Red Sox: Rick Porcello confused Tim Tebow for a ball boy
By Sean Penney
When former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow made his spring training debut against the Boston Red Sox, did Rick Porcello really think he was the ball boy?
When Tim Tebow stepped to the plate against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday he garnered far more attention than what we typically expect from a low-level minor league player making their spring training debut.
He’s yet to record his first hit against a major league caliber pitcher, but Tebow gets more media attention than Mookie Betts. Why? Because he’s Tim Tebow. The former Heisman winner is one of the most popular college football players in recent memory and even after his NFL career flamed out, the support from his fan base has not.
While he’s traded in his shoulder pads for batting gloves, Tebow remains one of the most recognizable athletes in the country. Well, unless you’re Rick Porcello. When the reigning Cy Young winner saw him accidentally warming up in the wrong on-deck circle prior to his first plate appearance he assumed Tebow was a ball boy for the New York Mets.
Sure, plenty of teams have a 6-foot-3, 255 pound ball boy. Even if Porcello failed to recognize him, Tebow’s chiseled physique should have clued him in that he was a player rather than some kid that got lost collecting a stray bat.
Now, before we start any conspiracies about Porcello mocking Tebow’s attempt to transition from the gridiron to the baseball diamond, we have to remember that the right-hander had reason to be baffled as to why someone wearing the opposing team’s jersey was in the wrong on-deck circle. It was an honest mistake by a player that lacks game experience and Mets manager Terry Collins quickly called his player back.
The confusion over the blunder didn’t seem to faze Porcello by the time Tebow stepped into the batters box, as he quickly struck him out on four pitches.
The Grapefruit League debut didn’t get much better from there for Tebow, who finished the game 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. He also grounded into a double-play that drove in the tying run, drawing an ovation from the Mets crowd.
Of course, that doesn’t count as an RBI and in a bases loaded, no out situation, the Red Sox would gladly allow a run to get two outs. Mets fans are savvy enough to know this, but the Tebow fans were simply desperate for a reason – any reason – to cheer for him.
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The early returns show just how far away Tebow is from moving up the minor league ranks. The only reason he was added to the Mets spring training roster to begin with is because the organization is missing several familiar faces that are off participating in the World Baseball Classic.
Tebow is a tremendous athlete who never had the skills to make it as an NFL quarterback. There’s little reason to be optimistic that he’ll find success as a baseball player, but give the guy some credit for his undying determination. Rather than give up on his dream to be a professional athlete, he simply tweaked it by switching sports.
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Hey, if being a baseball player doesn’t pan out either then he could always find a career as a major league ball boy.