It’s been no secret that Tim Tebow has been struggling at professional baseball the past few months. At least he was. Somehow, the former Heisman Trophy winner is quickly turning things around with the Columbia Fireflies. He was recently in the midst of an impressive hitting streak that saw him collect 9 hits in 20 at-bats. This lifted his batting average from a measly 0.156 to a more encouraging.246 (he’s currently sitting at .250).
Of course, that average in minor league baseball isn’t going to earn Tebow a promotion to the majors anytime soon, but it’s certainly a sign of progress. And if he continues at that pace, then it’s only a matter of time before he makes a move somewhere. If nothing else, this hot streak takes a bit of pressure off the athlete (even though he has said he doesn’t feel any), as it’s the first time in his new career that he’s shown he can perhaps catch onto the sport.
Initially, Tebow was attempting to receive an invitation to The Mets major league spring training squad. They ended up passing on that. Instead, he was sent to class A minor league baseball where he continued to struggle. Something things began clicking for him.
For fans wondering how Tebow has been able to get on a bit of a roll, the Fireflies manager, Jose Leger, clued in The State as to possibly why.
“He has been able to get his foot down on time, working on his timing, and it is finally paying off. He is more consistent. When you get a couple hits and find that rhythm at the plate, your confidence also grows. That is what has been happening.”
Of course, this momentum is going to lead to speculation that Tebow will soon find himself promoted. Leger also shared his thoughts on that.
“There are some guys who do really good who get taken away from me halfway through the year. Then there are guys that get taken away really early. It is hard to predict when it happens. A lot depends on what is happening in the level above. Whenever they decide it, he will be ready. He is just working hard and we are going day by day.”
This recent run has got to be satisfying for Tebow because the initial critical response to his attempt at baseball was brutal. One anonymous American League scout who watched his tryout was highly skeptical (to say the least), as he put it to USA TODAY.
“It was a complete waste of time. It was like watching an actor trying to portray a baseball player.”
Even if Tebow continues to find success in the minor leagues, he still has a long way to go to reach the majors. At 29-years-old, the odds are certainly stacked against him. Still, even if he never makes it, he’s helping minor league teams across the region see a giant increase in business at the moment. “Tebowmania” is definitely running loose. A recent game that he played at was expected to be attended by over 5,000 fans.
Perhaps only one player in the past couple of decades has inspired the kind of media attention that Tebow has received in the world of minor league baseball. That would be Michael Jordan, who also took to the sport late in his career. At the age of 31, Jordan played a single season with the Birmingham Barons (a Chicago White Sox affiliate). Unlike Tebow, he left his sport of choice on his own but quickly found himself back in the NBA when his baseball career was unlikely to pan out.
At the end of the year, Jordan only hit 0.202. However, he was on a Double-A squad, which is one league above where Tebow is currently at.
No matter what, hitting over.200 at any level of professional ball is quite an impressive feat. It’s even more surprising considering that Tebow has not played any level of the sport since 2005. That was when he was in high school. Time will tell if his hot streak is going to continue and if he will soon find himself with more aggressive competition.
[Featured Image by Sean Rayford/AP Images]