9: What you wouldn’t believe about sports

Sam L. Jaime

Sam L. Jaime

Sam L. Jaime, Sports Editor

I really hope that Tim Tebow makes it to the majors, hits 300-plus home runs, and breaks at least one meaningful record in a career that takes him past his athletic twilight. When he does finally retire, in his mid-40s, I want some club to retire his number and have some gaudy, borderline canonizing ceremony for him.

That’s the least Tebow deserves after being consistently mocked and doubted, long before he ever even declared the intention of playing professional baseball.

Tebow’s NFL career left more to be desired. Truthfully, Tebow was relegated to a backup role after only a brief time, and was never given much of a chance past 2011.

He became a punchline, a bad penny passed around the NFL. He was never arrested or got into any trouble. Tebow just said different things than most expect in interviews, and that irks people.

Tebow references religion and higher purposes, and I imagine he’s done so for far longer than he’s had a camera in his face.

I think many of us throughout time have seen characters like Tebow as having a sort of “holier-than-thou” sort of thing going on. And maybe he does, I have no idea, or concern with that in all honesty, but certainly wouldn’t consider it a reason to hate a professional athlete. At least his behavior reflects what he says; the guy does some real charitable work after all.

Before Tebow even started baseball he was at a disadvantage, having to endure the jeers of those who seem to be painfully aware of his pigskin shortcomings. That may have been fine had he continued as an analyst for college football, but when he entered the world of baseball as an “outsider,” its citizens were skeptical and ostracizing.

Even Michael Jordan, the father of the athlete-brand, was never given a fair chance at carving out a place in the sport. In a professional baseball career that lasted less than a calendar year, Jordan received merciless criticism with every strikeout, and a hefty share of luck when he’d collect hits.

Never mind the fact that expecting any baseball player to get a hit in every at bat is pure insanity, people expected Jordan to be either the greatest baseball player ever, or the worst.

The expectations are much lower for Tebow, as he was not the Jordan of the NFL. But people still complain that his celebrity presence takes the place of another prospect.

That might be true, but unlike Jordan, I don’t think the Mets’ minor-league affiliate will sell out because Tebow is on the field. Will it impact the sales? Of course, but it’s not going to have the same impact. Tebow got this gig based on his ability.

Don’t tell me that Tebow is blocking some kid from nowhere, if another guy is worth it, he’ll make it, period.

Tebow is another prospect, he just happens to have name value and a professional past. He shouldn’t be given anything special or have anything taken away from him based on that.

Yet because no matter what, most people will think that he won’t earn whatever outcome awaits, I hope he shatters expectations.