MiLB President Pat O’Conner On Tebow, Rumble Ponies

By Mets Daddy

December 22, 2017 3 Comments

As noted in an earlier MMN article, MiLB President Pat O’Conner gave a wide-ranging interview with Josh Norris of Baseball America.  Whether fans like it or not, Tim Tebow has become a lightning rod, and it was a topic that needed to be addressed in the interview.

Overall, O’Conner came off as a proponent of Tebow playing in the minor leagues as the outfield provided a boon to the minor league attendance numbers.  As O’Conner pointed out, much of what Tebow did was able to offset a minor league season plagued by bad weather saying, “I made some comments Monday that said what Mother Nature taketh, Tim Tebow giveth. Tebow was a saving grace for the global result. But it was a good year.”

But for O’Conner, Tebow was more than just a gate.  He turned out to be more a phenomenon that was overall a positive result for the MiLB bottom line, exposure, and for its players;

The stories you saw about Tebow, the things he was doing with our fans, reports about his interaction with his teammates. I checked with a few teams who were the visiting team for Tim, and it was consistent and the reports were consistent. Never asked for much. Never was demanding. Didn’t have an entourage. Would come and tell you the first day he got there, (he’d) do 15 minutes about his whole transition to baseball thing. I want to do it in the dugout, weather permitting. I don’t want to burden my teammates. I want to do 15 minutes, bring everybody you want. I’ll talk to the media the rest of the series, but it’s about the game. It wasn’t a demand, but it was respectful for him to do it that way. He signed autographs everywhere. He had a couple of people with him, from what I understand, to just help him take care of things. I mean, the guy runs a company or two, a foundation or two, and it was anything but an entourage. I never heard anybody say that he demanded one thing. Great teammate in the clubhouse, just really committed to trying to get better. That’s the best we could ask for.
In addition to these platitudes, O’Conner did note Tebow was actually a better player than expected.  Moreover, he expects that Tebow will be able to make some adjustments that will make him a better player.  If true, that should prove to be a boon for the Mets, Minor League Baseball, and Tebow.
Tangentially related to the topic of Tebow is the revenue generated by the minor leagues.  That revenue is helped being driven by new stadiums, a Tickets.com deal, and some creative marketing.  The marketing includes some name changes for some of the minor league teams.  Of the new names, O’Conner admits that he was a fan of Binghamton changing their name to the Rumble Ponies.

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  • Ernest Dove

    There will always be room for guys like Tebow in the minor leagues. As I’ve said throughout last year when attending Lucie Mets games. There were hundreds of fans at first data field and roger dean stadium who were only there to watch Tebow. They couldn’t name a minor leaguer on that field home or away team to save their life and likely arent even Mets/cards/marlins fans either. Regardless the tickets were sold, jerseys and concessions were bought and butts in seats are butts in seats.

  • Bill Rosenberg

    He really is a great guy. I met him at the Mets’s instructional camp last year…after the practice he stood out in the rain signing baseballs, shirt,s books, etc and just talking to people. Watching him play at St. Lucie during the second half of the season was very enjoyable, the way he treated fans, teammates and opposing players. He is great for minor league baseball.

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