The president and general manager of the Charleston RiverDogs has issued an apology after some fans became upset with in-game jabs at Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow.
The RiverDogs ribbed Tebow throughout Tebow’s first series in Columbia last weekend. The team’s mascot wore “John 3:16” eyeblack and struck the “Tebowing” pose. Every player other than Tebow was shown on the scoreboard with a “Not Tim Tebow” graphic and an image of Tebow crying on the bench during Florida’s 2009 SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama. The RiverDogs also used the “Hallelujah Chorus” as Tebow’s walkup music for every one of his at-bats.
Some fans believed the mockery crossed a line, calling it “classless.” At least one fan on Twitter accused the team of mocking Tebow’s religion, according to The Post and Courier of Charleston.
The antics also got under the skin of Mets GM Sandy Alderson.
“I guess my comment would be that it was all very minor league,” Alderson said, according to Newsday.
“We had some of that even before he arrived in the Sally League in spring training,” Alderson added. “I was a little surprised that halfway through the season that somebody decided to be cute and pursue that. But he’s bigger than that.”
RiverDogs president and GM Dave Echols issued a statement to the Post and Courier on Tuesday simultaneously defending and apologizing for the gags.
“While we believe that our promotions were poking fun at Mr. Tebow's celebrity status rather than his religion or baseball career, our intent was not to offend anyone, and for the fact that we did offend, we are sorry,” Echols wrote. “Of the many promotional pieces that we executed, there were a handful on Friday's game that some construed as in poor taste, and we made it a focus to remove those elements and celebrate Mr. Tebow the remainder of his time in Charleston.”
Tebow, who is batting .224 in 60 games for Columbia this season, went 2–12 with five strikeouts in the series.