SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tim Tebow’s performance in the Arizona Fall League had not exactly been playing to rave reviews.
One American League scout on Monday afternoon described it as “a complete farce,” which wasn’t the worst of the talent evaluator descriptions of the former quarterback-turned-professional baseball player’s performance here.
And so Monday night brought a welcome reprieve — for one game, anyway — when Tebow hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning to give the Scottsdale Scorpions a 4-3 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox in front of 1,012 at Scottsdale Stadium.
“Yeah, those are the situations you love. I mean, that’s fun,” Tebow, a member of the Mets’ organization, said afterward. “A lot of pressure, but they’re fun moments.”
With the Scorpions already having tied the score with a ninth-inning run, Tebow, 0-for-3 with a walk entering the at-bat, stepped in against righthander Drew Steckenrider of the Marlins’ organization. He threw a first-pitch fastball, which the lefthanded-hitting Tebow sent down the third-base line for the game-winner.
Tebow had been 5-for-40 with one RBI in his Scorpions career to that point.
He credited in part a pregame conversation he had with Reggie Jackson, a Yankees adviser who was in town visiting with some of his club’s prospects on the Scorpions such as Greg Bird, Gleyber Torres and James Kaprielian.
“The whole day they had been throwing me outside fastballs and they had the shift on a little bit, and [before the game] Mr. Jackson was just talking about letting it get deep and going with it,” Tebow said. “So first pitch tried to let it get deep and hit it opposite way, especially when they play you for a pull.”
Tebow, who won two national titles and a Heisman Trophy at Florida along with an NFL playoff game for the Denver Broncos, said being in previous high-pressure situations was a help.
“One hundred percent,” he said. “Your body doesn’t know the difference of stress and pressure, what it is. You just have to handle what it is. If it’s getting up and speaking in front of 20,000, if it’s playing football in front of 100,000 or if it’s bases loaded, two out and the bottom of the ninth; your body just knows it’s stress, it’s pressure and how are you going to handle that mentally? All the games, the ups and the downs, all of it help prepare you for pressure-packed, stressful moments, in my opinion. And, even more importantly, for life’s pressure-packed moments.”
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