NEW YORK — A seemingly innocuous base hit by Detroit Tigers minor leaguer Dustin Peterson quickly became an important moment for one of sports’ most intriguing stories.
The single brought a merciful and conveniently timed end to the third chapter of Tim Tebow’s journey with the New York Mets. The ball opened up a cut on Tebow’s finger that required eight stitches, nearly a year to the day after a fractured hamate bone ended his All-Star season with Double-A Binghamton.
It could realistically be the end of Tebow's baseball career altogether. The 2019 season was the last in which a major league club could carry 40 players after Sept. 1. Next year, that number will be whittled down to 28.
Yahoo Sports talked to a number of scouts who remained unimpressed by Tebow's play despite his stellar makeup and work ethic. It's enough to rightfully question whether Tebow will try for a fourth year as even the excitement of his presence in the minors seems to have declined this season.
The 2019 campaign was the worst so far for the now-32-year-old. He played in 77 games, batting .163/.240/.255 with four homers, 10 doubles and 19 RBIs. Tebow struck out 98 times (41 percent of his 239 at-bats) and collected 39 hits.
“He did make some strides, he was learning the swing, and it wasn't because of a lack of effort or work ethic,” Triple-A Syracuse manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “But those are valuable at-bats and playing time that, unfortunately, you can't make up in this game.”
Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, made more than $9 million playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. He’s worked as a college football analyst for ESPN and SEC Network since 2014.
After his final baseball game this season, he reappeared a month later. This time he was on television. On a Saturday in August, a Mets minor leaguer stood in the Magic Kingdom in Orlando and argued Sunshine State college football supremacy with Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.
Tebow has significant celebrity appeal, yet for the past three summers he rides a bus toward a dream that not many feel he can achieve.