Tim Tebow T-shirt Proving a Hit for the New York Mets’ Class A Affiliate
While many people have long doubted his ability to prove himself a proficient professional athlete, Tim Tebow can certainly say he has devout followers who are hoping the 29-year-old can continue to counter their slings and arrows long enough to fulfill his promise. Since September, the New York Mets organization has encouraged his switch from football to baseball, and fans have welcomed him warmly, as the Columbia Fireflies, the parent club’s Class A affiliate, announced Thursday that they had sold out of an adult-sized T-shirt bearing Tebow’s No. 15.
Tim Tebow merchandise! (ONLINE ONLY)
Adult sizes: https://t.co/soOUA59WLG
— Columbia Fireflies (@ColaFireflies) March 22, 2017
The items, which are now restocked, had become available only the day before, with the rapid purchases making apparent that South Carolina has developed Tebow Fever. The Fireflies, who will open their slate on April 6, will be giving supporters (and detractors, to be honest) a chance to see how well the 6-foot-3, 255-pound roster member fares in becoming the most scrutinized minor leaguer since basketball superstar Michael Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, the Chicago White Sox AA team, in 1994. Like the hoops hall of famer, who returned from his retirement to lead the Chicago Bulls to three NBA championships, six in total, Tebow has gained attention as a two-sport competitor, but, unlike Jordan, he has not enjoyed consistent regard as a performer.
“Sending him to a full-season club is what we hoped to be able to do,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said in a Newsday article. “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.”
The transition to baseball marks his return to the game after an 11-year absence. Tebow, who had last taken to baseball fields as a high schooler, had been hoping to prolong his pigskin career, having starred at the University of Florida, where he captured the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and a national title the next year, and having logged three seasons with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. However, following attempts to secure quarterback roles for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles and time as an SEC Network analyst, he opted for diamonds over gridirons, and the Fireflies’ website has picked up considerable traffic for its numerous articles on his progress.
Other squads within the South Atlantic League have gladly come down with a touch of Tebow mania, including the Lexington Legends, who are offering a 10-game ticket package in conjunction with the Fireflies’ May, June and July visits.
— Lexington Legends (@GoLexLegends) March 20, 2017
While this year will not find Tebow advancing all the way through the farm system to make the Mets, for whom he is batting .167 this spring, his persistence will pay off at least from a promotional point of view, where he and the Fireflies figure to slug their way to economic bragging rights among their peers, with the introduction of his jersey to come as a complement to the bestselling T-shirt.