If you haven’t been living under a rock the last two years, you know that Tim Tebow, former Hesiman Trophy winner, college football national champ, and NFL quarterback, is now playing professional baseball.
If you have been living under a rock, well here you go: Tim Tebow is now playing professional baseball.
Spending the entire 2018 campaign thus far in the Eastern League with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (AA Mets), Tim made his way to Harrisburg this week to take on the Harrisburg Senators (AA Nationals) at FNB Field on City Island.
My co-founder of baseball desk, Doug Condran, and I went to the game to take it all in, here’s what we experienced.
Last night I walked into a Minor League Baseball dream. A Wednesday night match-up between the Harrisburg Senators and Binghamton Rumble Ponies is hardly anything to write home about… on most nights. However, last night was a little different. A crowd of 8,306 humans and 146 dogs clung to their seats in anticipation to catch a glimpse of the former Heisman Trophy Winner and 2x National Champion, Tim Tebow.
The walk up to the ballpark was incredible, something that felt like game seven of an all-time classic series. The stadium was packed, food lines were wrapped around food lines, and seasonal staff were hawking “Tim Tebow souvenir programs” like light beer at a Nickelback concert. This was a true spectacle unlike anything I have ever seen- and it was amazing for Minor League Baseball.
Promotions, theme nights, and giveaways are the life-blood of an organization’s attendance goal. However, an appearance by someone as transcendent as Tim Tebow will crush those ambitions every time, not to mention he was actually playing in the game. On that note, any team that hosts Tebow and the Rumble Ponies this year is not complaining, thanks in large part to a nice attendance boost. Fortunately, for the Senators, Christmas has come early with arrival of Tim Tebow this week in Harrisburg.
As I got to my seat, Tebowmania had quieted down as he took a seat on the bench with the night off. Baseball was played, promotions were run like usual, and casual fans were conversing about everything but baseball. That is, until mayhem broke loose in the top half of the 8th inning when Tebow strode toward the on-deck circle and was announced as a pinch-hitter. I can say with the utmost certainty a career minor-leaguer with a .230 batting average never drew this much applause.
He moseyed to the plate for a critical at-bat that had actual implications on 1-0 game, with 2 runners on and no outs.
Fans rose to their feet and collectively snapped pictures and videos of his every move. In what felt like the biggest at-bat in baseball history, Tebow walked after fouling off several pitches to the tune of oohs and aahs from the crowd.
If you thought that was good, he advanced to 2nd on a base-hit by a teammate that drove in 2 runs. A few batters later, Tebow tagged up and scored on a sac-fly.
Fans were ecstatic, saw everything they had hoped to see, and then proceeded to exit the gates faster than they came in. Some fans laughed, others took pictures of the exodus. Some missed maybe one of the best catches you will ever see in baseball on a diving play by the centerfielder. The worst part is that catch drew half the applause of Tebow!
I cannot lie, I too, was one of the fans that left after Tebow crossed home plate. I could not tell you the final score of the game, nor do I care to know, because it really did not matter. Last night was a win for everyone in attendance, because they got exactly what they paid for- a memory and story to tell for the rest of their lives. That is the biggest win baseball could ask for, thanks to Tebowmania.
Doug Condran is the Box Office Manager for the Lancaster Barnstormers and the founder of Baseball Desk. Follow him on Twitter @Dougmore_23
Alex Einhorn is the Game Presentation Manager and On-Field Host for the Lancaster Barnstormers and the founder of Baseball Desk. Follow him on Twitter @EinhornTweets