SYRACUSE, N.Y.– By now, we all know that Tim Tebow is trying to add his name to the short list of athletes to play two professional sports. Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson are two of the most recent names to have done so successfully. However, unlike Sanders and Jackson, Tebow took some time off from baseball when he committed to play football at Florida State. It wasn’t so much of a ‘break’, but more of an 11-year hiatus.
Before signing to play in the New York Mets organization in 2016, Tebow hadn’t played baseball competitively since his junior year of high school. He hit .494 with four home runs for Nease High School that season, taking his team to the Final Four. But, he decided to drop the bat and focus entirely on football at Florida State. The roles are now reversed.
Just because he didn’t play baseball for the Gators doesn’t mean Tebow didn’t think about it. In fact, he often joked with his coach that he wanted to play both.
“Even when I went to Florida, me and Urban [Meyer] would argue all the time, ‘I think I’m going to go play baseball this year. He mostly recruited me when I was playing baseball and he came to a lot of my baseball games.”
Joking or not, playing baseball in college might have made his transition to the MLB much easier. For Tebow’s current teammates on the Syracuse Mets, baseball is their profession. Many of them are veterans, having played in both Triple-A and the Major Leagues for years.
Even those that have never been called up spent years playing through the farm system, including catcher Colton Plaia. He said the long, intensive training process makes Tebow’s accomplishments so far even more impressive.
“You learn that baseball is more than just athleticism. He [Tebow] is kind of a freak athlete, he can do a lot of things. While I haven’t been on a team with him yet, I’ve seen the improvements he’s made.”
There was never a question about Tebow’s athleticism, but he was doubted in just about every other aspect. People criticized his size, his throwing motion and even his intentions. But Tebow never lets it get in his head.
“It’s not easy, so you have to be able to lock in and have that mental toughness where you, if you need to, you block out the fans, you block out the naysayers, you bock out the media.”
Tebow has been unstoppable, already making it to Triple-A after just three years. He’s showing no signs of slowing down. Who knows, give him three months and maybe he’ll be at Citi Field.