Tim Tebow show coming to Charleston beginning Friday at Riley Park
Tim Tebow, the popular outfielder for the Columbia Fireflies, finally is coming to Charleston. And Dave Echols, president of the Charleston RiverDogs, couldn’t be happier.
“It’s a unique situation we have because Tebow is clearly helping us sell out these games in advance,” Echols said this week.
The Fireflies, the Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, will play the RiverDogs, the Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, in a three-game series beginning Friday at Riley Park.
They’ve already faced each other this year, but this will be the first time Charleston has hosted Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner and two-time college football champion at Florida. The Fireflies have been drawing overflow crowds to home and road games in the South Atlantic League because of Tebow.
Echols said seating is sold out for the Friday and Saturday night games, and standing room is almost reaching capacity as well. For Sunday’s game, Echols said there were about 1,000 tickets remaining on Wednesday.
“We know he brings value to the stadiums he visits, and we’re excited to have him in Charleston,” Echols said.
One of the seats that will be occupied is eight rows up and parallel to first base. It belongs to Bubba Lloyd, a season ticketholder who always comes to home games to root for his team.
He’ll still be cheering for the RiverDogs this weekend, but Lloyd is also interested to see how Tebow will perform.
“I’m looking forward to the crowd and seeing how it’s going to be when he gets here,” he said.
Lloyd said he knows people who bought tickets for this series before the season started, and even heard rumors that one business owner bought out a whole section for his employees for one of the games.
The longtime RiverDogs fan is excited because he wasn’t sure if Tebow would still be playing for the Fireflies this late into the season.
“We were concerned he would be moved up by the time Columbia came here,” Lloyd said. “Let’s face it: he’s an attraction. He brings fans to the ballpark.”
Tebow, 29, had a short stint as an NFL quarterback that included one playoff victory with the Denver Broncos. He’s had his share of ups and downs this season, his first in professional baseball.
After homering in two of his first three games, his batting average dropped to a season-low .156 on April 19. In the following eight days, Tebow boosted his average to .250. However, it dropped again and currently sits at .223. He has three homers and 20 RBI this season.
When Tebow first signed with the Mets in September, New York native Brad Burnett was living in New Jersey and was hoping Tebow would eventually make it to Shea Stadium. Now, Burnett lives in Charleston and is planning a trip to Riley Park this weekend.
“I admire what he’s trying to do. God bless him. Let him have a shot,” he said of Tebow. “As long as it’s not a joke and the guy is contributing to his team, what can you really say?”
For ticket information, go to www.riverdogs.com.