(The Sports Xchange) – In a blue New York Mets’ batting practice jersey stitched with a No. 15 on the back, Tim Tebow began his bid to make it in professional baseball on Monday at Tradition Field at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
“It was a lot of fun, it was great to be a on a team, go through a warm-up, take batting practice, try to remember as many names as possible,” Tebow said. “It was just fun.”
Tebow drew a crowd, as expected. The Mets have added “Tebow – Instructional League” to the media credential dropdown menu just below the “Mets Division Series” selection option.
More than 67 media outlets were credentialed for the start of workouts. The instructional league spans three weeks.
Media throngs well known to Tebow are not common in fall instructional league. Tebow said he will just focus on the workout between the lines.
“One thing I’ve learned is, ‘Let it go in one ear and out the other’,” Tebow said. “I didn’t pay attention. Thankful to be a Met.”
Tebow, 29, signed a $100,000 minor-league contract with the Mets on Sept. 8.
Tebow held a workout in Los Angeles on Aug. 30 and 46 scouts attended. He last played organized baseball as a junior in high school – an 11-year absence from the game – when he batted nearly .500 for Nease High near Jacksonville, Fla.
“The goal would be to have a career in the big leagues,” Tebow said at his workout last month. “I just want to be someone to pursue what I believe in, what I’m passionate about. A lot of people will say, ‘But what if you fail? What if you don’t make it?’ Guess what? I don’t have to live with regret.”
Tebow, hoping to make it as a professional outfielder, will be part of daily workouts through Thursday, but he will be excused Friday and Saturday for his college football analyst duties. The instructional league has a day off on Sunday.
During Monday’s early throwing sessions, with Tebow paired up with another player for a simple warmup toss, Tebow sailed one throw over his catch partner and over the outfield fence.
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback was asked if he had heard from the New England Patriots about a possible tryout. The Patriots are without starting quarterback Tom Brady and backup Jimmy Garoppolo is sidelined by a shoulder injury.
“I’m a Met,” Tebow said.
The Mets apparently agree.
Though he is not part of the players union and typically sales of players not on the 40-man roster are prohibited, the Mets are selling Tebow jerseys in the team store and elsewhere, including outside the workout facility on Monday morning.
Tebow signed a direct marketing deal with Majestic sports apparel to permission the company and Mets to market the jersey.
Plenty of fans made it to the Mets’ Florida facility on Monday, and clearly Tebow was the focus among the team’s 58-man fall roster.
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)