Is Tim Tebow Relentlessly Pursuing Failure?

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This is an excellent post from ESPN’s David Fleming, so I’m sharing it it’s entirety:

TIM TEBOW’S FIRST day of spring training unfolded pretty much exactly as expected. Before he stepped foot onto First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida, his $28 Tebow 15 jersey was already available for purchase outside the ballpark. There was touching chatter about the joys of pursuing his “childhood dream” of playing baseball, not to be confused with his currently on hold “lifelong dream” of being an NFL quarterback. Many experts, after making a special point to say how nice and hard-working Tebow is, admitted that the guy who struck out 20 times in 62 at-bats during the Arizona Fall League didn’t look any more comfortable or natural as a pretend baseball player.

 None of that, of course, stopped networks, including this one, from running video of Tebow crushing home runs during his first batting practice session, titillating footage that has only slightly less correlation to actual baseball performance than sunflower-seed spitting. And, predictably, before the day was through, the New York Post had dubbed Tebow “a much more athletic Garth Brooks” while judging this spring training experiment to be Tebow’s latest, greatest feat of athletic failure. It was a declaration that Tebow seemed prepared to handle better than any curveball he has faced.

 “There are certain things in life we love and we have the chance to pursue, but a lot of the time fear of the unknown, fear of failure gets in the way,” Tebow told Marty Smith on SportsCenter at the start of camp. “If I fall flat on my face, then guess what, I’m going to get right back up again.”

 It’s a mantra that has sustained Tebow over the past five years. On Jan. 9, 2012, Tebow threw for 319 yards in a stunning 29-23 overtime win against an injury-depleted Pittsburgh defense in the AFC wild-card playoffs. Since then, though, he has grifted his way to untold riches and largely unearned opportunities with five franchises in two professions while barely bothering to alter his act. First, NFL quarterback was the dream he would relentlessly pursue, then — nope, hold up, wait a minute — it was actually baseball the entire time. In both sports, he has benefited from the same viral coverage to cloak his shortcomings, co-opted the same kind of devout “experts” to vouch for his authenticity, shown the same lack of humility and understanding of the challenges he faced, and, worst of all, exploited the same needs and dreams of fans in both sports.

What continues to make him one of the most puzzling and compelling athletes of his era, though, is not the long string of embarrassments, but rather, what seems to be Tebow’s absolute fearlessness in the face of Mets spring training, a challenge that is almost certainly going to be his greatest, most public humiliation yet.

“People will say, ‘What if you fail? What if you don’t make it?'” Tebow said at the beginning of this process. “Guess what? I don’t have to live with regret. I did everything I could. I pushed it. And I would rather be someone who can live with peace and no regret than being so scared I didn’t make the effort.”

Whether you think that’s enlightened or idiotic is up to you.

TEBOW HAS BEEN transformed into shorthand for fans, an instant litmus test. Are you a fellow dreamer and believer? Or are you one of those cold-hearted realists who worry about the minor league player who had his spring training roster spot stolen by Tebow’s publicity stunt?

In a way, he has even become a counter-culture icon, unafraid and unharmed by failure in an increasingly perfectionist society. It’s a place where icons such as Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison confiscate their kid’s participation trophies and up to 75 percent of kids drop out of sports before age 14 because of a fear of failure. And so, what might be at the heart of the latest chapter of our ongoing infatuation with Tebow is the utterly unsettling way he has embraced, perfected and, yes, profited from the art of failure.

It would certainly explain this latest campaign, why at 29 he’d be so gung-ho about publicly attempting the most difficult challenge in sports — hitting Major League pitching — after more than a dozen years away from the game.

“I applaud what he’s doing. So many of us are crippled by high expectations that we tend to quit things way too early,” says Mark Anshel, a professor emeritus at Middle Tennessee State and the author of “In Praise of Failure.” “I think Tim Tebow knows exactly what he’s doing. If helping people deal with failure is how you believe you were called to serve God, then I’d say attempting to become a professional baseball player out of the blue at 29 is the absolute best place for him to be.”

Tebow ‘not going to worry’ what people think

On the first day, Tim Tebow spoke with his trademark smile and charisma, Tim Tebow added a new line to his resume: spring training attendee. What did the QB-turned-outfielder say at Mets camp, and how many BP homers did he blast?

Since the 2012 NFL playoffs, Tebow’s business as a pro athlete has been failure — and business has been good. After a brief, brilliant flash of success, the Broncos grew tired of his terrible throwing mechanics and struggles with the cognitive side of the game, and Tebow agreed to a trade to the absolute worst possible spot for a developing quarterback: the New York Jets. Tebow’s act of self-sabotage resulted in him completing just six passes behind Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy before being cut by Rex Ryan.

Not only did Tebow make the same choice when it came time to pick a baseball team, at both stops he also used his popularity and the ravenous media coverage, including a good share of it from yours truly and the rest of ESPN, to take the attention off his on-field struggles. No one remembers that on the first day Jets camp was open to the public, Tebow was so bad he completed just three passes while fans heckled him and coaches worried that he wasn’t a viable option to replace Sanchez. Instead, the only thing we remember about Tebow as a Jet was the shirtless QB jogging across the field in the rain after practice. Similarly, no one knows that Tebow went 0-for-3 in his Arizona Fall League debut or that scouts knew right away there was zero justification for his roster spot — a gift he honored by keeping his TV gig on the side. No, we remember him “saving” a fan who collapsed during an autograph session.

When his first stop in New York was over, an NFL scout told me the truest thing I have ever heard about Tebow’s athletic career. And it remains just as true in baseball: It is nearly impossible to find a teammate who will say anything bad about him as a person, or a scout who will say anything good about him as a player. “He’s a tough guy, a great leader, a great person,” an NFC scout said at the time. “He’s just not a quarterback.”

It didn’t matter. In fact, it only helped Tebow develop his brand: Failure Incorporated. The next summer, after he was unceremoniously let go by New England, Tebow vowed to go to the ends of the earth to make himself an NFL quarterback, a pledge that apparently did not extend to Canada or Orlando, where he had standing offers to hone his QB craft in the CFL and the Arena League. Stooping to play fullback or tight end, where he worried he would no longer be everyone’s focus of attention inside the huddle, was out of the question too. (And yet we believe this same guy intends to spend his summer in Single-A ball, riding a crowded, stinky bus, grinding his way through 140 games in 150 days?)

In parting ways with the Patriots, Tebow tweeted 2 Corinthians 12:9, which says, in part, that “power is perfected in weakness” and, therefore, the best way to have Christ’s power dwell inside you is by boasting of your weaknesses. This seems to be the moment where Tebow was able to meld his rapidly dwindling prospects as an NFL quarterback with the universal connection to, and the spiritual rewards of, failing with honor and purpose — sometimes over and over and over again.

Despite an abundance of critics, Tebow has remained steadfast in his endeavors. The fear of failure is not something that dictates his path. Rich Schultz /Getty Images

IN 2014, TEBOW turned to former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer for tutelage and support. Dilfer and passing guru Tom House worked to improve Tebow’s throwing mechanics at the University of Southern California. But like millions of Tebow supporters, Dilfer might have been unable to separate his fondness for Tebow the man and his evaluation of Tebow the quarterback.

“This is one of the greatest players to play college football, and he didn’t know how to pass,” Dilfer raved on ESPN at the time. “I believe now he knows how to pass. Every GM, every scout, every person out there should go at least watch Tim Tebow now, because it’s a different guy.”

From – David Fleming, http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/18791367/tim-tebow-relentless-pursuit-failure

World Series GRAND SLAM!

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When’s the last time you saw a grand slam in the World Series? Never? Probably so. The last grand slam home run hit in a World Series was in 2005. And so we’ve got ourselves a humdinger of a World Series. So there is hope for the Chicago Cubs, and their if’s maybe turning into when.

Yes, “if” may be turning into “when.” The Chicago Cubs are leading 7-0 (now 7-2) in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series, ON THE ROAD in Cleveland, and they seem to be on their way to tying this series at 3-3 after being down 3-1. And so I say again, the “if” may be turning to when.

When the Cubs fell behind 3-1 in games, we said that they needed a miracle. And “if” they could pray up a miracle, then “when” could come. Well . . . I believe in miracles. And the Cubbies and their championship starved fans may well have prayed up a miracle of miracles tonight as Addison Russell hit a one out Grand Slam bomb to center field to blow the game open in the bottom of the third inning.

So, the question was “if” the Cubs could hit, or when the Cubs do hit, they might be able to get back into the series. The “if” has now turned into when as the Cubs hit a Grand Slam, and they are still hitting.

So, we’ll see you at Game 7.

The Chicago Cubs Need A Miracle

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If you believe in miracles, now’s the time to pray one up for the Chicago Cubs; I mean right now. They’ve lost two in a row AT HOME in this their first World Series in forever, and if they lose tonight . . . eeeeash! 

The Chicago Cubs are down 3-1 to the upstart Cleveland Indians and things are not looking good. The Indians pitchers are hot and the Cubs bats are cold and nothing seems to be going right for the darling Cubbies. But then again, being down means that they are prime targets for a miracle, right?

So, if they don’t win and they do lose, here’s to hope. Hope always springs eternal, and the Cubbies have a young bunch which should be able to bounce back and be ready to do it next year, right?

But what was that? Wait until next year? Or there’s always next year? It’s one of them.

Is Cleveland Believeland?

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The Cleveland Indians are trying to join the Cleveland Cavaliers as the 2016 World Champions of their sport. And the Chicago Cubs are trying to win the World Series for the first time in 107 years. One of these teams is going to break the curse of losing and not winning and coming up short and running on empty. But that’s all about to change, but for only one team.  And that one team could be the upstart, underdog and overachieving Cleveland Indians.

But is it possible? Is it doable? Is it believable that Cleveland will upset the heavily favored Chicago Cubs? These are the questions that the sports world is asking about as the 110th Fall  Classic gets underway. And these are the very same questions that you and I should ask yourselves about our lives and our legacy.

So here are the answers to the questions:

One: Is it possible? Yes it’s possible. It’s possible because all things are possible to those who believe.

Two: Is it doable? Yes, it’s doable, because if you believe, it’s possible, any bridge is crossable.

Three: Is it believable? Yes, it’s believable, because if it’s possible, it’s doable. It sounds like circular reasoning, because it is. Possibilities are doable, and what’s doable is believable.  It’s within the realm of possibilities to believe and then strive to achieve.

So . . . Cleveland stands in Chicago’s way, and the Cubs are standing in the Indians way of a World Championship.

May the best team win.

(Go Cubs!)

Why Everybody Outside of Cleveland Should Cheer for The 2016 Chicago Cubs

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This year, everybody should be a Chicago Cubs fan. This year. Why? Because it’s their year.  This is the Cubbies year. It’s their time and it’s their turn. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever scratched and scraped and clawed and gnawed your way to the tip of the top and said, “this is MY Time!?”  I have, and so have these Cubs.

The Cubs have come close before; most recently last year and in 2003, when they thought they had what it takes to win it all. But that was then, and this is now. Now is this year, and this year the Cubs won 103 games in the regular season. They defeated the San Francisco Giants, and then came back from a 1-2 deficit to defeat the Dodgers 4-2.  And they’re not satisfied with just getting to the World Series. And I don’t blame them. And so I’m happy for them.

The Cubs deeply desire to win, they are determined to win, and they deserve to win. They do. They have earned it and paid for it and played for it and prayed for it; now it’s time to trade for it. In other words, it’s time to trade their tears of sorrow for tears of joy.

And to top it all off, they have an affable, jovial, cordial coach in Joe Maddon who seems to know how to get the best out of each one of his players all of the time. And so what’s not to like?

And so, here’s what we’re celebrating: for the first time since 1945, the Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series! They were deemed World Series favorites since opening day, as they topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then they beat the Giants  — the even-year perennial World Series winners — and the Dodgers in the playoffs. The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won the NLCS and their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on September 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal “wait till next year” is finally over. No more dwelling on a history of failure — the future is now. They dominated Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 to win the National League Championship at Wrigley Field. So it must be their time, right?

The two best teams in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, battled it out in a brutal NLCS playoff series. Ultimately Chicago was the better, stronger team and they came out on top.

Now, the two best teams in baseball are going head-to-head for a showdown that promises not to be a letdown. But while the Indians, who haven’t won the World Series in forever either, (not since 1948) may want a World Series title, I believe that the likable, lovable, and this year’s unstoppable, Cudly Cubbies time has come.

How To Bounce Off Of The Bench and Hit a Grand Slam (To Win A Playoff Game)

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How ‘bout ‘dem Cubs!

Up 3-1 in the 7th, the Cubs gave up the lead and, voila, the game was tied. So to the ninth inning and probably extra innings we go, right? Not with the third string catcher pinch hitting, we don’t. That’s right — the Cubs THIRD string catcher came in from off of the bench with bases loaded and 2 outs, and the count quickly ran to 0-2. But then, on the very next pitch, lightning struck.

When Miguel Montero stepped to the plate in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS to face Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton with two outs and the bases loaded, I’m guessing even the most optimistic of Cubs fans didn’t expect to see a grand slam.

Montero is a two-time All-Star with 120 career home runs, but he had struggled during the regular season, hitting .216 with just eight home runs in 241 at-bats. When Blanton ran the count to 0-2, it seemed we’d be headed to the ninth inning with a tie game and Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman out of the game. The hero of Game 1 gave Cubs fans everywhere hope and a view through a periscope towards a favorable near future.

Ironically, he was about as low as you can go for a major league baseball player, but Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero’s struggles never got him down to the point of mailing it in. Instead, he kept his head up and his attitude as positive as he could — and he waited for his moment.

That moment came in a big way Saturday night, as Montero became the third player ever to hit a postseason, pinch-hit grand slam, and he propelled the Cubs to an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. It was an instant classic featuring more managerial second-guessing than a regular season’s worth.

“I’m not going to do any good to anybody being a cancer and being upset about it and being a cry baby,” Montero said of losing playing time. “I’m not going to be a cry baby. I’m going to keep my head up, and whenever they give me a chance, I’m going to take advantage of it.”  And take advantage of it he did. Montero hit a 0-2 slider — the third one he saw in the short at-bat — out to right field off Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton and sent the crowd of 42,376 into hysteria. 

“Obviously, as a kid, you always dream of the situations,” Montero said. “And that’s what you live for. It’s easy to hit a grand slam in the first inning when nobody is actually screaming at it, and this one is a lot more special because it’s in front of this special crowd that we have, and you’re always looking for that.” (Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer)

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I love this part about Montero: he did not complain, mumble or grumble. Instead, “he kept his head up and his attitude as positive as he could — and he waited for his moment.”

And that’s what I’m going to do too.

Clayton Kershaw: Gutting It Out And Getting It Done


Some wins come clean and easy. Some wins come with minimal effort and limited liability. But not all. Some wins come only after you shed blood, sweat and tears.  Some wins you have to gut out and eak out. And such was the case last night as Clayton Kershaw managed to muster just enough moxy to squeeze out 5 innings against the Washington Nationals for a 4-3 classic that few will remember.

But for purists, Kershaw’s  hutxpah and chutzpah should not be long forgotten. 

Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher on the planet. He’s almost unhitable during the regular season and he’s been a multiple Cy Yong Award winner over the past few years. But for some reason or another, he falters every fall. His post season statistics and record are paltry at best. 

For Kershaw, last night’s outing was different and the same all at the same time. He looked tired and wired and pressed and stressed; he threw 101 pitches in 5 long, hard innings. And yet his superman cape had just enough anti-kryptonite karpunza to cap off a gutsy road win.

Kershaw let out a war cry of a yell after he notched his last strikeout, letting everyone watching know that this one wasn’t easy. But it was worth it. Kershaw willed himself across the finish line. He didn’t have his best stuff, and that made his performance all the more heroic.  To win Game One on the road was worth him sweating and swearing and swamping his way to a win.  And that’s how it is sometimes. 

Sometimes it’s not pretty. Sometimes it’s downright ugly. But it’s always worth it to gut it out and get it done.