After becoming one of the Columbia Fireflies best fan draws, former NFL quarterback and now single-A baseball player Tim Tebow may be in line for a promotion, according to sources.
Tebow’s playing stats have been quite respectable, especially considers he is almost a decade older than many of his teammates.
The 29-year-old former Denver Bronco was signed to a minor league contract by the New York Mets this year and has been playing in South Carolina, achieving a 849 OPS over his last 16 games. Tebow has a .250/.330/.370 slash line with two homers and 11 RBIs in 28 games for Columbia, the New York Post reports.
His work on the diamond puts him in a solid position and the Mets have taken notice. According to sources, there is talk of bumping the player up to the next level in AA ball.
But, there is undoubtedly another reason for this consideration. After all, Tebow has become a major seat-filler for the Fireflies.
Tebow is helping the Fireflies break team attendance records this year as fans scramble to see their new favorite player. In fact, by some estimates, Tebow has booted attendance for the Fireflies by a whopping 92 percent.
Tim Tebow is boosting attendance by 92% in Columbia Fireflies road games according to @BaseballAmerica.
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayerMMO) May 12, 2017
And, Tebow hasn’t just helped the team he plays for bring fans to the stadium. He is a draw everywhere he goes.
“We had 4,500 people in the stands,” Hickory Crawdads season ticket holder Christopher Pack told the Associated Press this month, “and 4,300 were there to see Tim Tebow.”
The AP continued, saying, “People show up in Tebow’s NFL jerseys, and Florida Gator outfits, lining up around the rails in this intimate ballparks trying to get autograph or a selfie with Tebow.”
Tebow has been such a draw, even for other teams, that the Augusta, Georgia, GreenJackets found themselves scrambling to find enough concession workers to handle the crowd when Tebow came to town. On that day, 5,830 fans turned out to see Tebow play, well above the GreenJackets’ average of 3,190 fans.
Clearly the Mets want to bring that excitement to AA ball and thence to New York itself and the Majors if Tebow can continue playing at level.
This is all a far cry from the doubters who insisted that Tebow’s ideas of becoming a pro baseball player were the silly dreams of a silly man. Now, it appears that the Mets feel his capabilities are sustainable and that he is bringing fans to the stands in droves is a plus. It’s a one-two punch that can’t be denied.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.