Tim Tebow’s home run in his first professional baseball at-bat was an electric moment for many sports fans and media. Not for Shannon Sharpe though. The co-host of The Undisputed on Fox Sports 1 complained Friday that Tebow shouldn’t even be allowed to play baseball.
“We’ve got to stop this,” Sharpe demanded. “Here’s a guy who is going to try every sport until he finds something he’s good at. How about he’s not good at anything.”
Sharpe complained about Tebow’s low batting averages in the 2016 Arizona Fall League and more recently in spring training. He asked his co-host Skip Bayless to help him understand Tebow’s transition from pro football to pro baseball. “At what point in time do people say, ‘You know what, Tim? Your run is up.'”
ESPN writer David Schoenfeld described Tebow's transition to baseball with the Columbia Fireflies (Class A affiliate of the New York Mets) as “essentially nothing more than a cheap marketing stunt to sell a few extra jerseys.”
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Schoenfeld also wrote “We can’t quit on you, Tim Tebow,” and reported that only two former Fireflies’ players have ever made it to the major leagues. So that renders moot the claim by some in the media that Tebow is stealing the roster spot of a more deserving prospect. His piece concluded that Tebow struck out three times and grounded out after he homered in the season opener and is not a legitimate prospect.
Sports Illustrated posted a video of Tebow’s home run. The ball bounced from the stands back into the field of play, and as an outfielder threw the ball back to the infield Tebow stopped at second base. The umpire then rules it’s a homer and waves Tebow around the bases. Sports Illustrated posted a second video showing Tebow run from second to home plate, along with the snarky comment: “Here is another view to confirm it really happened. … We’re as confused as you are, and as he perhaps was.”
David Newton, an ESPN staff writer, was kinder to Tebow. His story featured the positive headline “Tim Tebow’s debut gives fans what they wanted: heroics.” Newton quoted Fireflies manager Jose Leger saying, “Special things happen to special people. This was a special moment.” He also quoted Mikel Bulger, a Tebow fan attending the season opener, who said, “He’ll be good for the game. I just know it.” And then Newton added, “He was on this night.”
An NFL writer, Dan Hanzus, also offered some praise for Tebow.
“You have to give the man credit: Tebow might be a fatally flawed player no matter which professional sport he pursues, but he possesses a rare brand of competitive DNA that allows him to create a moment.” What Tebow “brings physically is just enough to occasionally summon special moments. That's The Gift. He'll always have that.”