PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman once hit a couple of batting practice home runs at Fenway Park.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt did the same at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Closer to home, comedian and Mets fans Kevin James homered at Citi Field on Sunday.
But Edelman, Watt and the former “King of Queens” star aren’t trying to become major-league baseball players at the age of 29, having last played as a junior in high school in 2005.
Tim Tebow is.
So when Tebow launched a ball over the rightfield fence on a back field at the Mets’ spring training facility on Tuesday, it immediately became the Batting Practice Home Run Heard ’Round the World.
The Tebow world, anyway.
On his second day of Instructional League, Tebow homered on his next-to-last swing of the day against batting practice pitcher Jose Carreno, the manager of the Gulf Coast League Mets.
It was Tebow’s second straight day facing Carreno, a 38-year-old former minor-league catcher. So perhaps the lefty-swinging Tebow just figured out the righthander’s stuff.
“It’s not necessarily the goal,” Tebow said of hitting home runs. “But if you do it, it’s good, too. Like today, we’re just working on trying to go gap-to-gap, keeping everything in the gaps, so there’s a focus and that’s the goal. If you get one good and it goes a little farther, that’s great, too.”
Unlike James, who took a tour around the bases after a theatrical bat flip, Tebow simply took his next swing. It led to another drive, this one one-hopping the right-centerfield wall.
After that, Tebow’s three rounds of batting practice were over. He shagged fly balls in the outfield, signed autographs and then held his second news conference in as many days.
Tebow’s debut on Monday drew about 600 fans, 70 media members and a TV news helicopter. The helicopter was absent on Tuesday, the fans numbered about 100 and the media was down to about 30.
“Whether it’s five people or 500 people, you can’t let that bother you,” said Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback. “The size of the crowd or what people are saying or hype or no hype, I just try not to get involved at all. I try not to pay attention at all and just focus on being a baseball player.”
Tebow will work out with 57 other Mets minor leaguers through Friday — no more news conferences this week — before leaving to do his TV work for the SEC Network. This week it’s Auburn-LSU on Saturday.
After that, Tebow will return to the diamond on Monday as the Mets’ squad begins to play games against other teams’ rookies and prospects.
“That’s why I’m here,” Tebow said. “Practice and playing them. I can’t wait.”
Tebow said he is settling into his new sport, team and schedule. He said the logistical issues from the first day — how to get to the clubhouse, where the practice fields are, meeting his campmates (some of whom are teenagers) — are behind him.
Tebow-mania may have begun to die down some, but the former Jet’s No. 15 Mets jersey did become the No. 1 seller in all of baseball on Monday. And Tebow is getting used to being in sleepy Port St. Lucie, which will be his baseball home until Oct. 8.
“Some people saw me at Target getting some supplies,” Tebow said. “I’ll be out and about. Still got to live life. Everybody’s been so nice.”