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Adam Wainwright: “I’m obsessed with Tim Tebow”

Jan 16, 2012, 9:24 AM EDT

Denver Broncos Tebow fumbles after hit by Patriots Ninkovich during the first quarter during their NFL AFC Divisional playoff game in Foxborough

Adam Wainwright was at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up over the weekend and he went off baseball for a moment:

“I am obsessed with Tim Tebow.  I’m not afraid to say it. It’s almost embarrassing to us athletes that this much emphasis is put on Tim Tebow because that means we aren’t living our lives as we should. If we did that more often, the way he is living wouldn’t be as big a story. I’m so proud of him for living out his faith.”

I try to avoid football coverage as much as possible, but even I can tell that Wainwright isn’t alone in his obsession. The whole nation went Tebow crazy there for a while. Says a lot more about the whole nation than it does about Tim Tebow, but that’s the case with a lot of things.

I kind of don’t care, and not just because it’s a football thing. Tebow is not the first religious person I’ve encountered. He’s not the first openly evangelical and demonstrative religious person I’ve encountered either. He’s not the first person I’ve encountered whose fame far outstrips his abilities. He views the world very differently than I do and has put himself out there more than a lot of athletes, but I have never had any trouble ignoring what athletes say or do that doesn’t have anything to do with the sports they play. Good for him for being whatever he is. I scratch my head at how much people who love him and hate him get worked up about it.

I do have one Tebow observation that may be relevant, though, and that’s that the phenomenon that is Tebow says an awful lot about the differences between the world in which football operates and the world in which baseball operates.

There are a lot of hard core religious baseball players. Way more than you probably think. The difference is that baseball players play a game nearly every damn day and thus there isn’t a bunch of time in between in which baseball writers have to come up with fresh angles and stories highlighting that fact.

There’s a direct relationship, I think, between the Tebow stuff (or the Ochocinco stuff or T.O. stuff or whatever polarizing figure came before) and the amount of dead time between games. So even if a young, unproven baseball star did exactly the stuff that Tebow did to get his current level of notoriety, it would create far less of a buzz, even once you adjust for football’s greater popularity.  There are just too many games. Too many stories. No one person in baseball is able to suck all of the oxygen out of the room like Tim Tebow is in football.

  1. lembeck4 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    And the last bastion of Tebow-free sports coverage has now been breached. Sadface.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      :(

  2. drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    How long before we see pictures of Wainright and Tebow in a really small bathtub together?

    Furthermore, I would like to post this link that is completely irrelevant to the discussion. Of special note, notice how underrated Chase Utley is.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/19930/five-best-players-in-baseball-a-history

    • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Chase Utley never gets his due. I have always said he is the finest 2nd baseman to play in the last 10 years. So, this article that you linked just proved my point. He is underrated. “Chase Utley, you are the Man.” -Harry Kalas.

      Now, Tim Tebow, on the other hand, is vastly overrated.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:53 AM

        Agreed. I know you don’t go for these advanced metrics but listen to this: I think we can agree that last season was the worst of Chase Utley’s career, yet he posted a WAR of 3.2 despite missing 1/3 of the season. Extrapolated out, he would have posted a WAR of slightly below 5. Brandon Phillips had a career year last season and posted a WAR of 4.1. Not only has Chase Utley been the best 2B since his MLB arrival, he has been one of the beset 2B ever.

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        Yeah. Even the Sabermetric people would have to acknowledge how great Chase Utley is compared to his contemporaries at the same position. Even with his injuries, he’s still a stud. I’m honestly seeing him healthy for a full season this year. Call it a gut feeling. Expect a 30 HR, 108 RBI, .290 season in 2012. You can take it to the bank.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        I don’t know about the RBI’s…it depends on where they bat him in the line-up…which is also dependent upon when Howard comes back. However, I can see the .290 and 30HR while playing a vastly underrated 2B. Personally, I’d like to see Utley bat lead off and drop Rollins down the order.

      • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:58 AM

        Even the sabermetrics people? It is the sabermetrics people that have been saying for years that Utley was the best player on the Phillies, far better than Rollins dreamed of being and far better than even the legend of Ryan Howard became.

      • baseballisboring - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        Pfft, “even” the sabemetrics people. They knew everything you know before you knew it, believe me. No way he hits 30 HRs this year btw.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      Best players:
      2000-2004:
      Bonds
      Rodriguez
      Helton
      Edmonds

      2001-2005
      Bonds
      Pujols
      Rodriguez
      Edmonds

      2002-2006
      Pujols
      Bonds
      Rodriguez
      Edmonds

      How criminally underrated was Jim Edmonds?

      • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:05 AM

        Very. He’s a top 10 CF all-time (players that actually played the vast majority of their careers as CFers, not those that played there a few years and then moved to a corner). He suffers from the same thing Lofton does, very good at everything, without a clear elite quality….of course, providing value at the plate, on the bases, and in the field is an elite quality in itself, which many tend to dismiss.

      • modman11957 - Jan 22, 2012 at 7:13 AM

        I see alot of roids in that list

    • cowhawkfan - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Why do you have to highjack a thread? Go find your own Utley thread to write about him. Oh, there isn’t one because…well…nobody cares!!

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Yeah, because the threads are always on topic. Seriously, why are you whining about something so stupid? Furthermore, I actually hijacked the thread with a link to an interesting story. I just so happened to single out Utley just like those above highlighted Jim Edmonds. Also, there was a decent amount of replies to this topic so the thesis of your argument is flawed. So, why don’t you find something else to bitch about.

  3. strandedtwinsfan - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    While I don’t share Tebow’s view of how God operates, the way he treats fans is worth talking about. This recent ESPN article http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7455943/believing-tim-tebow details his interaction with fans that have fallen on hard times. For the Pittsburgh game he flew out a 16-year-old girl who has undergone 73 surgeries to the game, rented the family a hotel room, paid for dinner, bought them great tickets and visited with them for an hour after the game. Only someone looking to be cynical could find something wrong with this.
    I often ask myself after spending too much time looking up player stats, projecting, etc, “What is baseball for?” This is what it’s for, to bring people together to share something that feels magical and forget about everything else for just a little while. A lot of players understand that, but Tebow’s actions are a nice reminder.

    • wendell7 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      I’ll never understand why so many people hate Tebow. It is one thing to criticize his abilities as a player (which is a whole other post entirely), but for people to come out and say they hate the kid is completely ridiculous. He doesn’t seek the attention he gets, he doesn’t preach to you and me that we must change our ways to be more like him. He tries to be the best he can be, as a person and a player. I think he is as genuine a person as there is in pro sports.

      The fact that there are so many people out there ready to hate him says more about us as a society than it does about him.

      • royhobbs39 - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        I do not view it as “people hating Tebow”, but rather sports fans hating what Tebow has done to their sports world. I think Craig’s posts is well written in both his assessment of Tebow’s fame as well as his observations of the differences in baseball.

        I personally like Tebow the man. I wish sports would has more visible players like him. But I am also very glad his season is done and my hobby of reading and listening to sports talk can go back to sports. I felt the same way after Vick came back and played that first game. An “Okay, now that’s done.. Let’s get back to sports.”

        (Please do not yell at me saying I compared Vick to Tebow. I was not. I was comparing their similarities in non-sports/ability to be discussed on Inside Edition coverage)

  4. dsmaxsucks - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    And in baseball there is this thing called a pitcher, and he had a hard round object called a ball, and he can throw it at your head and make you cry if you try to give Jesus (and of course yourself as the conduit] credit for the great play your teammate made.

    • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      Agreed. The pointing to the sky nonsense has always drove me nuts with baseball players. However, for some reason, when Tim Tebow is doing his “Tebowing” thing (kneeling on one knee with his head down), this does not bother me one bit. I think because it is not so “thanks and praise to God” as the finger to the sky.

      • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        To me, they are both the same (and neither bothers me). They are demonstrations at a time when the player KNOWS that all eyes and cameras are on him. I’m sure god would be just fine with you delaying thanks until you were in the dug out or on the bench.

  5. stex52 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Interesting insight, Craig. Thanks for the thought. I had not correlated Tebowmania to the downtime in football. But it makes sense. Reference my comment on another thread about keeping sportswriters off the streets.

    And you are certainly right about a lot of ballplayers of the evangelical bent that you just don’t hear as much about. Lance Berkman comes to mind immediately. Albert Pujols also, but we’ve been getting more of his views lately.

  6. philsgamer - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    I have to give Tebow respect for displaying his faith as proudly and prominently as he does. However, if Wainwright is implying that living a good, moral and philanthropic lifestyle is the result of having religion in one’s life, I couldn’t disagree with him more. One doesn’t require the fear of a god to live a moral life. All that is required is to have respect for another person’s life. In fact, throughout history, more harm has come from differing religious ideologies than from any other factor.

    /rant

    • philsgamer - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1

      What says ye Tebow?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        It seems rather impossible to not have ones acts exposed (whether good or bad) in the culture of media driven celebrity. I’m sure Matthew didn’t anticipate things like twitter and blogs and camera phones when he scrolled those words.

      • philsgamer - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        He should have anticipated the social media boom.

      • philsgamer - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        I just put that quote up there because Christians seem to pick and choose which Bible passages to follow and which ones to disregard. As far as Tebow is concerned, why is it necessary for him to get down on one knee and do his little homage to his god in the middle of the field? Why can’t he celebrate with his teammates (who have more responsibility for that touchdown than god) and wait until he gets to the sideline to say his prayers?

        I know a very large portion of players will pay tribute to their savior in some way, but it just seems like Tebow is taking it to an extreme.

      • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        Yep, there are a LOT of devoutly religious players that feel no need to demonstrate publicly. Drew Brees, for instance.

    • scastro87 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I think people caused most of those wars and the ultimate motivations were power and controlling new territory. Unless you say that atheism was responsible for all the death and destruction caused by communism in the 20th century.

    • scastro87 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I think people caused most of those wars and the ultimate motivations were power and controlling new territory. Unless you say that atheism was responsible for all the death and destruction caused by communism in the 20th century.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    I like Tebow. Here is the thing, you often hear people bad mouthing athletes in general with the ignorant comment, “Where are the role models in professional sports?” First of all, there are plenty of great guys who are worthy of being looked up to because of their general disposition and charitable contributions. However, people often don’t hear about that stuff. The media (sans Craig) inundates us with vile garbage and harps on the negative, often criminal behaviors of athletes. Anyway, back to Tebow….he seems to be a good guy who exhibits an admiral moral character. Yet, he gets mocked and looked down upon for his beliefs by what seems like a majority of the public. I don’t get it.

    • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Oh, I get it. Tim Tebow is overtly religious and a self-proclaimed virgin. The society we live in today is the antithesis of this. The media has fed into this and placates the masses with unending coverage of the “wierd” religious guy. It’s pathetic.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        See, I don’t think society is the antithesis of this. I know plenty of people (both religious and non religious) who live spiritual, charitable lives. It just doesn’t get discussed. For example, many individual Phillies do great charitable work…donate tons of money, work with kids, set up foundations, hold fundraisers, etc. We don’t hear about that stuff other then a passing blurb in the local newspaper and their affiliated website. However, if Shane Victorino charges the mound or gets into trouble there is several HBT threads about it with like 150 comments per thread. I’m saying media sensationalism drives public perceptions that are out of touch with the reality of the overall situation.

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        I don’t think we disagree with this issue. Let me clarify. The media has propagated 99% of this. The sheep then latch onto what the media is pushing and it becomes mob mentality rules. People in general are good and honest, but are often swayed by what they are told by the media. In other words, most people can’t think for themselves.

        The Shane Victorino comparison is brilliant. He was made out by the media to be the devil incarnate, even those Whiteside was jumping up and down like Muhammad Ali, looking to start a fight because the Phillies were putting a whooping on the Giants. Victorino was standing up for his team, but was portrayed as a thug and dirty player.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        Phillieschamps, You said, “I don’t think we disagree with this issue. Let me clarify. The media has propagated 99% of this. The sheep then latch onto what the media is pushing and it becomes mob mentality rules. People in general are good and honest, but are often swayed by what they are told by the media. In other words, most people can’t think for themselves.”

        Yet we let them all vote? Kinda scary when you think about it huh?

    • chadjones27 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      drmonkeyarmy, I’m not sure that people are mocking him because of his beliefs. He believes in the same “God” as many, many other people. I think it’s more about how he goes about it. He comes off as preachy. And I think most sports fan want to focus on sports when sports is on. (I hope that made sense, made sense in my head.) It’s the evangelic persona that puts people off. Good kid. Hopefully he’ll prove his critics wrong, because it would be good for sports. But, the post game press conference table is not a Church alter.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        My perception is that they are mocking those beliefs. Perhaps my perception is wrong, after all I am human and inherently fallible. I am not a religious man but I attempt to live a spiritual life (often times I fall short). For me, I am not in your face with my spiritual beliefs. I believe in the principal of attraction rather than promotion. Hence, I get what you are saying about Tebow coming off a bit preachy. However, there should be no part of life disconnected from ones spiritual beliefs.

    • normcash - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Tebow seems to walk the walk, as does his family. He was born in the Philippines where his parents were running an orphanage. He goes back there every off-season. He is not, unlike
      a certain Pittsburgh QB, a hypocrite.

      Yet, I understand the unease many feel toward him and “Tebowmania”. He is an evangelical
      Christian. That strain of Christianity, for the past 30 years, has become increasingly political—and those politics are ultra-conservative—witness this past weekend’s meeting in Texas by evangelical leaders to try to stop Romney. They have made of their faith a political movement that backs policies many of us abhor. It is not surprising many associate the athlete with the movement even though, so far as I know, Tebow hasn’t discussed his politics publically.

  8. Jonny 5 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Every time I hear someone with one of the “polar” (hate/love) opinions of Tebow, I always calmly ask them why. They never give me a good reason. They usually appear to be thinking over their own reasons for this after being made to think about it. Also people thinking God helped him to win games are a little scary as well. I mean there are religious people on both teams, and some pretty terrible people on both teams as well. A “God” wouldn’t get involved in boys games between men.

    • b7p19 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      I’m not overly religious, but I grew up in a church and studied the stuff in college. Now, I don’t believe that God would help Tebow win, but many Christians are taught that God will lift the best of his followers to elevated platforms so they can be seen by a greater number of non-believers. So, thats where the “God helps Tebow” thing comes from. It’s God giving Tebow success so he can be more available to the world. I’m just telling you what I’ve learned.

  9. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Question: If Tim Tebow throws a Hail Mary pass, is he grasping a set of rosary beads with his other hand?

    • paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      No, that is not an official part of the uniform, he’d be fined for it.

  10. shawndc04 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Matthew 6:5-6:6

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Matthew 24:14

      “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

      It’s pretty clear. Tim Tebow may bring the world to an end.

      • chadjones27 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        Makes sense. The Mayan’s predicted it.

  11. jrs45 - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I just Tebow’d after reading this!

  12. xpensivewinos - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Religion aside, he’s a phenomenal young man…….and completely genuine. In this day and age of the entitled, arrogant, narcissistic, drug-consuming, cheating, lying, dumb professional athlete, it’s refreshing to hear about (and see) someone who actually cares about and helps others. Let’s put it this way, I would rather my kid grow up and be Tim Tebow as opposed to any of the vile scumbag professional athletes out there.

    I find it far more disturbing that the anti-social and deviant behavior we see out of professional athletes on a seemingly daily basis is dismissed with a shrug of the shoulder while the media and fans seem obsessed with mocking Tebow and trying to prove he’s a phony.

    I DO NOT subscribe to Tebow’s religious beliefs, but I’m confident the world would be a much better place if there were a lot more TIm Tebows in it.

    • philsgamer - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      I agree that, aside from religion, Tebow is a good role model for children. However, I don’t think he’ll be a prominent player in the league for very long.

    • fearlessleader - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      “I DO NOT subscribe to Tebow’s religious beliefs, but I’m confident the world would be a much better place if there were a lot more Tim Tebows in it.”

      Well, unless you’re gay or want an abortion. I’m no Tebow-hater, but I’d feel a great deal more charitable toward him if he weren’t associated with the vile, bigoted Focus on the Family.

    • ta192 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      I’m not!

  13. paperlions - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Here is a fun take on Tebow: http://boston.barstoolsports.com/random-thoughts/could-tim-tebow-really-just-be-the-antichrist/

  14. xpensivewinos - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Does it matter how long he’s a prominent professional athlete? He’s going to be a prominent figure in many people’s lives by helping them whether he’s playing football or not. I’ll measure him by his character, not his completion percentage.

    For those with ten minutes to kill, check out Rick Reilly’s current piece on Tebow on ESPN.com. I believe it’s entitled “I Believe In Tim Tebow.” There is something seriously wrong with anyone who reads it and doesn’t have all in the respect in the world for the kid.

  15. challenger7 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    The author is right, Tebow gets more of a spotlight because he plays football and not baseball, but it isn’t because “baseball players have a game everyday” it is because football is BY FAR the most popular sport in America. It’s just the honest truth.
    Also, to the guy who brought up the verse in Matthrw 6:1, Tim doesn’t get on a knee out of arrogance, but our of praise for our Heavenly Father. It is funny to me that a nation founded on the principle of religious freedom can be so hostile to a man who is humble as Tim Tebow.

    • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      First off the notion that the U.S. of America was founded singularly on the principle of religious freedom is convenient revisionist history. (See “The Americans” series Daniel Boorin, among others).

      Second, the Constitution protects Americans from religion also. (See Thomas Jefferson’s letters to the University of Virginia)

      Thirdly, Tebow has accomplished much in his few years, appears to be a fine fellow, who is aided by wonderful athletic gifts. His proselytizing however is gagging to my sensibilities. I feel the same way about the chest-thumping antics of many of his contemporaries. I am well aware of “who” just scored the touchdown without the self-aggrandizing dances, and I do not appreciate Tebow’s indirect (and not so indirect) preaching following every positive contribution on the playing field. (By the way Tim, it is the same God that caused you to toss that “flailing duck” on the post pattern.)

      And lastly. Be careful young man, cause once you convince yourself, you are the “Chosen One”, the chances of your downfall are greatly enhanced. It is a lot like believing all your press clippings.

      • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Er, should read Daniel Boorstin.

  16. cshearing - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Calling him a Christian is technically correct, but let’s understand one thing: he belongs to The Church of Bob Tebow. His missionary work? Converting a population that is currently 85% Catholic to their personal church (I would term it a cult). This never gets mentioned in the mainstream media; I wonder why that is?

  17. okwhitefalcon - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Craig –

    For the first time ever, Bill Dewiit Jr. goes in depth at the Cards Winter Warm up on how the Albert Pujol’s negotiatons went from a Cardinal perspective and you go with a Tebow story?

    C’mon dude..

    For those who are so inclined:

    http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/01/16/12/Cards-chairman-opens-up-on-Pujols-talks/landing_stlcardinals.html?blockID=647054&feedID=3794

  18. camwake - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    CANO>UTLEY

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      CANO>UTLEY
      PEDROIA>UTLEY
      PHILLIPS>UTLEY

  19. ta192 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Tebow needs to thank someone or something…he’s a starting QB in the NFL, so he’s beat even the “Peter Principle” by a step…

  20. unlost1 - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    I wonder if people in Jesus day said, “Well I’m glad that religious thing is working for you Lord, but I’ve got my own life to live”.

  21. kunztown - Jan 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    I for one, love how Tebow has brought the talk of faith into this world through professional sports. If this is a time of the world, where the rapture is near, what better way to open up people’s eyes and get them on the right track then by being a role model. At my “catholic” church this past Sunday, the priest talked about tebow, and how god’s goals for us as “followers” are to reach out to others and bring them closer to god. So many people pray in silence and keep to themselves because they don’t want to “offend” anybody….. Wake up people, because if your not offending anybody, then your not standing up for god. Tebow=role model and Adam Weinwright should do more then if he wants to be noticed…… Like maybe a group prayer before the game like we use to do in catholic baseball leagues ;) …. instead of complaining about the “schedule”. Poor baby ….. End of post!

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