Nearly a month after he held a workout for MLB teams, and just weeks after he was signed to a minor league contract by the New York Mets, Tim Tebow is set to make his instructional league debut on Wednesday. The 29-year-old Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback will play a full, non-simulated game against the St. Louis Cardinals’ instructional league in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Tebow played his final intrasquad game in the Mets’ instructional league on Tuesday, a three-inning simulated game, and it didn’t go badly. In fact, according to the AP, it went pretty well. He struck out in the first inning against Mets pitching prospect Marcos Molina, but laced a single to shallow center in the second inning that was just missed by shortstop Hansel Moreno. Then he attempted a steal, but ended up scoring when Molina committed a throwing error. Tebow’s second hit came in the third inning, a more decisive single through the left side. TCPalm.com caught it on camera.
Tebow also played left field on Tuesday. He missed a fly ball in the second inning, but got two putouts on the day, including the game’s final out. There was a crowd of a few hundred people on hand to watch Tebow in his final intrasquad appearance, and they were apparently delighted.
Tebow is nothing if not well-versed in sports language (i.e. cliches), and gave the AP more than a few after the game. When asked about the game’s final out, a sliding grab which he caught on the backhand, this is what he said:
“You try to get on your horse and go run it down and do what you can do to make the catch.”
Tim Tebow on a horse in the outfield is an endlessly funny image. Sadly, he was done with horse metaphors for the day. This is what he had to say about the second inning fly ball that he charged at but ended up missing.
“I honestly try to (go after) everything pretty hard and try to stay intense. Hopefully, that’s something I can bring to this game and these young kids,” he said. “Everything you do, just do it with an intense amount of focus and effort.”
It’s weird for Tebow to refer to anyone as “kids,” but then you remember that he’s 29 and he’s got 10 or more years on many of his instructional league teammates.
If you’re wondering whether Tebow is nervous about making his instructional league debut and facing pitchers he’s never seen before in a full length game, you probably already know the answer to that, which he gave to TCPalm.com.
“It’ll be fun. I think everybody’s excited about it just getting to play against another team and compete.”
So he’s definitely not nervous, right?
“You prepare for it the same way you prepared for today,” he said. “You don’t want to change anything. You don’t want a game day to be any bigger than any other day. Consistency is the key. Just make the next day a little bit better.”
That’s a great attitude to have, and in an interview with reporters after Tuesday’s game, he reinforced that it’s all about getting experience for him. With his debut on Wednesday, we’ll start to find out whether any of that can carry him beyond simulated intrasquad games.
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