Tim Tebow shows off some power during Mets spring-training debut
Tim Tebow is back.
Today, the former Eagles quarterback reported to Mets minor league camp, and was quickly confronted with the idea that his bid to play baseball in the big leagues is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
"I'm not going to worry about what everyone's writing or however I'm being marketed. For me, I just want to be able to continue the process, enjoy the process, have fun out there," Tebow said during a news conference packed with reporters. "I don't have to give my chances."
Tebow told reporters that his ultimate goal isn't to make the team, it's simply to enjoy every day he gets to train and play baseball.
"It's not my biggest calling. I want my life to be so much more than that," Tebow told reporter. "I want to be someone that was known for bringing faith, hope, and love to those needing brighter day in their darkest hour of need."
After the news conference, Tebow hit the batting cage, where he was able to show off his swing to reporters.
He'll need every ounce of faith he can muster. Earning a spot on a Mets squad filled with decent outfielders will be an uphill battle for Tebow, who is now 29 and hasn't played organized baseball since he was in high school. He signed a minor league contract with the Mets back in September that included a $100,000 signing bonus.
During a stint in the Arizona Fall League, Tebow went 12 for 62 (.194) and struck out 20 times in 19 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions, leading scouts to write pretty harsh evaluations about the former Heisman Trophy winner.
"I think Tim Tebow should stick to announcing and never play baseball again," ESPN MLB insider Keith Law said on a conference call at the end of January. "He was the worst player I've ever seen in the 10 years I've been going to the Arizona Fall League."
One scout with Major League experience echoed Law's assessment, telling NJ.com's Randy Miller that while Tebow may have the bat speed of a professional, he was "out of place and overmatched" during his time with the team.
"He's pretty much a rookie ballplayer who's 29. And I'm being nice," the scout said. "He's got a long ways to go. These guys are obviously way better than him."
But Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, who told the Associated Press he recently spent time working on batting with Tebow, was impressed with the former college football star.
"I think that the power is real. What he needs is at-bats," Murphy said. "He needs 500, 600 plate appearances to try to make adjustments on the fly. It's always interesting to see what happens when — he's done all this work, and he's improved greatly — you go from someone trying to hit your barrel to someone trying to not hit your barrel. He just needs that experience to pull from, which only a full season can give you."