Ron Hart: Temptation of the Tebow
Sports in America continues to grow, mainly because it is an entertainment business. With ESPN 1 through 50 and sports talk radio, coverage has evolved into tabloid intrigue. Pundits in overly striped suits speculate on their previous speculations all day long.
Even a terrible franchise like the Los Angeles Dodgers just sold for $2 billion. Maybe Magic Johnson has a plan to make the franchise work. Dodger Field is huge; perhaps he can get a USDA farm set-aside subsidy that will pay the Dodgers not to play.
The Dodgers came up for sale after the bitter divorce of the owners caused financial hardship and forced the sale of the team for what was thought to be $1 billion, tops. Now that the owner got $2 billion, he can buy a professional team.
In a town known for the excesses of its sports stars, from "Broadway Joe" Namath to the Yankees' Derek Jeter, it will be interesting to see how celibate, evangelical Tim Tebow fares in decadent Gotham City. He is good-looking and rich, but being rich in liberal New York is bad only if you had to work for your money.
Stories surfaced recently that Derek Jeter's routine is to autograph a baseball to give his one-night stands on their way home. So guys, if your girlfriend spends a weekend in New York City and brings you home Derek Jeter memorabilia, you might want not want to be too excited about it.
What makes pro sports interesting it the judgment of character and ability that is required. Peyton Manning came out of college at the same time as Ryan Leaf, and there were strong arguments that Leaf should have been the No. 1 draft pick. The two men were of different character. Peyton became the best quarterback in NFL history, and Ryan Leaf is on his way to becoming a marriage counselor in prison or coaching a "Longest" Yard team.
There is a lot of "naked" in the Naked City. And Tebow is a big deal. Heck, Superman wears Tebow pajamas. So does Ryan Seacrest, but for different reasons.
Believers think Tebow can turn water into Gatorade and even get a Chik-fil-A meal on a Sunday. He has the same bumper sticker on his car as Obama; it says "What Would I Do?" but for different reasons.
Tebow is not a good quarterback. On the first day of training camp Jets coaches will show him how to properly hold a clipboard on the sidelines. Yet he may endure in the league; he is not going to hit on a female locker-room reporter, and he does not seem like the type that would organize pit bull fights.
When he was traded, Tebow flew to New York (presumably on Virgin Air) where he was met by local dignitaries and given a chaperoned tour of the city. He was taken to see the statue of the Blessed Virgin of New York - it was a newly constructed statue of him. Tebow would not want the statue. At first the City Fathers of New York, which has been taxed into a statue- and parade-based economy, were shocked. Politicians and entertainers just assume that everyone in America is as vain as they are. Tebow will be an enigma for New York.
New Jersey even made a play for Tebow to live in the Garden State. The case was made that he could avoid the temptations of New York with a more bucolic life, and that may be correct. Jesus was capable of resisting Satan's temptations for forty days in the desert; however, he was never tested by having to live in the same Upper Eastside co-op as Bill Clinton, Woody Allen and Madonna.
Madonna sleeps with a lot of sports stars as her own personal sport. She has an active scouting system that tracks the progress of promising minor leaguers, and she keeps a rosin bag and one of those stationary sideline warm-up bikes beside her bed.
Tebow in New York will be like Kenneth Parcell, the intern on "30 Rock." My advice is to stay away from "Mrs. Robinson" Madonna, and do not let Jets coach Rex Ryan rub your feet - ever.
If you think about it, what could go wrong? A nice, clean-cut, Christian boy from the South comes to New York. He will either be strong and his faith will empower him to fight off all temptation, or he will be cavorting with a Kardashian before this column is published. Hard to say.