partlycloudy
Monday July 24th, 2017 4:31PM

Tim Terrific: Tebow homers in 1st AB as Mets minor leaguer

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Of course he did.

Tim Tebow hit a home run in his first official at-bat as a New York Mets minor leaguer, a charmed start Thursday night for a popular yet polarizing athlete who seems to have a knack for these remarkable moments.

Playing a sport where many thought he didn't even belong in the batter's box, the former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner launched a two-run drive for the Columbia Fireflies in a Class A South Atlantic League game against Augusta. It was his only hit in five plate appearances.

"All of my sports experiences helped me for moments like that," Tebow said.

With a 15 mph wind blowing out, Tebow hit a shot just over the 372-foot sign in left-center field. He stopped at second base, thinking it was a double — but the ball hit a railing above the fence at the Bojangles Berm, and an umpire twirled his hand to indicate it was a homer.

Tebow spent an hour in the batting cage before batting practice Thursday with the hitting coach hitting fastballs away to the opposite field. Then on the fourth pitch, he got one.

"It definitely felt good because that is something we worked on so much today," Tebow said laughing.

Tebow clapped and pumped his fist in the air as he rounded the rest of the bases in the second inning as the crowd, already going wild, went into a frenzy. His teammates rushed the dugout railing, waiting for him. He laughed when he talked about one of his teammates saying it was the best thing he had ever experienced.

"Special things happen to special people. And that was a special moment," Columbia manager Jose Leger said.

The 29-year-old Tebow played three seasons in the NFL, highlighted by a playoff touchdown pass in overtime that lifted the Denver Broncos over Pittsburgh. A two-time national champion at the University of Florida, he left football for broadcasting after the 2012 season.

Tebow later tried out with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, but got cut in training camp. He then decided to pursue a career in a sport he last played as a junior in high school, signing a minor league deal with the Mets.

Last fall, in the Instructional League, he also homered his first time up. But in spring training for the Mets, Tebow batted .148 in 27 appearances. He struck out eight times and didn't have an extra base hit or an RBI.

The lefty-hitting Tebow homered off Augusta lefty Domenic Mazza, a 22-year-old who had an 11-3 career record in the minors after playing at UC Santa Barbara. Mazza was the 666th pick in the 2015 draft.

In Tebow's second at-bat, he couldn't beat out a slow roller to the shortstop. He struck out the next three times up — two of them looking.

"There will be a lot of highs and lows in this game. That's why you can't make too much of anything," Tebow said.

Columbia beat Augusta 14-7, with the Fireflies hitting three home runs.

Tebow was batting seventh for the Fireflies and starting in left field in a league that typically uses 21- or 22-year-olds early in their pro careers.

Tebow sort of fits that mold. He hasn't played organized baseball since his junior year of high school. He concentrated on football, winning the Heisman as a sophomore for Florida in 2007.

He then went to the NFL. In 2011, Tebow lifted the Broncos over the Steelers with an 80-yard TD pass on the first play of overtime. Tebow was traded to the New York Jets the next season, throwing only eight passes.

But maybe it's Columbia that suits Tebow well. With the Gators, he accounted for seven touchdowns, threw for 304 yards and ran for 120 more as Florida beat South Carolina about 3 miles away at Williams-Brice Stadium 51-31 in the 2007 game that cemented his Heisman Trophy campaign.

Columbia is embracing the man it once rooted against. Noelle Colligan stood in a line at least a dozen people deep to buy a new No. 15 Tebow Fireflies jersey. She became a Tebow fan watching his march to the 2007 Heisman Trophy. The University of South Carolina student put on the jersey before the game started.

Then, as Tebow came to the plate, she leaned over and told a friend with the wind blowing out and Tebow's amazing career so far, she just knew he would hit one out.

"It's just not who he is as an athlete. It's his whole character. It's what he believes. It's the good work he does," said Colligan, who volunteered in February with a local special needs prom put on by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

In the Fireflies merchandise shop called The Mason Jar, employees were restocking the racks with the Tebow jerseys well into the night.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Football, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, College Sports, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Unruly, 'disheveled' man subdued on jet heading to Hawaii
A man on a Hawaii-bound flight described as disheveled and unruly was subdued by passengers and flight attendants who used an airplane drink cart to block him from getting to the front of the jet
11:23AM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Rouhani: Iranians want 'peace and friendship'
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is saying that the message of Friday's election that gave him another four-year term is one of Iran living in peace and friendship with the world.
11:15AM ( 25 minutes ago )
High society: Pippa Middleton marries at almost-royal event
Pippa Middleton has married a wealthy financier as senior British royals _ including her sister _ looking on
11:12AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: 2 future British kings attend Pippa's wedding
There were spring weddings all across England on Saturday, but only Pippa Middleton's nuptials featured two likely future British kings on the guest list
9:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
Cavs send Celtics to record loss, 130-86, lead series 2-0
LeBron James scored 30 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers steamrolled the Boston Celtics 130-86 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals and tie an NBA record with their 13th straight playoff victory
8:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
Thomas injured, Celtics find new low in Game 2 loss to Cavs
Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas sat out the second half of Boston's demoralizing Game 2 loss in of the Eastern Conference finals against Cleveland because of a right hip strain
12:39AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Sports
Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon upbeat in cancer fight
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon says he's received nothing but positive news since being diagnosed with testicular cancer earlier this month
7:47PM ( 15 hours ago )
LEADING OFF: Rangers roll into road trip, Wood good for LA
LEADING OFF: Rangers roll into road trip, Wood good for LA
3:07AM ( 1 day ago )
Turner injures right hamstring, Dodgers beat Marlins 7-2
Justin Turner left in the seventh inning after injuring his right hamstring, curbing the celebration for the Los Angeles Dodgers after a 7-2 victory over the Miami Marlins
2:55AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Baseball
AP Source: Usmanov bid to buy Arsenal rejected by Kroenke
A person familiar with the situation says Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has had an offer to buy out owner Stan Kroenke rejected
4:03PM ( 19 hours ago )
Top dollar: Browns sign Myles Garrett, 1st overall pick
Top overall draft pick Myles Garrett signs rookie contract with Browns
3:02PM ( 20 hours ago )
Stadium for Rams, Chargers delayed; won't open until 2020
The opening date for the $2.6 billion football stadium under construction in Inglewood, California, has been pushed back one year to 2020
8:45PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: Trump signs Saudi defense, economic deals
President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman sign agreements cementing military, economic partnerships
10:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
Freed Nigerian schoolgirls meeting families after 3 years
Freed Nigerian schoolgirls have emotional reunion with families after 3 years with Boko Haram
10:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
US first lady ignores Trump criticism and shuns headscarf
US first lady Melania Trump ignores husband's past admonition, doesn't cover her head in Saudi Arabia
10:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Pippa Middleton marries as royals look on
Pippa Middleton is marrying a wealthy financier with a party of senior royals looking on
8:19AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Assad congratulates Rouhani on victory
Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the first world leaders to congratulate President Rouhani on his re-election
8:18AM ( 3 hours ago )
GOP's Cotton in Iowa: "I'm ready for that new beginning."
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton meets with Republican activists in the early presidential testing ground of Iowa, walking a delicate path by raising his national political profile at a time of turmoil for Donald Trump's White House
7:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Trump seeks to move past US troubles on first trip abroad
President Donald Trump receives regal welcome by wealthy kingdom of Saudi Arabia on first trip abroad as president, hoping to escape controversies at home.
8:39AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Putin congratulates Rouhani on victory
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a congratulatory message to Hasan Rouhani after his re-election as President of Iran
7:18AM ( 4 hours ago )
Trump seeks to move past controversies as he lands in Riyadh
President Donald Trump begins foreign trip amid series of controversies
5:24AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Iowa to pay $6.5M to settle landmark sports bias lawsuits
The University of Iowa will pay $6.5 million to settle discrimination lawsuits filed by former athletic administrator Jane Meyer and her partner, former women's field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum
4:17PM ( 19 hours ago )
New Baylor lawsuit alleges football rape 'bonding'
A new federal lawsuit against Baylor University alleges football players routinely recorded gang rapes that were considering "bonding" events, and staged dog fights in hazing parties in a program that fostered sexual violence
1:57PM ( 2 days ago )
Pick 6: Kelly, Rodriguez, Mora in need of improvement in '17
The hot seat in college football can be defined as a coach who is danger of being fired if his team does not improve upon last season
2:25AM ( 3 days ago )
College Sports
Tebow Watch: Former NFL QB has 1st RBIs in nearly a month
Tim Tebow drove in his first runs in nearly a month with two RBIs in a win in Delmarva (Maryland) this week
2:26AM ( 5 days ago )
LEADING OFF: Keuchel, Bundy seek 6th wins; Trout eyes return
LEADING OFF: Keuchel, Bundy seek 6th wins; Trout eyes return
2:45AM ( 1 week ago )
LEADING OFF: Ailing Trout, Harper expected back in lineup
LEADING OFF: Ailing Trout, Harper expected back in lineup
2:40AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Sheriff: Chiefs top draft pick Mahomes unharmed in robbery
Authorities in Texas say rookie Kansas Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was unharmed after reportedly being robbed last weekend, and two suspects are in custody
4:42PM ( 4 days ago )
Butt out to prove he's the best tight end in '17 draft class
Jake Butt is out to prove he's the best tight end in the 2017 draft class even though six tight ends were selected ahead of him
4:45PM ( 6 days ago )
Rudolph trying to overcame father's death, make Giants team
Travis Randolph trying to overcame father's death, make Giants team
2:33PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - College Football
LeGarrette Blount joins the Eagles on 1-year contract
The Eagles and running back LeGarrette Blount have agreed on a one-year contract
11:37AM ( 3 days ago )
Leonard Marshall, Matt Hasselbeck pledge brains to research
Leonard Marshall and Matt Hasselbeck have pledged their brains to CTE research
9:12AM ( 3 days ago )
Bon Jovi surprises grads, guests with commencement show
Bon Jovi entertains Fairleigh Dickinson grads, guests with surprise commencement performance
7:03PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Unruly, 'disheveled' man subdued on jet heading to Hawaii
A man on a Hawaii-bound flight described as disheveled and unruly was subdued by passengers and flight attendants who used an airplane drink cart to block him from getting to the front of the jet
11:23AM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Rouhani: Iranians want 'peace and friendship'
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is saying that the message of Friday's election that gave him another four-year term is one of Iran living in peace and friendship with the world.
11:15AM ( 25 minutes ago )
High society: Pippa Middleton marries at almost-royal event
Pippa Middleton has married a wealthy financier as senior British royals _ including her sister _ looking on
11:12AM ( 27 minutes ago )
French AIDS drama earns best reviews yet at Cannes
The French AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" has debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and has quickly joined the shortlist of favorites for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or prize
11:09AM ( 31 minutes ago )
What's next for Iran after President Hassan Rouhani's win?
After President Hassan Rouhani's electoral win, what's next for Iran in the coming years?
10:38AM ( 1 hour ago )