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Don’t mock Tim Tebow for playing baseball

03.08.17 at 1:07 pm ET

Don’t mock Tim Tebow for pursuing a career in baseball.

Tebow will make his Spring Training debut against the Red Sox Wednesday, starting at DH for the Mets in a split-squad game in Port St. Lucia, Fla. It’s the most relevant game of the Grapefruit League calendar, but yet, some of the beat writers seem less than enthused about all of the hoopla at the ballpark.

Ten years after Tebowmania first entered our lives, ridiculing the former Heisman trophy winner is passé and stale. While Tebow’s pious public persona may first come across as self-indulgent, it’s apparent his charitable efforts are genuine. This year, his foundation is planning 375 proms across the country for special needs kids. He also says he wants to adopt at least one child from every continent, in order to embrace diversity.

“I think when you look at God’s family, it’s not about color,” he said, via PEOPLE. “Love knows no color. I want my kids to grow up with an appreciation for every single person, no matter what they look like. That’s what unity looks like to me: knowing that you can love people who aren’t the same as you are. I want to teach that message to my kids; I want them to live it.”

Does that sound like a phony to you?

Tebow never asked for all of this attention. When he held a workout last year, not a single MLB team was obligated to show up. But almost all of them did, sending nearly 40 scouts in total. The Mets eventually signed Tebow to a minor league contract and dispatched him to the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .194 in 71 plate appearances with 20 strikeouts. But apparently, they thought highly enough of his performance to invite him to Major League camp.

Make no mistake: there’s probably a marketing component here as well. But that’s not Tebow’s problem. After flaming out in the NFL, he wants to try his hand at baseball. He’s not responsible for the circus he attracts.

Assuming Tebow makes it out of Spring Training, he’ll probably start the season in the lower levels of the minor leagues. That means there’s a chance he’ll be sent to either Kingsport, Tenn. (Rookie League Mets) or Columbia, South Carolina (Low-A Columbia Fireflies). If Tebow is just looking for publicity, there are easier ways to attain it than riding buses throughout the Southeast during the hot summer months.

During the sleepy months of Spring Training, there are few stories more intriguing than a former Heisman trophy winner and first-round NFL pick trying his hand at baseball. Anybody who doesn’t recognize that is being obtuse.

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