I recently wrote a scathing article about how I really felt Tim Tebow did not have the tools to compete at the major league level. Hours after that post, the New York Mets announced that they would be giving the 29 year old rookie his first start as the designated hitter against the Boston Red Sox and defending AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. What a perfect scenario. I, like many, bought into this clear PR stunt and was not going to miss it.
So today for the first time in my life I sat down and watched a spring training game start to finish. Even the spring training games that I have been in attendance for in the past I have never seen through to the end. But this time was different. This time I would be able to see the Tebow saga first hand and confirm a suspicion that I have had for months and boy did the guy deliver. Tebow had close to the worst day that a designated hitter could possibly have out there. Strike out looking, ground into double play, hit by pitch only to be doubled up on questionable baserunning, and then he ended the day on another strike out without taking the bat off his shoulder. It was a pathetic attempt and the saddest part was even I, a devoted Tebow hater, was disappointed with just how bad it was.
There are a few cardinal sins that every little leaguer is taught to never commit on the diamond. Certain unwritten rules that have been treated as law from the beginning of time. I watched a grown man who still maintains he can make it as a big leaguer, break not just one but TWO of those rules today.
Rule 1: If you find yourself with two strikes, and a pitch looks close: SWING. DO NOT strike out looking.
I’ll even give him a break on the first at bat because that was a pretty bad call but the second strike out was clearly a strike. If you’re going to be stealing at bats from young guys who truly deserve it, at least swing.
Rule 2: When base running and there’s less than two outs, FREEZE on a line drive.
Tebow decided to take off about four steps before realizing the second baseman was going to catch it and double him off.
I’m sure there are people out there who are going to spin this and say I should give the guy a break but I just ask at what point can I start to criticize? There is no such thing as a defensive outfielder in baseball. You can get away with not being that great of a hitter in other positions but Tebow doesn’t have that luxury. He needs to learn to hit or get out of the way so other guys can start performing because at this point, while entertaining, standing there with the bat on his shoulder is wasting everyone’s time.