Sportress of Blogitude

Rob Manfred weighs in on Mets’ Tim Tebow experiment

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It was met with great fanfare — or considerable eye-rolling — from the sporting public when the New York Mets announced the organization had signed Tim Tebow to a minor league contract. Count MLB commissioner Rob Manfred among those who believe the grand Tim Tebow Experiment is a great thing for baseball.

Tebow’s glorified workout in front of scouts prior to his deal with the Mets — as well as his subsequent appearance in the instructional league (.286, 1 HR, two RBI, two walks in three games) — drew mostly decent reviews from the experts, although not from all.

The Mets announced this week Tebow will play in the Arizona Fall League, reporting Sunday to the Scottsdale Scorpions. Given the Mets’ decision, the case can be made the team sees something in the former NFL quarterback worth investigating.

Whatever ultimately comes of Tebow’s fledgling pro baseball career obviously remains to be seen, as a mere appearance in the Arizona Fall League means very little in the grand scheme of things. But Manfred nevertheless believes the Tebow Experiment should and will pay dividends.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Manfred said, via NJ Advanced Media’s Brendan Kuty. “We need to attract the best athletes to our game. He’s obviously a great athlete. Hopefully it turns out that he’s a great baseball player.”

Manfred was asked about how Tebow is allowed to continue working for ESPN as he pursues his professional baseball dreams.

“We’ve had situations in the past where you’ve had people, multi-sport people, people in other careers where teams have made accommodations during a period of time where you’re trying to figure out whether they’re really going to be major league players,” he said.

Tebow called his time in the instructional league “fun and productive” and looks forward to using the Fall League “as an opportunity to improve.” He called his experiences in baseball so far “a blessing and a great opportunity.”

And it brought a lot of eyes to an MLB team’s instructional league, not to mention the Arizona Fall League. That’s good for baseball, even if the attention on Tebow’s minor league foray arguably is more than what’s warranted.