Flashback: here’s how most open tryouts work in professional baseball

John Makely / NBC News
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The Tim Tebow thing is weird and sorta interesting on some meta media/celebrity level. But as you could probably tell from my post on it, I’m a bit irked by it too. Mostly because I strongly suspect that very, very few people, including former athletes, would get the opportunity to have private workouts with major league teams if they possessed Tim Tebow’s baseball pedigree. It makes me wonder what his lot would be if he wasn’t an ESPN personality who has gotten a publicity push that far outstrips his athletic accomplishments over the past several years.

We don’t actually have to wonder that, though. We know what normally happens with such folks: they go to Major League Baseball’s open tryout sessions put on by the MLB scouting bureau each summer. This is where the rare undiscovered talent like Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jim Morris — the high school teacher whose story got turned into a Disney movie — is found. The guys who went undrafted out of college or whose life path differed from the usual path of a professional baseball player. Sometimes some future minor leaguers are found in this setting, but it’s pretty rare.

Two years ago Tony Dokoupil of NBC News did a story about these tryouts. It’s a pretty interesting read. If, for no other reason, than it can serve as a contrast to whatever ratings-grabbing spectacle I suspect ESPN will turn Tebow’s MLB tryout into.