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In spring training, you’re bound to take your lumps. That’s kind of the point. And so on Wednesday, Tim Tebow — the ex-quarterback trying to make a baseball career happen with the New York Mets at age 29 — took his lumps.
It was Tebow’s first spring game with the Mets, meaning his first game against big-league talent. The Mets “borrowed” him from their minor-league roster, no doubt because they wanted to bring the Tebow show to a bigger audience. And the show? It went about as well as sitting front row to see Gallagher in an all-white suit.
First at-bat? Tebow struck out looking on four pitches against reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. He wasn’t too happy about the call either.
Second at-bat? He grounded into a double play, which allowed a run to score. There’s no RBI for Tebow in that scenario, but he got a standing ovation. “First standing O I’ve ever seen for grounding into a double play,” said Mets announcer Ron Darling.
Third at-bat? Hit by a pitch. Hey, he got on base, right? Alas, it was short-lived. He was doubled off on a line drive to second base.
Fourth at-bat? Another strikeout, looking again, still not happy about it.
“I didn’t necessarily think some of those were strikes,” Tebow told reporters after the game, observing the time-honored baseball tradition of not liking the umpire’s strike zone.
The stat line looked like this: 0-for-3, two Ks. He was responsible for five outs and helped push one run across the plate. It wasn’t great, but that wasn’t altogether unexpected, considering until a few months ago he hadn’t played baseball since he was in high school. Now here he was, facing the Boston Red Sox.
The hit-by-pitch offered a moment for Tebow to laugh at himself.
“I’ve been good at taking hits most of my career,” he told reporters after the game.
Such is the advantage of being an ex-football player. He knows how to get back up. One thing that’s not the same as football: He doesn’t have to wait a week to try again. Mets manager Terry Collins said he plans for Tebow to start in the outfield on Friday.
That begs the question: Whatcha gonna do, when Tebowmania runs wild … into a wall?
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