Well into his second month playing minor league ball for the Columbia Fireflies, Tim Tebow still draws in fans like nobody else these days.
As noted by Pete Iacobelli of the Associated Press, even away games are being sold out like crazy: “The Hickory Crawdads sold out four games with the Fireflies, its total of 17,500 for the series surpassing the 15,900 they drew their first eight games,” he wrote.
This isn’t an uncommon scene, either. Some teams, like the GreenJackets, have had to rustle up help for concessions as fans flock to stadiums in numbers not usually seen to get a glimpse of Tim Tebow.
The Lakewood BlueClaws drew over 5,000 people recently, which was well above what they’re used to seeing on any given night in April.
“That was two-and-half times what they might bring in for a game in mid-April,” said Lakewood (New Jersey) BlueClaws communications director Greg Giombarrese said. “That’s when I knew this was something different.”
Despite the fact that Tebow still isn’t necessarily doing all that great from the batter’s box (still under .250) and hasn’t hit a home run since his first week on the job when he blasted two, fans cannot get enough of the former Florida Gators and NFL star quarterback.
In fact, Fireflies President John Katz, who was with the Carolina Mudcats when Michael Jordan played in 1994 with the Birmingham Barons, sees “similarities” with how fans were enamored with Jordan and are now flocking to see Tebow.
“The frenzy seemed even bigger, Katz said, because Jordan was the NBA’s best player still in his prime. ‘There are some similarities with how people turn out for Tim,’ Katz said.”
If Tebow ever does figure out this baseball thing and starts moving up the ladder within the New York Mets’ minor league system, you can bet that “frenzy” will only crescendo all the more. If he ever makes it to the big leagues (we doubt he will), then watch out.