Tim Tebow Receives Mets Jersey, Arrives at Instructional League

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2016, file photo, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow finishes his work out for baseball scouts and the media in Los Angeles. Tebow has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. The Mets announced Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016,  that the former quarterback will take part in the Instructional League in Port St. Lucie, Florida.(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Tim Tebow's baseball journey began Monday, as he was issued his jersey and reported to the New York Mets' instructional league team.

Majestic Athletic, the uniform provider for MLB, posted a picture of Tebow's No. 15, while Jerry Crasnick of ESPN shared a photo of Tebow's batting practice bats.

SportsCenter posted a picture of Tebow's arrival, while the New York Times' David Waldstein provided another of Tebow on the diamond:

Majestic Athletic @MajesticOnField

It's Tebow Time! @TimTebow #LGM https://t.co/en7IT5nSmo

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick

Tim Tebow's batting practice bats. https://t.co/PcnSF9N1JH https://t.co/s6KLsKibYe

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Tim Tebow reports to his first day of the Mets' Fall Instructional League. https://t.co/EobKOuCxnM

David Waldstein @DavidWaldstein

Tim Tebow the Met https://t.co/dZROuLG7Mx

Tebow signed autographs prior to his workout, with one child asking Tebow if he knew Peyton Manning, per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal.

Once Tebow took the field, he accidentally "airmailed" a throw from 45 feet, per Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball, who said it went "over his throwing partner and [the] fence." Heyman later shared a photo of Tebow in uniform:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

The man of the hour, in uni https://t.co/1kgV9sqOSU

Afterward, Tebow spoke to the media, saying he had "no interest" in returning to the NFL.

"I’m ready for that grind," Tebow said of the lifestyle of a minor league baseball player, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "I think a lot of people for some reason think of my life that would be hard for me. Two months ago, I was in the Philippines for three weeks (on a Christian mission), taking bucket baths...hiking mountains to villages where nobody has been before."

Tebow told Anthony Rieber of Newsday last week:

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I'm excited about it. I really am. I've loved the game of baseball. Hitting a baseball is one of my favorite things to do in sports. I'm excited about the journey, the challenge, the difficulties, all of it. It's going to be a lot of fun, and it's something that's definitely exciting for me.

Tebow's foray into baseball has drawn a number of skeptics. He hasn't played baseball competitively since high school and is entering at an age when he'll have little developmental time. He last played in the NFL four years ago, and it would have been perhaps more realistic had he made this attempt in 2012.

Tebow was nevertheless impressive enough in his well-publicized August tryout to draw interest from multiple teams before he settled on the Mets.

Ian Levin, the Mets' director of minor league operations, told Crasnick:

Development comes from all different areas. There's on-field development that comes from the coaches and playing games, and there's off-field development from your peers and the environment. I haven't spoken to Tim yet, but from everything I've seen about him, he's a very positive person and obviously a hard worker who's become successful in his own right.

It's unclear how much playing time Tebow will get during the short schedule. The Mets are slated for just five games against other teams in the instructional league, though they will have intrasquad scrimmages as well. But as long as Tebow is on the roster, rest assured more eyes will be watching than ever before.


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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