With Opening Day this week, the Syracuse Mets (Class AAA; International League) and their fans are bracing for the arrival of outfielder and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.
Tebow’s professional baseball career is taking him to Triple-A for the first time, as he will open the 2019 season in Syracuse. At his past minor league stops–including the Columbia Fireflies (Low A; Sally League) and St. Lucie Mets (High A; Florida State League) in 2017, followed by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Class AA; Eastern League) last season—the former NFL quarterback has provided an attendance boost not only to his teams, but to every league along the way.
As the 31-year-old prepares for his first season at Triple-A–which begins with Thursday’s opener against Pawtucket at Syracuse’s NBT Bank Stadium–it seems that Syracuse fans are embracing his arrival. Tebow t-shirts are reportedly already a hot merchandise item, with sales being recorded in high numbers earlier this week. More from Syracuse.com:
But now, just two days before the season opener, with a new parent team and a seismically famous outfielder as added bonuses, the bustle begins. Boxes bulging with merchandise arrives daily, said Tom Bergemann, who works in the Syracuse Mets team store. On Monday, the Tim Tebow T-shirts, bright orange and snuggled inside their incognito cardboard boxes, showed up at the store.
The Mets made them available on the team website. By Tuesday afternoon, Bergemann said, a significant number had been scooped up. The shirts cost $24.99.
“We got three boxes, probably 180 T-shirts,” Bergemann said, “and we’ve probably sold a quarter of them since yesterday.”
It was revealed during spring training in March that the New York Mets were assigning Tebow to Triple-A, so Syracuse–and its International League opponents–have had a few weeks to prepare for his arrival. Having Tebow on the roster should be a boost to Syracuse, but 2019 was shaping up to be a big season for the franchise even before it was learned he would be on the club’s roster. Syracuse was purchased by the New York Mets prior to the 2018 season, before finishing out a player development contract with the Washington Nationals and embarking on a rebranding from Chiefs to Mets for the 2019 season.
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