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Tim Tebow has much to prove as a baseball player

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Primary Election Day dominated the news in Florida on Tuesday. The sports world went on, but few stories received significant attention.

One of those was Tim Tebow’s showcase for Major League Baseball scouts. It’s fair to say he didn’t “wow” those who judge talent for the 30 teams, but he did a few things worthy of mention.

The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” fits well for the former quarterback.

“It was a complete waste of time,” according to an unidentified American League scout quoted by USA Today. “He tried. He tried. That’s the best I can say.”

A National League scout had a slightly different view.

“Better than I expected, to be honest,” he said. “That’s a big dude for as fast as he can run.”

One thing scouts agreed upon was Tebow’s natural raw power.

An evaluation posted by Fox Sports showed Tebow with a 70 power rating (the range is 20-80). Much of that came from the 430-foot home run he hit during his hitting display.

He was graded as having average to slightly-above-average speed. The skill that haunted him in the NFL was the ability to throw, and baseball scouts graded him below average on Tuesday. His glove work was also rated below average, but showed the aptitude to improve.

Why is he trying to make a go of it in baseball?

“There’s been two things that I love most in sports,” he said after the workout. “One was playing quarterback having 10 other guys look at you and depend on you to win a game, and the second is [to] hit a baseball.”

To be sure, Tebow has a big mountain to climb. Even most of the pitchers in the lowest levels of the minor leagues are miles better than most of those he saw at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra.

In some ways it is reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s attempt to play professional baseball more than 20 years ago. Despite the athletic ability of the six-time NBA champion, he was not able to earn success even in the minor leagues.

Jordan likely would not even have been given the opportunity without Chicago Bulls’ co-owner Jerry Reinsdorf.  As co-owner of the Chicago White Sox, he helped give Jordan the opportunity with Chicago’s farm team in Birmingham, Alabama.

Tebow would not seem to have such a benefactor. Sources say he was offered a contract to play in the Venezuelan winter league. The level of talent in the winter leagues would likely overwhelm him.

A better option might be to hook on with a team in one of the independent leagues. These teams consist of players not drafted or released by professional organizations.

Those teams are always looking at ways to sell tickets, and a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback would be good for a few extra — at least for awhile. If he can play there, then take the next step.

 

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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