SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — For more than 20 minutes before the second game of his Arizona Fall League career, Tim Tebow talked passionately about an incident with an ill fan.
Tebow, the Mets prospect and former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida, had a scary situation occur right in front of him after his AFL debut on Tuesday in Glendale, Arizona. A fan, identified as Brandon Berry, suffered a seizure in the stands while Tebow was signing autographs along the third-base line.
Tebow never hesitated in going to Berry, talking with the man, and saying a prayer for him. Berry was taken to a hospital and released, according to The Associated Press.
“What would be more important, that I go into the locker room and I get on the bus and we get back a little bit quicker?” Tebow said. “It’s like, in my opinion, it’s not even a choice, it’s the right thing to do. It’s what you’re supposed to do, in my opinion, you just try to, in those moments, be there for people, to help people, because there is not a bigger, better, greater thing than you can do for people in life than be there in a time of need to help them.”
It overshadowed anything Tebow did during Tuesday’s game, and again on Wednesday. Playing leftfield and batting seventh for the Scottsdale Scorpions, he went 0-for-3 with an RBI, which he got when he grounded into a forceout in a 6-4 loss to the Salt River Rafters.
Tebow walked in his first plate appearance and made several routine plays in left. He is 0-for-6 through his first two games.
Tebow admittedly got fired up talking about the incident, stressing that helping people is the most important thing to do, more important than anything he has done or will do during his new baseball career.
“What am I going to do in the next 24 hours or the next week or the rest of my life that’s going to be more important?” Tebow said. “If someone’s in need, what are you ever going to do that’s more important than that? It’s like, you’re not. So when you have opportunities that are meaningful, that are significant, where you can really make an impact, do it. As you can tell, I get passionate about it.”
While the national focus on the start of Tebow’s baseball foray in the desert was shifted to an off-the-field event, the former Florida quarterback also remains focused on the task at hand. He’s excited to face the fall league competition as he continues his path he hopes leads to spring training next year.
“There are a lot of guys who pretty soon are going to be the best in the world at what they do here,” Tebow said. “It’s fun and I’m enjoying it. I totally get that it’s a process, too, and really to embrace that process and not get super focused on the results every day.”