Tim Tebow, in a spring training game with half the starting lineup, made his first start for the New York Mets, as a designated hitter. He finished 0 for 3.
The Mets beat the Boston Red Sox 8-7. Noah Syndergaard started for the Mets and 2016 American League Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello started for the Red Sox. A game featuring two of MLB’s best pitchers was overshadowed by a former Heisman-winning quarterback who couldn’t make it in the NFL.
A Tough Start
Tebow lead off in the bottom of the third inning for his first major league at bat. After being confused about which batter’s circle to warm up in, he struck out looking in three pitches.
Tim Tebow is trending because mediocrity will never die
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) March 8, 2017
He had a chance to redeem himself in the bottom of the fifth. With no men out and bases loaded, he grounded into a double play. It did tie the game by driving home Lucas Duda. It was a more competitive at bat but failed to impress. He did, however, receive cheers from the packed stadium.
He got on base for the first time during his third at bat, in the bottom of the sixth inning, when he was struck by a pitch. This loaded the bases, but when L.J. Mazzilli hit a line drive into the infield, Tebow was doubled off at first base.
In the bottom of the eighth he struck out looking once again in three pitches.
In a game where the Mets collectively had 13 hits, Tebow was the only starter in the lineup who did not contribute to this total.
Is it safe to say the Tebow experiment is over? Not quite.
Happening Now: Rick Porcello vs. Tim Tebow. The last time a Cy Young winner faced a Heisman Trophy winner? 1989. Frank Viola vs. Bo Jackson
— Matt Lisle (@CoachLisle) March 8, 2017
It’s (Still) Tebow Time
Mets manager, Terry Collins, said that Tebow will be in the lineup Friday and will play the outfield.
Tebow said that he knows his debut would have either been seen as the best day or the worst day, but for him this was “just a day.” He won’t let this one day define him, he said.
This is all well and good, but there is no second chance at a first impression. And this first glimpse, albeit in a spring training split squad game, showed a player who had no business being on the field.
Anyone who follows baseball will know this for what it really is: a publicity stunt for the Mets to make some money and bring crowds to spring training games.
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 8, 2017
Acting as though Tebow, who is 29, has as a better chance to make the majors than kids who have been in the minor league for years is foolish. Tebow is able to play with the Mets solely for being Tebow. He was a sensation, and no where in the world is better for a sensation than New York.
Maybe a young player who has been in the Mets’ farm system for a few years would have hit a double and drove in three runs in the fifth. This kid could have later been called up to play if someone got hurt. But we won’t know. What we do know is that Tebow will sell a hell of a lot more jerseys than that young player would have.
This is a year that the Mets, if they manage to stay healthy, have a legitimate chance for a title run. It’s not a year for nonsense.