Column: Tebow's High-A promotion hits too close to home

Columbia Fireflies' outfielder Tim Tebow watches his home run against the Augusta GreenJackets during a minor league baseball game in Columbia, S.C. on April 6, 2017. Tebow was promoted to the New York Mets' High-A affiliate, St. Lucie Mets, on June 26. (Photo by Sean Rayford/AP)

Columbia Fireflies' outfielder Tim Tebow watches his home run against the Augusta GreenJackets during a minor league baseball game in Columbia, S.C. on April 6, 2017. Tebow was promoted to the New York Mets' High-A affiliate, St. Lucie Mets, on June 26. (Photo by Sean Rayford/AP)

I have been very vocal when it comes to Tim Tebow. In fact, this is not my first article regarding his sudden change of career. In case you’ve had the pleasure of avoiding the sports writers who tweet about his every accomplishment, allow me to recap:

In early September of 2016, Tebow announced that he would pursue a career in professional baseball after his failed attempt to succeed in the NFL. He held a workout for MLB scouts which 28 teams attended. Following that, he signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets.

At the time, my biggest problem with Tebow was his $100,000 signing bonus, which is approximately 100 times what a typical player at his level would receive for signing. Additionally, he was given permission to miss practice so he could continue his work as a broadcaster for the SEC network. All of this was afforded to Tebow despite the fact that he was 12 years removed from any kind of baseball activity.

Fast forward to the present. Tebow played 64 games for the Colombia Fireflies, a Low-A affiliate of the Mets. This week, he was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets, the franchise’s High-A affiliate. The official word from Mets GM Sandy Alderson is that Tebow has had an impressive few weeks and is deserving of a promotion.

However, there are currently seven active players on the Fireflies who have had more than 100 at-bats and retain higher batting averages than Tebow’s .220. Five of these players have higher on-base percentages than Tebow’s .311. Defensively, Tebow has committed seven errors on the season as an outfielder.

In other words, there was no reason for this man to be promoted to a far more competitive league when his performance for the Fireflies was below average. No reason, except that a new team means an entirely new revenue stream for the franchise.

Here’s where it gets worse. A promotion for one player means a demotion for another. In this case, that player was Vinny Siena. You may recognize the name, because Siena is a UConn alum. The former Husky was taken by the Mets in the 14th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. So far, Siena has produced a .246 career batting average in the minor leagues.

To be fair, Siena has struggled lately, batting a measly .156. However, his past experience playing for the Fireflies is far better than anything Tebow has accomplished. Siena was an All-Star last season and has a bit more potential than Tebow, who is six years his senior and may be past his prime already.

Tebow will never play at the major league level. He simply does not have the talent. He’s privileged, and that privilege is resulting in the misfortune of those who have dedicated their entire lives to this one sport. Adding insult to injury, Tebow recently signed a new contract with the SEC network, furthering doubts that he is committed to the sport of baseball.

I understand that the Mets want to make money. I understand that Tebow is an easy way to accomplish that. But this organization needs to realize that Tebow is a side-show that is coming at the expense of actual baseball talent. As a Mets fan, I can’t condone the demotion of a player for Tebow, and I’m not alone.

Personally, I’d rather attend a baseball game that portrays a demonstration of actual talent. I’d rather see guys fighting for their chance to make it to the show. I’d rather see an entire life of passion and dedication to the sport. That’s not what fans will get when attending a St. Lucie Mets game, and that is devastating to those who truly respect and appreciate the game of baseball.


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