While Tim Tebow hasn’t put a lot of homerun balls in the stands, he has put a lot of fans there.
In his time with the Columbia Fireflies, the Single-A affiliate of the New York Mets, Tim Tebow carries a .211 batting average with only twelve hits and two homeruns. This means that although the Mets have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league this year, Tebow’s chances of playing for the Mets any time soon are not glowing red hot.
However, despite his awful numbers, a ticket to see Tebow play has become the hottest ticket in town. According to the Post & Courier:
“Even though we know Tim Tebow’s college record and what he did to the Gamecocks when he came to Williams-Brice, there’s not this, ‘I’m not going to see Tim Tebow play because I hate Tim Tebow.’ It’s nothing that’s stopping people from coming out to see him play,” said Fireflies President John Katz. “I think, overwhelmingly, people want to see him succeed.”
That appears to be the case in Columbia, which entering this week led the SAL in average attendance at 5,787 per game — 2,000 a night more than last year, the Fireflies’ inaugural season. That appears the case on the road, where Tebow has played before sellout crowds in cities like Augusta and Rome, Ga.
It’s apparent in the fans who’ve turned out in Florida, Broncos or even Jets jerseys and crowd for one of the hundreds of autographs he signs each week.
Will those fans continue to turn out if Tebow’s numbers don’t improve? The novelty of merely seeing Tebow will presumably give way, over the course of 70 home games, to wanting to see Tebow perform some feat of baseball excellence.
However, given the ever-present plethora of Florida, Broncos, and Jets jerseys at Fireflies games, it’s clear that the fans coming to these games are fans of Tebow the man, not necessarily Tebow the baseball player.
Tebow the baseball player in all likelihood won’t be around much longer. Tebow the legend who draws people from near and far just to have a chance to get a shirt signed? That guy, apparently, isn’t going anywhere.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn