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The return of Tebow-mania

<p>Tim Tebow is now trying to make it as a baseball player after playing in the NFL for multiple years.</p>

Tim Tebow is now trying to make it as a baseball player after playing in the NFL for multiple years.

The New York Mets just signed a 29-year old who has not played organized baseball since he was a junior in high school to a $100,000 signing bonus, and he also gets weekends off.

Keep in mind that Mike Trout—the 2014 American League MVP and the 25th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft—garnered more than 12 times as much for his draft signing bonus. Just 12 times as much for a first-round pick who provides much more than 12 times as much value on the field as this player, who can't play during weekends because of a lucrative side job with ESPN and the SEC Network. 

Yes, this is the life of Tim Tebow—the former NFL quarterback who could not land a roster spot despite leading the Denver Broncos to a playoff win in 2012. Now, with football not working out, Tebow is trying to make it in baseball.

And the Mets gave him $100,000? What were they thinking?

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson actually made a calculated decision. Regardless of whether Tebow actually makes it to the MLB—he’s currently slated to join the Mets Instructional League team this fall—the former Heisman trophy winner will probably make Alderson’s $100,000 gamble pay off.

At least, economically speaking.

During spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Tebow should find his way onto the field, which happens to be not too far away from where the former quarterback made a name for himself in Gainesville while starring at Florida. Count on a large contingency of fans to travel—more than normal for a typical spring training game in the heat of the NBA and NHL playoff races—just to see Tebow on the field, just like they did when Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball.

Sure, Tebow will stick out like a sore thumb, but not in a bad way. Along with Tebow comes the enormous fan base that spreads Tebow-mania. Even the media loves covering Tebow, and his ESPN influence will definitely not hurt. Especially during spring training, which generally tends to be much more easygoing than the regular season, the craze of Tebow-mania can only be fun. After all, remember when Will Ferrell played all nine positions in one day last year during spring training?

Also, don’t be shocked if Tebow’s jersey sales—and even plain Mets spring training jerseys—skyrocket up sales leaderboards. In addition to higher viewership, jersey sales will likely increase—fans can already buy Tebow jerseys and other memorabilia—all because of a player who seems destined to be a career minor-leaguer who plays weekday games.

It’s not like Tebow is a bad role model for fans to emulate, either. Off the field, his name usually comes up for doing things like leading a prayer on a plane for a passenger who had a heart attack, his devout Christianity, or his work on ESPN. The crazed “Tebowing” phenomenon that enveloped the nation a few years ago was completely harmless, with people around the world copying Tebow’s famous praying position.

These benefits all come without even considering the unlikely possibility that Tebow eventually makes an impact on the field for the Mets.

Although MLB scouts rated most of Tebow’s attributes below average at his individual workout, there is always a chance. After all, Tebow’s sheer strength and size—he checks in at 6-foot-3 and weighs 255 pounds—led scouts to rate him as an above-average major league power hitter. Tebow also has above-average speed, something that always comes in handy as an outfielder.

Realistically, Tebow will not advance beyond Double-A in the minor leagues. But who cares? 

Even if he doesn’t, Tebow can only be a positive for the Mets, even if he is worth $100,000 to only play on weekdays.

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