With the NFL Scouting Combine coming to an end last week, the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are heading into the fourth week of their MLB Spring Training schedule.
Baseball. America’s Pastime.
After pitchers and catchers report in mid-February and the position players arriving close behind, the month of March is always full of promise for April’s regular season start. From players returning after season-ending surgeries, to those who tread the velvet green of a major-league stadium’s turf for the first time.
Besides the nuances of the game itself, what has long been interesting are the multi-cultural influences of this sport’s participants; and this year, the inclusion of a Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL Quarterback.
Hitting nine homers in batting practice during his first workout, maybe Tim Tebow will be able to showcase his athleticism in a different New York neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the relative anonymity enjoyed by the vast majority of spring training invitees has not been granted Tebow.
No matter how far he goes in the MLB, it doesn’t matter he went 0-3 in his debut as a Designated Hitter. He will be forever remembered for striding up to the Boston Red Sox’ on-deck circle thinking he should take his swings there, as a left-handed hitter. The New York press has been predictably vicious.
But Mets Manager Terry Collins, in his post-game press conference said:
What he’s attempting to do, not a lot of guys would even try. I salute the fact that he’s giving it his best. You can see his hands are all taped up from blisters from swinging. So he means business.
It takes guts to step outside of one’s comfort zone with the knowledge that ridicule will likely follow. So perhaps Tebow never played Little League and learned the game’s basics. He may not make the regular season roster, but we can all take his cue about bravery.
In a crossover of another sort, Belfast-born southpaw P.J. Conlon also received a coveted Spring Training invite to the New York Met’s newly minted First Data Field (formerly Tradition Field) in Port St. Lucie, Florida. There’s a good deal of expected buzz about his ERA – the lowest in the minors.
Perhaps this sometimes-beleaguered team could do with the luck of the Irish and a little Tebow-style prayer. “Ya Gotta Believe!” ~ Tug McGraw