All eyes in the baseball world were on Tim Tebow yesterday as he held an open workout in front of Major League Baseball scouts and media, in an attempt to begin a career as a professional baseball player. Many current and former MLB players are offended that the former Heisman winner thinks he can start a baseball career after not playing the sport in 11 years. However, reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson is not one of them. The Toronto Blue Jays third baseman joined The Jim Rome Show on Wednesday to share his thoughts.
“I sent a tweet out yesterday saying he looked like a left-handed version of Jeff Bagwell and some people, some Astros fans, got mad at me a little bit,” Donaldson laughed. “And I’m like, ‘looks’ like. Did you see the guys physique? The guy is enormous. He’s huge. Jeff Bagwell was a pretty big guy too, kind of squatty, their batting stance, this, that and the other.
“I wasn’t trying to say he was going to perform like Jeff Bagwell by any sense of the matter.”
The three-time All-Star made it clear that he doesn’t have a problem with what Tebow’s trying to accomplish, pointing out a similar story from a guy on the Blue Jays’ current roster.
“We had a guy on our team that got sent down yesterday who was playing in a men’s adult softball league a couple years ago, and now he’s in our bullpen throwing 100 [miles per hour]. People weren’t all pissed off that Bo Schultz came over here and quit his men’s softball league and was like ‘I’m going to just come out here and throw 100 in the big leagues now,’” Donaldson said. “But some people have a problem with Tebow playing. I don’t.
“I think it gives you a story that is somewhat interesting, and do I think he’s major league ready right now, or even probably triple-A or double-A ready? No, he’s not. If I took eleven years off, I wouldn’t be Major League ready. So the fact of the matter is I think it’s a cool story.
Donaldson believes the odds are against Tebow based solely on the fact of how hard it is to make the big leagues for guys who don’t go 11 years without playing the sport.
“Do I think Tebow’s going to be a big leaguer? Probably not. But that’s not really me going out on a limb, because like one-percent of baseball players who tryout actually get to the big leagues, and even fewer than that stay longer than a few months. So getting to the major leagues is really hard and staying here is tough too. These pitchers are nasty, and they do a good job. You got to try and hit 100 and then try to hit an 89 mile an hour slider with a 90 mile an hour split change, it’s not easy. It’s not for everyone.”
Josh Donaldson is an avid golfer. Conventional wisdom among many baseball players, coaches and executives is for entry-level hitters to stay away from golfing in fear of the game hurting their baseball swing, but Donaldson said the sport actually helps his baseball swing.
“When I was coming up, people were like hey, you can’t play golf and baseball at the same time. Well, I play golf all the time,” Donaldson laughed. “I really started learning a lot about my baseball swing from my golf swing. People, whenever I tell them, they are like ‘dude, what?!’ I’m like yeah, man.
“In golf, there’s times where you are trying to hit the ball as far as you can, and there’s times in golf when you’re trying to control yardage. And in baseball, there’s times when I’m trying to hit the ball as far as I can, and then there’s times when I have a two-strike approach or maybe a man on third base, when I’m trying to be able to control my plane, whether I’m hitting a hard line drive or maybe I’m trying to hit a sacrifice fly, but not trying to come out of my swing where everything’s under control.”
Donaldson touched on the similarities that are forming between golf and baseball.
“In golf, they have a big thing about launch angles and now in baseball you’re just starting to hear the term ‘launch angles,’ and in golf, kind of the last 10 years, they’ve really been talking about it, maybe longer,” Donaldson said. “I feel they’re similar. Obviously, the hardest thing about baseball is the ball is moving, and people are throwing sliders. There’s up, down, middle, and in golf it’s all in one plane, but I feel like it’s very similar if you kind of understand what you’re trying to get out of it.”
The Blue Jays’ third baseman is hitting the ball so well again this season he’s in the race for another AL MVP, an award he feels like he could potentially win again.
“Anytime, to win the award is very special, to do it back-to-back, I think it kind of puts you in rare company,” Donaldson said. “It’s one of those things where, you know what, it’s very possible. I feel like it could happen.
“Our team’s having a great season. We’re leading the division right now. I feel pretty confident about how’ve I’ve played up to this point as of now. I feel like I’m kind of starting to feel pretty good at the plate right now, so who knows what’s going to happen, and I don’t know how people are going to see it and vote, but I feel very good where my team is at and where I sit as well.”