Tim Tebow played baseball for two of the New York Mets’ minor league teams this year. And he did much better than most expected, hitting. 226 with eight homers and 52 RBI. Not bad for a guy who took a decade off to pursuit a silly little football dream.
That he didn’t embarrass himself was a nice perk for the Mets. It prevented the experiment from turning into a freak show and allowed fans to dream that maybe — just maybe — the proven winner could will his way to the big leagues by sheer force of character. As predicted, he was a great boon for the teams he played for, their opponents, and merchandisers.
He was the human version of Ray Kinsella’s magical baseball field and people came, Ray. They came in droves. ESPN’s Darren Rovell is on it:
The Columbia Fireflies, the team Tebow played for through June 28, saw their attendance increase by nearly 54,000 fans, a 21 percent rise from 2016. The second team Tebow played for, the St. Lucie Mets, saw attendance rise by 35,803 fans, up 37 percent from last year.
On the road, Tebow’s Fireflies drew a crowd, too: to be exact, 2,591 more fans than the home teams averaged against other opponents. Baseball America calculated that Tebow was worth nearly $1.6 million in additional tickets, parking, concessions and other revenue.
The Fireflies paid Tebow $10,000 in salary, making this an obvious choice for biggest minor league value. Good luck figuring out the second-biggest minor league value.
Tebow’s greatest skill was always going to be his ability to put butts in the seats. It appears he excelled in that department during year one. There’s no reason to think his drawing power will be any less during the sophomore campaign.
As for that .226 average and .347 slugging percentage? Remains to be seen.