It’s always nice to see good things happening for good people, and by all accounts, Tim Tebow is a good person.
Tebow is the Heisman Trophy winner who was shunned by the National Football League because his “taking a knee” on the sidelines – not to protest, but to give thanks to God – was deemed “too controversial.”
(Let’s be honest. We know that’s the real reason.)
Even then, he goes on to give proms for kids with handicaps, and starts a foundation that spans needs from a children’s hospital in the Philippines to orphan care and adoption aid grants in nations all over the world.
He’s also the guy who didn’t let being shut out of the NFL end his dreams.
He just picked up a new dream and began again with baseball.
When the Mets signed Tebow to a $100,000 contract, then placed him with their Minor League affiliate, the Columbia Fireflies, there were a lot of naysayers. How could he go from football to baseball? He was too big, too bulky, and wouldn’t be able to make the transition.
Since that time, he not only has made the transition, but he’s proving to be the most lucrative draw in the Minor Leagues.
The Mets and Columbia Fireflies gave him a chance, and it is paying off for them.
According to ESPN.com:
For Tebow’s team, the Columbia Fireflies, attendance is up more than 30 percent this year versus this time last year. Like Jordan’s appearances did for the Southern League teams in 1994 (total league attendance that year topped 2.5 million fans), Tebow’s presence has had an even more significant effect on the road for Class A South Atlantic League teams like the Lakewood BlueClaws.
For most road stops, having Tebow come to town is worth a doubling in attendance compared to a standard game. At its extreme, it’s even more. The Hickory Crawdads drew more fans for the four games against the Fireflies (17,500) than they had for their first eight games leading up to the series (15,900). If Tebow stays the whole season in the league, road teams would see an additional cumulative $3.1 million from his presence, Baseball America calculated.
It could be that Tebow has maintained a kind of humility that makes him a fan favorite.
Fans are driving from hours away to see him play.
They wait in long lines, and he, in a recent outing, stayed to oblige them all, signing baseballs and posing for “selfies,” even as a handler tried to lure him back to the dugout.
And it’s not just the Fireflies who are benefitting. Teams that they face are benefitting, as well.
On Monday, 8,180 people showed up to see Tebow, who played in the first game of a doubleheader. Lakewood was averaging 4,848 fans prior to Tebow’s appearance.
Next week, the Lexington Legends will welcome Tebow and the Fireflies for the first time this season with a four-game homestand. By the end of it, Tebow might start recognizing people in the crowd. The team sold a package ($99 for box seats, $129 for field box) to fans to buy all 11 of Tebow’s games in Lexington.
The goal now is to get Tebow better at the game.
In 31 games, he is batting .227 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
Jason Freier, owner of the Fireflies, is pleased with the draw, so far.
It’s a bit of a dilemma for Freier. He wants Tebow to do well, but if he does too well, Columbia might lose him.
Freier recognizes that he has a real commodity, here. Tebow’s fans are loyal.
Currently, they have eight different Tebow jerseys on sale. Between that, and ticket sales, they’re seeing a profit that is unlike anything they’d seen before.
It may not be Tebow’s first choice, but he’s making the most of where he is now.
This is called a blessing.
You can check out Tebow’s work with the Tim Tebow Foundation at this link.
You can also check out his baseball schedule here.