March 10, 2017

It would be easy to pile on Tim Tebow.

To say he has no business playing baseball, that he's making a mockery of the game and it's time for him to get on with the rest of his life.

But that would be too easy.

Instead, let's figure out what he should do next, after what will surely be a short-lived career with the New York Mets comes to an inglorious end.

How is Tebow's jump shot?

Does he know how to play ice hockey?

Has he ever considered taking up the sport that the rest of the world calls football?

If any of that sounds rather ludicrous, it's really no more unfathomable than what he's attempting now, at age 29, trying to professionally make it in a sport he hasn't played competitively since high school.

With an eye on nothing more than boosting the sale of spring training tickets, the Mets signed Tebow to a minor-league contract and sent him out on the field to inevitably fail.

He sure lived down to expectations in his first spring appearance . Twice, he struck out looking. When he actually made contact, he hit into a double play with the bases loaded. He did reach base safely by getting plunked with a pitch in the right shoulder, only to get doubled off base on a line drive.

Most amusingly, Tebow wandered toward the wrong on-deck circle before his first at-bat against Cy Young winner Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox.

''I thought that was the ball boy,'' Porcello quipped.

We all have had a good laugh, but let's get serious.

Clearly, this baseball thing isn't going to work out for Tebow, who faces far steeper odds against reaching the big league than he did trying to last as an NFL quarterback without ever really learning how to throw a football.

Yet, it's also quite obvious that Tebow's competitive spirit just won't let him accept a leisurely life as a television analyst.

Quite frankly, that's a trait we should all be admiring rather than ridiculing.

''I've been good at taking hits most of my career,'' Tebow said after his Mets debut. ''That might come easier than anything else.''

Taking into account that willingness to fail, but also looking to give him a more realistic chance to succeed, here's a few possible alternatives:

HITTING THE LINKS

Tebow's foundation hosts a celebrity golf tournament each year at the TPC Sawgrass near Jacksonville, an event that has raised more than $7 million for various charities.

And in 2015, he won the ''Shot At Glory'' on the famed 16th hole in Phoenix, sticking his tee shot within 11 feet, 3 inches of the flag to beat out a field of celebrities, coaches and former sport stars.

OK, so Tebow's got some game.

Then again, Michael Phelps - a pretty good athlete in his own right - had dreams of starting a new career in golf after his initial retirement from swimming in 2012.

As Phelps told me about a year later, ''It's the most humbling sport I've ever done. It's the toughest thing I've ever done.''

Not long after, to the surprise of no one, Phelps was back at the pool training for the Rio Olympics..

PUSHING FOR GOLD

Speaking of the Olympics, maybe Tebow should consider pursuing a gold medal to go along with his Heisman Trophy.

We can't think of anything that might work out in the Summer Games. Seriously, can you imagine him trying to throw a javelin?

Duck!

But there is a possibility on the winter side for someone who was really good at running with the football.

Bobsledding.

This is a sport that requires up to three athletes who are strong, fast and good at pushing the sled off the top of the hill. Then, all they have to do is jump in, keep their heads down and let the driver do the rest.

Herschel Walker made it to the 1992 Albertville Olympics as a bobsledder. Several track stars, including hurdler Lolo Jones, have also taken this route.

If Tebow is up for some cold weather, he should give this serious consideration.

THE GUY'S A GAMER

That brings us to perhaps the best choice of all.

Video gaming.

ESPN already raised this possibility in a tongue-in-cheek article last fall, theorizing that Tebow's ''fast hands could make him a good Heroes of the Storm player,'' or, as a former quarterback, he ''could potentially excel at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive if he trained up.''

Seriously, though, eSports is a rapidly growing force in the mainstream world. The NBA has even jumped on board, partnering with a gaming company to start up a league based on its 2K series.

If the NFL ever follows suit with Madden, Tebow would be a natural. Finally, a game where a running quarterback has value. Maybe he could excel without ever throwing a pass.

We think these are some sound options for Tebow.

Now, we eagerly await his next sport.

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Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .

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