Remember Tim Tebow? Of course you do.Any American and probably a great deal of sports fans from overseas can't forget the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national championship quarterback from the University of Florida, his brief NFL career that included a playoff victory for the Broncos, and his ensuing
Remember Tim Tebow? Of course you do.
Any American and probably a great deal of sports fans from overseas can't forget the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national championship quarterback from the University of Florida, his brief NFL career that included a playoff victory for the Broncos, and his ensuing philanthropic work and broadcasting career.
The latest news involving the 29-year-old who somehow always seems to be in the news is that he wants to give professional baseball a try and will take the first step toward that dream on Tuesday in Los Angeles when he holds a showcase in front of Major League scouts. He was to face two recent big league right-handers in David Aardsma and Chad Smith, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported.
And the intrigue surrounding that tryout was heightened late Monday night when the Aguilas del Zulia, a five-time champion of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League and two-time Caribbean Series winner, offered Tebow a contract to play with them this winter in a league filled with Major Leaguers and up-and-coming prospects.
While there have been skeptics about Tebow's baseball future, it's clear that the 6-foot-3, 245 pound former footballer has many who believe in him.
"To play the position of quarterback, you have to be able to do just about everything athletically," said former Major League shortstop and fellow Florida alum David Eckstein. "And I would love to see him playing baseball. The one thing you know about Tim Tebow is he's going to give you every ounce of whatever he's got, and that type of person, with the right skill set, would become a superstar in our game."
And you can be sure that even those who doubt Tebow are still curious about how he'll do in front of MLB evaluators. Here's a brief checklist of things to know about Tebow's Tuesday showcase:
• When and where? Tebow will work out on a baseball field in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday morning, according to his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA. The workout will not be open to the public, but MLB.com and other media entities are expected to cover the event.
• Why baseball? Tebow played baseball at Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla., and hit .494 as an all-state outfielder in 2005. The Angels considered drafting him, but then-scout Tom Kotchman, who's now with the Red Sox, said Tebow never returned his information card. But Tebow has said recently that he's always loved the game and wants to give it a shot.
• What will happen at the workout? Tebow is expected to run the bases, possibly do a 60-yard dash or similar speed test, catch fly balls, take regular batting practice and hit off a live pitcher or two. Morosi reported that at least half of the 30 Major League teams will have scouts in attendance. The clubs that reportedly will be there include the Braves, Royals, Dodgers, Angels, Marlins, Brewers, Red Sox, Mariners, Reds, Tigers, Indians, Twins, Yankees, Phillies, Rangers, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Padres.
• Does he have a shot? Most people around the game think it's a big longshot, but only time will tell, and Tuesday is an important first step. If Tebow shines in his showcase and lands a pro contract, that just starts the long, tough grind from the lowest levels of the Minor Leagues on up. As D.J. Dozier once proved, this kind of shift from baseball to football after an extended absence from the diamond is not impossible.
On the positive side, Tebow has been training for several months with former big leaguer Chad Moeller, and he has impressed Gary Sheffield.
Also, David Aardsma, the former Mariners closer who pitched in Triple-A earlier this year, has been pitching to Tebow and says the QB has legitimate power and a high baseball IQ. Nobody doubts his athleticism, his physical condition or his work ethic. Then again, the Major Leagues are still a faraway dream.
"It's going to be very difficult, of course," Aardsma told MLB.com. "But I've been impressed with his swing and his passion. And you know that Tim Tebow will give it everything he has. That's how he became Tim Tebow."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.