Get Up is a morning television show about sports and, more importantly, a bottomless well of content from which media writers can build think pieces. Against all odds, I’ve yet to form a strong opinion on the program, which may portend bad things for the future as it is very important to take a side on this issue. Thankfully, that all changed this morning when Paul Hembekides, a researcher affectionately known as “Hembo,” dropped a take so scalding it put the structural integrity of ESPN’s fancy new Seaport studio in jeopardy.
Tim Tebow is the most popular active baseball player.
Full disclosure: I did not hear it live nor have I seen video. But I know it happened because the show promoted Michelle Beadle’s understandably stone-faced reaction to the assertion.
Tremendous non-verbal contribution there. Perhaps her most important work to date.
This idea that Tebow, a AA player (and current ESPN employee, don’t forget that) in the New York Mets organization is more popular than all other major leaguers is so far out there it’s tough to know where to start.
I’d first point out that few people could even name the team he plays for (Binghamton Rumble Ponies) or have a working knowledge of his play day in and day out (.167/.167/.333 through 5 games). Most follow his exploits solely through blog posts when he happens to hit a home run and it’s treated as a monumental sporting event worthy of marquee editorial placement. Does that scream popularity?
Then let’s consider the regional nature of baseball and ask if Tebow is even the most popular player in the Mets organization. The answer, of course, is no. He may not even be one of the 10 most beloved players. I’d posit he is not the most popular in any of the 30 markets, even the ones with miserable teams.
So unless he’s enjoying cult-like status among fans who don’t have a favorite team (rare), he’s not even in the conversation.
A sane argument could be made that Tebow has the most name recognition among active baseball players. But that comes from being a football player. And let’s not forget that Tebow was far from a universally beloved quarterback. There were plenty who didn’t much care for him.
In conclusion, I want to thank Hembo for his good work getting me riled up and talking about the show. Mission accomplished. It was nice to feel something.