Though Tim Tebow got off to a hot start in his minor league debut with the Single-A Columbia Fireflies, homering in two of his first three games, the former NFL quarterback has not performed all that well. Through 32 games and 127 plate appearances, he is hitting .221/.307/.327 with just the two home runs, 11 RBI, and 16 runs scored.
Tebow playing in a major league game remains a far off fantasy and minor league teams are very thankful for that, actually. As CNBC’s Sarah Whitten reports, Tebow has substantially increased attendance at minor league games, both home and away. Home attendance in Columbia has increased by nearly 40 percent. Road attendance is up between 80 and 120 percent depending on the stadium in question. Citing Baseball America, Whitten notes that Tebow was responsible for $44,200 in additional sales per night at road stadiums.
Tebow may not be hitting, but as long as he keeps bringing fans to the ballpark, the Fireflies will find a spot in the lineup for him. Money talks.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.