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Tim Tebow and the Merit Based Promotion

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Tim Tebow practices his swing during batting practice on Sept. 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Photo: Wilfredo Lee, AP Photo

A 29-year-old minor league outfielder hitting .222, averaging more than a strike out per game, and with a .870 fielding percentage (that’s truly awful for those not up on fielding statistics) while playing in a Low-A league just got promoted to a High-A team. Who cares? Lots of people. Because the player in question is named Tim Tebow.

Tebow is by all accounts a very nice fellow but the minor leagues are virtually empty of players of his age and skills. He might well be the worst prospect in all of baseball based on his age, experience, and statistics. Yet, it all comes down to something very simple. Tebow was promoted for merit. Not the quality of his baseball playing skills but on his ticket selling skills.

That certainly seems unfair to many. To others it appears quite wonderful.

I can guarantee you it feels biased to another player on the Columbia Fireflies with better statistics who is still playing at the lower level. I can tell you it feels quite fair to the St. Lucie Mets organization who will see their attendance rise. I well imagine the other organization in the league are going to be pleased by their corresponding increase in ticket sales when Tebow is visiting. I can also guarantee many of the players at St. Lucie won’t like the fact they have a strike-out machine and bad fielder on their team as opposed to someone who could help them more. Meanwhile pitchers for other teams are going to be happy to pad their strikeout statistics while playing St. Lucie.

One of the main factors in the newsworthiness of this is the nature of Tebow and his Christian faith. There are a lot of people who are fans of Tebow, mainly because of his outspoken faith. Many of these people would not care about a poor hitting, bad fielding minor leaguer if it wasn’t for his religious beliefs. They wouldn’t be going to see him play baseball in such numbers if it wasn’t for this factor.

So, who is right? Were the Mets right to promote Tebow? Wrong?

The answer is there isn’t a right or a wrong in all of this. The Mets can promote whoever they want for whatever reason they want. And you can complain or praise the move as much as you want.

And, by the way, when Tebow was questioned about the promotion, he simply said it wasn’t his decision. He goes where he’s told and plays as well as he can. And that’s an excellent answer.

By Tom Liberman

Tom Liberman is a regular fellow from St. Louis, Mo., who enjoys spending time with his wonderful family and great friends. He writes Sword and Sorcery fantasy novels in his spare time. 

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