I'm sure they meant it as a joke.
It is certainly unusual for someone to be playing class-A baseball at 29 but this isn't any normal guy or situation.
This is a world class athlete and a champion. It is a guy who has shown tremendous leadership, determination and work ethic in everything he has done.
He's 29 and trying to learn to do the hardest thing in sports--hit a baseball--so it is certainly an uphill battle.
But anyone who is counting him out obviously hasn't paid attention to his career to date.
And there is no way in which this is a publicity stunt. He is one of the most popular athletes in the country and he doesn't need publicity. The Mets are only a season removed from being in the World Series and have some of the brightest and most marketable stars in the game--they don't need the publicity either. Both the Mets and Tim Tebow are completely serious here and wouldn't be doing this otherwise.
Opening Day in Columbia is a little more than two weeks away. This should be fun.