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Tim Tebow’s broken hand and fractured baseball future

Tim Tebow to the Mets in September? Not with a broken bone in his hand that required surgery today and no doubt ended his baseball season                              

Almost the worst that could happen for the 30-year-old former All-America football star who hadn’t played baseball since his All-State junior year in high school

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

It looks like Tim Tebow won’t be getting a September call-up from the New York Mets after all.

The former football All-America and Heisman Trophy winner while playing for the University of Florida, he spent a few seasons playing in the NFL and then decided to return to baseball, something he hadn’t done since his All-State high school days in the Sunshine State.

The Mets first placed him with the Rookie League Brooklyn Cyclones in Coney Island, advanced him next to Single A and then to Double A. His popularity and personality was welcomed in every clubhouse, he never hesitated to sign autographs, he was just one of the guys.

Everything was going well, he even thought he’d be called up in September by the parent club. But not now, for a broken hand has sidelined him, and on Tuesday he had surgery.

“A real bummer,” he said on Monday. “I broke the hamates bone in my (right) hand swinging the bat this weekend, now I’m likely out for the season.”

For all the naysayers who said that Tebow wouldn’t be able to cut it in baseball at age 30, he hasn’t been that bad. He hasn’t exactly been tearing up the minor leagues the last two seasons, but he hasn’t embarrassed himself either.

In AA this season, he was hitting .293 with six home runs and 36 RBI. He was named to the All-Star team, but he also has more strikeouts (229) then hits (171), and has homered 14 times in 210 games.

But he brings fans, and this has been true with every team the Mets assigned him to. He’s popular, a truly nice modest guy, and he was happy to be playing baseball again. He starred in Little League and high school, but did not play it for the Gators.

While the Mets’ Tebow experiment looked like the perfect place for him, nothing much has gone right for the franchise. Injuries and more injuries, constant call-ups from AAA Las Vegas, and presently the Mets are at 40-56, the fewest wins in the National League.

So now it’s either release Tebow or wait out the injury. It’s no secret that Mets’ fans would like to see him play in New York, but it’s in limbo for now.

It brings back the time when basketball great Michael Jordan decided to play baseball again after retiring from hoops.

He was signed by the Chicago White Sox, but at each stop his batting average never went higher than .188, he played the outfield, threw well, and brought in crowds, especially when he was called up once by the Sox. Like Tebow, he hadn’t played baseball since his high school years, and it showed.

Only the elite Bo Jackson could be equally adept in more than one major sport. The same for Jackie Robinson and Jim Brown.

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