With the status of the minor league season looking more doubtful by the day, Major League Baseball teams released hundreds of minor league players on Thursday amid the coronavirus shutdown.
One of those players was former New York Mets second-round pick Andrew Church, who is now very ready to tell you what he really thinks about his treatment by the Mets, the team’s leadership and the decision to sign a certain celebrity as a minor league player.
Ex-Mets minor leaguer burns bridge after release
In a lengthy caption on an Instagram post from Thursday, Church tore into how he believed the team took advantage of his love for baseball and damaged his career in the process. He recalled tearing his UCL after the team allegedly pushed him into a game with no warm-ups, then having his request to see a doctor to ignored while the organization had him pitch for another team.
He also had choice words for the decision to bring on an unnamed “celebrity” to sell tickets, and even mentioned an accusation that the celebrity saw a cut of the team’s minor league sales.
“They made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets,” Church wrote. “I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did.”
As far as we know, there was only one player on the 2017 St. Lucie Mets who could be considered a ticket-selling celebrity: Tim Tebow.
You can check out Church’s full post below. Warning: there is some graphic language.
Former #Mets second round draft pick Andrew Church, who was among those released today, offered some honest opinions on the state of the organization and player development system via Instagram.— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) May 29, 2020
It’s worth reading. pic.twitter.com/5Rzf2vkxPh
Tebow’s baseball career needs no introduction. The Mets drew everything from guffaws to outrage for their decision to sign the former Heisman Trophy winner and give him real at-bats with several of their minor league teams.
Church overlapped with Tebow on three different teams over the course of 2017 to 2019, starting with St. Lucie at High-A in 2017. Most recently, Tebow hit .163/.240/.255 in 264 plate appearances for Triple-A Syracuse last season at the age of 31, and received a major league spring training invite this year.
Tebow has also been pursuing this baseball career while balancing time with his broadcasting job at ESPN, which you don’t often see from players seriously trying to make the majors.
Where Tebow has lacked in batting average and time commitment, he has more than made up for it — at least in the Mets’ eyes — in ticket sales. Pretty much every minor league team has seen an uptick in attendance when he’s in town.
Mets full of ‘snakes and bottom feeders’
Above all, Church seemed angriest with the culture of the Mets organization, though he did note some improvement on that front. He said his frustration with the Mets even led him to briefly retire in 2018.
“The culture that has been built for decades within that organization is toxic,” Church wrote. “Filled with snakes and bottom feeders trying to elevate their professional careers at the expense of the players, with no remorse.”
The 25-year-old Church finished his message with a pledge that this release won’t be the end of his baseball career, a concern many players suddenly without a team are facing. Most of the players released Thursday likely won’t find a new team until next season, but will have to survive financially and stay in shape until then if they want another chance.
It’s a cold time in baseball, so it was only natural a player would want to throw a little heat on his way out.
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