GLENDALE, Ariz. — Two weeks ago, Tim Tebow homered on his first career pitch in the Mets’ instructional league. He didn’t have the same immediate on-field success on Tuesday when he debuted in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions, but certainly made his mark with the 912 people in attendance after the game.
Batting seventh and starting in leftfield on a hot afternoon in Glendale, Ariz., Tebow went 0-for-3 against the Glendale Desert Dogs in a 9-6 win.
“It was fun,” Tebow said. “Obviously I wish I could’ve done a little bit more at the plate and got a couple of hits, but it was fun. I’ve got to knock a little rust off.”
The fans, including one wearing a Tebow Mets jersey, lined up along the third-base line to get Tebow’s autograph after the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at the University of Florida met with the media. He even comforted a fan who had a seizure on the hot day, laying his hand on the man until paramedics arrived.
It was obvious most of the fans, who stood in lines well into the parking lot for tickets more than an hour before the game, were there to see Tebow. He deflected the attention, however.
“I think they came out here to see a lot of different players,” Tebow said.
In each of his first two at-bats, Tebow came up with a runner on second base. He grounded out to second on an eight-pitch AB in the second, then made the final out of the third with a groundout to first.
Tebow grounded out again in his final at-bat in the sixth. He hit a tapper in front of catcher Carson Kelly, a Cardinals prospect, but Tebow thought it was foul. It wasn’t, and Kelly applied a tag for the final out of the inning.
Even though he went hitless in his debut, Tebow is more focused on the long-term goals of his foray into baseball.
“I think there’s things that I’m going to take from today to improve on every day and really understand this is a process and improve at that process,” Tebow said. “Each day is not just about the result, it’s about what are you learning, how are you improving, and how you are going to be able to take that over into spring training.”
Tebow had a ball come his way twice in leftfield. He made an out on a routine fly ball in the third. In the fifth, a long fly ball was hit over Tebow’s head. He retreated to the warning track and in an attempt to haul it in, he hit the leftfield wall face first on the play, which resulted in a double.
“I thought I had another step or two then ran into the wall,” Tebow said. “But I’ve been hit harder, so I’m OK.”
Tebow makes his home debut for the Scorpions on Wednesday night at 9:35 p.m. ET against the Salt River Rafters in Scottsdale.