Tim Tebow's pursuit of a highly unlikely baseball career will now take him to Columbia, South Carolina to play for the Mets Class-A affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies.
Inspite of his struggles at the plate, he's hitting .200 (4-for-20), with three of those hits barley clearing the infield, and continued scrutiny for opposing scouts and teams, the Mets continue to let the Tebow saga play out. Most players who struggle the way Tebow has would likely see a pink slip, but Tebow's celebrity, personalty and desire are carrying him forward.
For the Fireflies having Tebow in town will bring them a lot of attention, and will undoubtably sell a lot of seats. There is nothing wrong with that for a minor league team -- any minor league club in that position would want to have a celebratory name in the building on a nightly basis. Tebow's infectious personalty, as well as his ties to the South Eastern Conference (SEC), which the nearby Gamecocks play in against Tebow's alma mater, Florida, will also be a huge selling point.
While Tebow has received just criticism from baseball people for his lack of experience, sending him down to Class-A is the right move for the Mets. If Tebow is indeed serious about a full-time baseball career, the Mets should leave him in South Carolina for the entire season and not feel the need to promote him in order to succumb to outside pressure.
The worst thing the Mets could do to not only Tebow, but to other minor leaguer players in their farm system is to quickly promote the former Gator through the system and bring him to the Major League's this year. Such a move would make the Mets look like a circus.
Playing and living baseball at the lowest level of affiliated ball is what Tebow needs. He needs to know what it is like to be a professional ball player. There are guys he will meet in Class-A that have been playing the game for well over a decade, if you count high school or college.
He will see guys get promoted and leave the clubhouse.
He will meet guys who have been demoted.
He will meet guys who have an axe to grind.
He will meet guys who don't like the fact that he is in their clubhouse.
He will ride the bus for hours at a time, cramped up in a seat with either a teammate or his bags next to him.
He will be exhausted.
He better be good at playing cards.
He will play day games after night games in 90 degree heat. (Especially those 11 a.m. games -- brutal).
He'll get benched if he doesn't hit lefties.
He'll play when the manager says he can play.
This is what Tim Tebow needs. There should be no free lunch. No circumventing of the system for Tebow because he was a Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback with a playoff win under his belt.
Tim Tebow, a 29-year-old former NFL quarterback, turned ESPN college analyst wants to be a true baseball player? Go out and prove it now.