Mets farmhand goes yard in first at-bat with Columbia
By Alyson Footer
Tim Tebow has more work to do if he's going to silence his critics as he continues his foray into professional baseball, but he made a little headway in his Minor League debut on Thursday when he homered in his first at-bat of the 2017 season.
Wearing No. 15 for the Class A Columbia Fireflies and playing in his new home ballpark, Spirit Communications Park in the South Carolina capital, Tebow, who batted seventh, accounted for the Fireflies' first two runs with a two-run homer in the second inning off Augusta GreenJackets lefty Domenic Mazza.
"It definitely feels good to help the team," Tebow said. "We're competing. It's fun to get back to the dugout and everyone's pumped up and ready to go. I think we feed off each other's excitement."
With a runner on third and two out, Tebow lifted a long fly ball toward left-center that appeared to hit the wall for a double. But the ball actually hit the railing just above the yellow line, allowing Tebow, who had stopped at second, to instead break into a mini-home run trot.
It was Tebow's only hit of the game. He grounded out to short in the second inning and then struck out in his next three at-bats -- the first two, looking at a called third strike, and the last one, swinging.
"I know some people want to sensationalize it, but to me, it's just one day," Tebow said. "It's one opportunity. Tomorrow will be another opportunity, to wake up and try to get better."
Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner who spent parts of three seasons (2010-12) as a quarterback in the NFL, signed with the Mets on Sept. 8, 2016, a few weeks after going public with his desire to play professional baseball.
Tebow was assigned to the club's instructional league team in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and he followed that warmup with a brief stint in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .194 with three doubles and two RBIs.
Tebow played in nine games with the Mets during Spring Training, logging four hits in 27 at-bats. He walked once and struck out eight times.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.