Greason: Mets disappoint by signing Tim Tebow
Elizabeth Greason | Friday, September 16, 2016
I should probably preface everything I’m about to say with the fact that I am a die-hard Mets fan.
Baseball was the first sport I ever had a second thought about. I was fascinated by the wide array of Mets paraphernalia that my dad, a Queens boy and lifelong Mets fan, had maintained through the years.
My favorite number is 21, not because it is my birth date, but because it was the number that ex-Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado sported. I named our dog Shea in memoriam of my beloved team’s first stadium.
For as long as I can remember, the Mets have been a stand-up organization. They practice hard, lose a lot of games, occasionally pull off a stellar season, and maintain a staunch fan base. Mets fans are not fair-weather fans because in the team’s 54-year history, there hasn’t been a whole lot of fair weather. Mets players, unlike their counterparts on another New York baseball team, are rarely splashed across the headlines of the New York Post for their latest off-the-field antics. They play baseball, do well-publicized community service, and never stop smiling, no matter what their record is. And while this idealized image of my team is one that I’ve carried with me, it’s one that I like to think it a reasonably accurate representation of the Mets, at least in comparison to some other MLB clubs.
But right now, I’m disappointed in my team.
I can honestly say that, before last week, I had been disappointed in the Mets twice in my life. The first time was when the Mets traded Xavier Nady right before the deadline in 2006, when I was eight. I had developed an inexplicable attachment to Nady after watching him hit a home run to give the Mets the lead against the Pirates a few weeks before. (In my defense, my disappointment turned out to be warranted, since, in return for Nady, the Mets received pitcher Oliver Perez, the thorn in the side of every Mets fan). The second time was when the Mets made the decision to let go of third base coach and bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr., of whom I could do a killer impression. To be honest, I cried when I found out that I would no longer be able to frantically wave players home, just like Alomar.
Last Thursday, however, I added another disappointment to that short list when the Mets signed Tim Tebow to a minor league contract. Now, I have nothing against Tim Tebow. I’m of the opinion that he was an extremely talented football player who never got a fair shot in the NFL. The Denver Broncos made the playoffs with him playing quarterback, so he couldn’t have been too terrible, and you can’t really blame the Broncos for trading up to an all-time great in Peyton Manning.
It’s impossible to argue that Tim Tebow is not a great athlete. He is. But I am truly skeptical about whether he can or will be a great or even a moderately successful professional baseball player. I agree with Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson’s assertion that, no matter what his baseball career turns out to be, Tebow will be a strong leader and a good influence on his much younger teammates. But I’m simply not sure I believe Alderson’s claim that Tebow’s contract has nothing to do with publicity, good or bad.
I wanted Tebow to be signed by a team. I just didn’t want it to be my team. I didn’t want to be disillusioned by the fact that my Mets are not, as I like to think, above publicity stunts.
I want Tim Tebow to succeed with the Mets. I want him to end up in Mets’ record books next to the likes of Seaver and Piazza. I’ll be completely supportive if he pulls an Endy Chavez and make highlight reels across the country with “the Catch.” But, at the moment, until I am proved otherwise, I genuinely cannot believe that Tim Tebow was signed with the expectation that he will do much more than bring camera crews trailing after him to Port St. Lucie, Florida.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.