Mets gamble on big crowds with spring training

Yesterday the New York Mets announced the names of their spring training invitees. To be honest, I didn’t know most of them but the one person I know doesn’t deserve this invitation at all. It is clear that the Mets want to draw big crowds at St. Lucie with Tim Tebow on their Grapefruit League roster.

Normally you see young talents get an invite. But in case of Tebow, he isn’t young anymore (30) and he isn’t quite a talent. The former quarterback of the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets and Heisman Trophy winner surely is a fan magnet. The Mets’ minor league affiliates who had him in their ranks, must have been very happy last season. He split the season between A Full Season Columbia (South Atlantic League) and St. Lucie (A-Advanced Florida State League).

In my opinion, Tebo is blocking a young minor leaguer’s chance to get a shot during MLB spring training. With the Columbia FireFlies, Tebo hit a meager .220. With the St. Lucie Mets he did a tad better with .231, but still that is not something to write home about. For a real prospect, numbers like this would be something to worry about.

Tebo was quite the box-office draw, as the FireFlies and Mets both set single-season attendance records. Columbia is averaging 4,938 fans per game thus far in 2017, up from an average of 3,785 fans per game in 2016. The 4,938 fans per game puts Columbia in the top three in average attendance in the South Atlantic League. The Fireflies’ first-half attendance was helped by Tm Tebow’s arrival with the club before he was promoted to St. Lucie in June. St. Lucie saw nearly a 50 percent jump in average attendance per game over the 2016 season, and the interest in Tebow is clearly a major factor. The Mets set a franchise attendance record with 108,057 fans which broke the previous record of 105,379.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson stated: “Look, we signed him because he is a good guy, partly because of his celebrity, partly because this is an entertainment business. My attitude is ‘why not?” So the Mets rather draw crowds with a circus act than with a good product on the field…


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