clear
Saturday September 23rd, 2017 8:43AM

Tebow hits St Lucie, the next step of his baseball journey

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Tim Tebow knows he can still improve on everything.

Given his numbers, that's obvious.

If he's the world's most popular minor league .220 hitter, that's just fine with the new left fielder for the St. Lucie Mets. Called up to the New York Mets' advanced Class A affiliate in the Florida State League earlier this week, Tebow was supposed to bat eighth and debut with his new club Tuesday.

First, though, an unplanned day off: The game was postponed after a deluge hit just before the scheduled first pitch. A doubleheader was set for Wednesday.

For St. Lucie, Tebowmania will wait another day.

"We're all as eager as anyone else is to see what the overall impact is going to be," St. Lucie general manager Traer Van Allen said.

Tebow went through batting practice — under bright sun, incidentally — and shook hands on the field with some of his new teammates.

He said he isn't looking ahead, and for now remains just focused on the process of getting better.

"It's a scary place to get caught up in, the 'where's this going to lead,' 'what's going to happen to my future,' 'what is the next day,'" Tebow said. "I get today. Tomorrow's not promised. I'm going to make the most of today.

"And that sounds cliche, but gosh, I hope when you look at my life 10, 20, 30 years from now, you can see somebody that they really took advantage of that day."

Getting promoted with his numbers is not typical.

Then again, nothing about Tebow ever seems typical.

Port St. Lucie was where this baseball odyssey began for Tebow last fall, when the Mets brought the former University of Florida football hero and NFL quarterback — who is now a college analyst for ESPN — in for camp. He went to the Arizona Fall League, came back to Port St. Lucie for spring training, and then was off to play for the Columbia Fireflies in the lower-level South Atlantic League to start this season.

Tebow batted .220 in his 64 games with Columbia. He had three home runs — two in his first three games — and 23 RBIs. Some of his numbers were simply bad: He hit .121 when behind in the count, .136 against left-handers, .161 with runners in scoring position and .165 in road ballparks that often were far less than welcoming.

Now, he's moving up to a league where the pitching is markedly better.

He's not discouraged.

"I still feel like I'm extremely new," the 29-year-old Tebow said.

He is a marketing dream anywhere, particularly Florida. He's in orange and blue again and wearing No. 15 — just as he did when he was a national title-winning, Heisman Trophy-hoisting quarterback for the Gators. A shirt with his name and number was already for sale on the St. Lucie team website early Tuesday.

"We tried to get a lot of things ready ahead of time, expecting he could come to St. Lucie at some point," Van Allen said.

Cheryl Arcadi's home is just outside of West Palm Beach, or about 45 minutes by car from Port St. Lucie. She was planning to attend a St. Lucie Mets game for the first time on Tuesday.

"I didn't know they had a summer team until I heard it on the news on Sunday night. I thought they were just there for preseason," said Arcadi, who bought six tickets for family and friends and was even planning to tailgate in the 98-degree late-afternoon heat, before storms rolled into the area. "We're Gators. We're a Gator football family. We had to come see this. Tim Tebow has earned our support in whatever he does."

For Tebow's debut, team officials were expecting around 5,000 fans. More workers were brought in to handle what would have been a much-bigger-than-usual crowd.

"There'll be people cheering your name in the first inning," Tebow said. "But wait until they have a couple drinks in the seventh inning, they might be booing you. And guess what? I've had a lot of both."

Root for him, root against him, Tebow doesn't mind.

He views baseball as another platform to inspire people, and he's gotten them to turn out in droves — in the minor league sense, anyway.

Columbia's average home attendance for Tebow games was 5,308, a 40 percent increase over what the Fireflies averaged a year ago. St. Lucie came into Tuesday averaging 1,745 fans per game, fifth-best in the FSL. The team's most recent home game on Sunday had an attendance of 789.

All that is about to change.

The big league Mets were playing two hours south in Miami on Tuesday night. It's a short drive, but Tebow knows he's a long way from the majors.

"That would be a great headline," Tebow said. "But it's not something that I focus on."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball, AP Sports - College Football
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tebow hits St Lucie, the next step of his baseball journey
Tebowmania doesn't need long to strike in Port St. Lucie, as fans awaited the Heisman winner
4:50PM ( 7 minutes ago )
The Latest: Ukrainian software cited in cyberattack
How the ransomware was first spread isn't known for sure, but several experts singled out Ukrainian accounting software called MEDoc, which in a brief message posted to its website acknowledged having been hacked
4:42PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says it's 'OK' if health bill doesn't pass
President Donald Trump says that if the health care bill fails to pass in the Senate, he won't like it _ but "that's OK."
4:41PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Report finds USA Gymnastics policies muddled on sex abuse
A former federal prosecutor says USA Gymnastics needs to undergo a "complete culture" change to become better equipped at protecting athletes from abuse
3:58PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Red Sox manager Farrell suspended 1 game after poking umpire
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell has been suspended one game after poking umpire Bill Miller in the chest during an animated argument over the weekend
3:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Michael Jordan, Taylor Swift salute MVP Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has earned kudos from Michael Jordan and Taylor Swift after being honored with his first league MVP trophy at the NBA Awards Monday night
1:43PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Cubs hold on after Nationals rally for 4 in 9th, win 5-4
Wade Davis struck out big league batting leader Ryan Zimmerman with runners on second and third to blunt Washington's ninth-inning rally, and the Chicago Cubs held off the Nationals 5-4
12:39AM ( 16 hours ago )
Down 7 and missing Francona, Indians rally to top Texas 15-9
Francisco Lindor, Lonnie Chisenhall and Carlos Santana each had three RBIs to help the Cleveland Indians rally from a seven-run deficit and beat the Texas Rangers 15-9 after manager Terry Francona left the game because he wasn't feeling well
12:35AM ( 16 hours ago )
Singer's 12 Ks help Gators beat LSU 4-3 in CWS finals opener
Brady Singer struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings, Jonathan India doubled in two runs, and Florida beat LSU 4-3 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals
12:05AM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Former Packers RB Ahman Green charged with child abuse
Former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green has been charged in Brown County, Wisconsin, with child abuse
7:43PM ( 21 hours ago )
Baylor confirms NCAA investigation after sex abuse scandal
Baylor confirms NCAA investigation after sex abuse scandal
6:33PM ( 22 hours ago )
Baylor says NCAA investigation is 'ongoing, pending'
Baylor says the school is being investigated by the NCAA in the wake of a sexual assault scandal
4:08PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: 3 GOP senators threaten to oppose health bill
Threats of opposition from three Republican senators are casting doubt on whether GOP leaders have enough support to move ahead on the Senate health care bill
2:33AM ( 14 hours ago )
Utah wildfire grows to largest active fire in US
A wildfire sparked earlier this month by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds has grown to 72 square miles in southern Utah, becoming the largest active wildfire in the country
11:33PM ( 17 hours ago )
California big tunnels win early approval. Questions remain
U.S. wildlife agencies have given critical first approval to California's ambitious $16 billion project to build two massive tunnels that would re-engineer the water system in the nation's most populous state
8:46PM ( 20 hours ago )
College Sports
Dombrowski turns to Fister again, this time in Boston
Doug Fister is again pitching for Dave Dombrowski, a reunion between a pitcher and an executive with plenty of history
3:09AM ( 1 day ago )
LEADING OFF: Dodgers try for 11th straight win, Hamels back
LEADING OFF: Dodgers try for 11th straight win, Hamels back
2:10AM ( 1 day ago )
Maury Wills calls last game for North Dakota team
Former Los Angeles Dodgers standout Maury Wills has retired again, this time from broadcasting
11:30PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Worth the wait: Bibens-Dirkx pitches Rangers past Yanks 8-1
Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched seven dazzling innings in his first shot at the New York Yankees after 12 seasons in the minors, and Carlos Gomez homered for the Texas Rangers in their 8-1 victory
6:43PM ( 2 days ago )
Cubs send struggling Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa
Chicago Cubs send struggling slugger Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa
5:56PM ( 4 days ago )
Athletics designate popular catcher Vogt for assignment
Catcher Stephen Vogt has been designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics, while rookie infielder Matt Chapman went on the 10-day disabled list with a knee infection that has kept him out of three straight games
2:54PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Pick 6: With Riley moving up, which coordinators are next?
By promoting Lincoln Riley to head coach at age 33, Oklahoma locked up one of the most promising coordinators in college football and took a likely hot candidate off the job market
2:05AM ( 1 week ago )
Mike Gundy signs new, 5-year contract with Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy has signed a five-year contract extension with Oklahoma State that will pay him $4.2 million this year followed by a $125,000 raise each year afterward
2:55PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Colorado officials disciplined for handling of allegations
Three University of Colorado officials, including its chancellor and football coach, have been disciplined for their handling of domestic violence allegations against a former assistant football coach
11:43AM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Sports - College Football
The Latest: Ukrainian software cited in cyberattack
How the ransomware was first spread isn't known for sure, but several experts singled out Ukrainian accounting software called MEDoc, which in a brief message posted to its website acknowledged having been hacked
4:42PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says it's 'OK' if health bill doesn't pass
President Donald Trump says that if the health care bill fails to pass in the Senate, he won't like it _ but "that's OK."
4:41PM ( 16 minutes ago )
For Bulls, blockbuster trade is all about direction
The Chicago Bulls set a clear direction by trading All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night last week
4:40PM ( 17 minutes ago )
FBI locates car related to missing Chinese scholar case
FBI locates car related to missing Chinese scholar case
4:39PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Trump administration moves to withdraw clean-water rule
The Trump administration is taking steps to roll back an Obama administration policy that protected more than half the nation's streams from pollution
4:31PM ( 27 minutes ago )