Columbia is the Mets low-ball affiliate, which is one notch above the rookie level, and four more levels to go before reaching the Major League level.
“Tim Tebow will bring major excitement and national attention to the Fireflies and city of Columbia,” said Fireflies’ president John Katz. “Baseball fans, sports fans and Tim Tebow fans will likely come from around the southeast to see him play. We expect this to add to the energy at Spirit Communications Park and around downtown Columbia, especially during our opening weekend.”
The regular season for the Fireflies will start on April 6, 3 days after the Mets open their 2017 season against the against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. It’s not yet known fully who all of Tebow’s teammates will be, but some of them will for be among the top prospects in the Mets minor league system.
Tebow appeared in 8 games for the Mets this spring, where he batted .200/.238/.200 over 20 at-bats. Tebow’s fielding was also a positive sign for someone who’s been out of baseball as long as he says, as he was able to catch a few fly balls playing the outfield for the Mets in spring action.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the hope was to get Tebow in a full-season league, and that’s what they were able to do by assigning him to Columbia:
“Sending him to a full season club is what we hoped to be able to do,” Alderson said to Newsday’s Marc Carig on Monday. “And based on what he’s done in spring training, and his whole body of work since last fall, we feel comfortable with him going to Columbia.”
Perhaps Tebow’s biggest supporter in professional baseball right now is Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, who said back in February that Tebow can make it in professional baseball because of his power stroke:
“This isn’t like a joke, this isn’t a publicity stunt,” Murphy recently said to ESPN’s Marty Smith, who attended one of his training sessions with Tebow before Murphy reported to Nationals camp in West Palm Beach. “This is serious. Like, they’re giving you a job, and when they give you a job, it’s at-bats that someone else is not getting.”
“From a baseball perspective, power pays,” said Murphy. “Power arms, power bats pays. You’re never out of a ballgame when you have power, that’s why it’s so unique. So somebody gets on base, a walk, base hit and somebody goes deep, now that’s three, a three-pointer, right there. So power allows you to stay in the game for a long time and it’s so unique to find.”
Tebow is attempting to do something we haven’t seen in awhile – an athlete being able to play in two different sports. Tebow of course had a NFL career that featured the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles all giving him a chance.
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