Tim Tebow’s debut with Syracuse Mets on Thursday will be one step closer to big league dream

first_imgTebow is still trying to convince people that he isn’t just a football player anymore, he said. But Tebow thinks he’s moved in the right direction.“When you do something for so long it just becomes so natural,” Tebow said. “So trying to get those movements for this game, where it’s just that natural. I don’t think I’ve fully done that yet but I think I’ve made a lot of strides in it.”The group of outfielders around Tebow should positively impact his baseball career. The Mets feature 38-year-old Rajai Davis, 35-year-old Gregor Blanco and 33-year-old Carlos Gomez. That trio has more than 11,000 at-bats in Major League Baseball, and on Tuesday, Tebow huddled with them at the beginning of the Mets’ workout.Blanco offers small, mechanical suggestions to Tebow. Davis “specializes” in baserunning, Tebow added. When Davis pulled out a football-like juke move on the bases in a drill Tuesday, Tebow let out a loud “ooh” twice as Davis flashed a big grin. And Gomez brings a youthful enthusiasm that reminds Tebow why he’s out there in the first place.“He still plays it like he’s a kid, which kind of reminds you how fun the game is as well,” Tebow said.Tebow is just a step away from reaching the dream of any baseball player: making the major leagues. But he’s not overly concerned with where he ends up. Right now, he’s happy to be showing up to the ballpark with an opportunity at all.“Where I end at, I don’t know,” Tebow said. “I think it’s have the mindset that this whole journey is kind of about enjoying it but being overall the best you can be, wherever that stops it stops.”The first pitch Tebow saw in instructional league, he hit a home run. His first low-A at bat was a homer, and his first game in High-A featured another. Tebow’s first at bat at Double-A Binghamton a year ago was a homer, too.Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorHe said his goal won’t be to go deep in his first at-bat Thursday, because that would mean changing his approach. But Blanco’s words about Tebow’s chances of making the major leagues might apply just as well to the chances of debut magic.“We just try to help him hopefully have his dream to become a major league player. He’s one step away,” Blanco said.“And who knows? He might just do it.” Comments Tim Tebow taking a round of BP pic.twitter.com/cIHzc5XQLk— Billy Heyen (@Wheyen3) April 2, 2019 As Tim Tebow took warm-up swings Tuesday afternoon, a handful of reporters with cameras moved in closer. A Syracuse Mets coach walked through and asked them to back up. Tebow just kept swinging.The former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is used to the attention, but with the opening day of the Triple-A season at hand, Syracuse is only just being introduced to it.The Mets and Tebow begin the campaign with a 2:05 p.m. game against the Pawtucket Red Sox at NBT Bank Stadium on Thursday. Tebow’s first game action for Syracuse will be his Triple-A debut, one step of organized baseball away from the major leagues. Since returning to the sport in 2016 for the first time since high school, Tebow has drawn large crowds everywhere he’s played. Now it’s Syracuse’s turn.“I haven’t even thought about Tim Tebow right now, you guys,” Syracuse manager Tony DeFrancesco joked Tuesday to the media. “I’m excited, I want to watch him play too. … It’d be a great story. And you’re always rooting for an underdog. And Tim is gonna fight all the way through.”Baseball was one of Tebow’s first loves, ever since he donned a Chicago White Sox jersey in Little League when he was 4 years old, wearing No. 35 at the same time as now-Hall of Famer Frank Thomas did. He gave it up to play college football at Florida, though, a decision Tebow called one of the toughest he’s ever made. About a decade off from the game followed.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe first time DeFrancesco saw Tebow play baseball was in the lefty’s first major-league spring training game in 2017. DeFrancesco was on the Houston Astros’ coaching staff, across the diamond from the Mets. Tebow looked “like a football player trying to play baseball,” DeFrancesco said.Tebow was “big,” “thick” and “slow,” DeFrancesco said. He thought Tebow’s biggest issue was a lack of game experience. The daily repetition that makes someone a natural ballplayer, repetition that Tebow went more than a decade without, had been missing. That was two springs ago. Now, DeFrancesco sees the adjustments Tebow’s made to become a better fielder and improved hitter. Published on April 3, 2019 at 11:21 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more