Tim Tebow already a success as he embarks on Fall season

Tim Tebow is scheduled to begin play Tuesday in the Arizona Fall League — the next stage of his long-shot attempt to make the major leagues — and there’s no need to wait to assess this baseball experiment.

Tebow has succeeded.

Even if he strikes out in every plate appearance Tuesday when he is expected to bat seventh for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Even if he drops routine fly balls as the starting left fielder when the Scorpions play the Desert Dogs.

Even if he trips over first base while running back to the dugout at Camelback Ranch in nearby Glendale.

Even if the calamities continued throughout the six-week fall league season, The Tim Tebow Baseball Experiment has been a big success — provided you have the proper perspective.

This has taken guts. Tebow, 29, played no organized baseball in more than a decade — not since his junior year of high school.

This has taken humility. He admitted being nervous and rusty during a showcase workout in August with representatives of 30 Major League Baseball teams in attendance.

This has taken talent. Tebow, who showed power during his showcase workout before signing a minor league contract with the New York Mets, hit a home run on his first pitch in the instructional league.

In three games with the Mets’ instructional-league team last month, he hit .286 — not Cooperstown numbers, but well above the Mendoza line.

The competition is about to get much tougher here in the Arizona Fall League, traditionally home to many of baseball’s top prospects, and so it’s a good time to revisit words of Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better,’’ Roosevelt wrote. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…’’

His face marred by dust and sweat, Tebow approaches this all with earnestness. But for those who decry it all as a circus? Well, what’s so wrong with a little circus?

Michael Jordan passed through here during his minor-league foray in 1994 and baseball survived. And Bill Veeck must be dancing with joy in his grave.

Veeck was the baseball executive responsible for Eddie Gaedel, all 3 feet 7 inches of him, making a plate appearance in 1951. Surely he’d be in favor of the hulking, former Heisman Trophy winner taking a few cuts and drawing a big crowd to Camelback Ranch stadium.

That crowd, regardless of what happens when the Scorpions play the Desert Dogs, will witness secret of Tebow’s success: Even in the face of failure, he’s willing to swing for the fences.


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