Tim Tebow made his spring training debut for the New York Mets on Wednesday, during which he struck out looking twice, grounded into a double-play with the bases loaded, and reached based when he was hit in the back by a pitch (he was then doubled-up on first base).
Considering that Tebow is 29 and hasn’t really played baseball since high school, his performance against the Red Sox on Wednesday, though objectively bad, was also not that unexpected.
In fact, arguably the roughest moment of Tebow’s debut came before his second at-bat. According to the NY Daily News, when Tebow made his way out of the Mets dugout when he was on deck, he walked all the way around home plate, behind the umpire, and took his practice swings from the Boston Red Sox’s on-deck circle.
“It’s not often you see a hitter walk across to the other team’s on-deck circle to get ready to hit. Actually, you never see that, not even in high school, where Tebow last played before signing on for this sideshow with the Mets.
It was so unusual that Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, warming up at the time, said he assumed it was a bat boy when he noticed someone in a Mets’ uniform walking behind the plate to the Red Sox’ side of the field.
When home plate umpire Ryan Addition noticed, he told the Heisman Trophy winner to get back to his side of the field.”
“I thought you walk around because you’re a left-hander,” Tebow said. I found out you don’t do that.”
Others were more overtly critical.
“He’s so far behind on the nuances of the game,” Mets outfielder Jay Bruce said.
“It looked like he hadn’t
played baseball in a while,” Mets hitting coach Kevin Long added.
“Definitely there’s a lot of things I’m trying to play catch-up on,” Tebow himself admitted.
Here are the highlights from Tebow’s batting (courtesy of Deadspin):
Considering Tebow’s performance, the Mets should permanently move him to their minor league squad for the remainder of spring training. There would be no shame in that — he’s simply not good enough to hold his own against the big-leaguers, at least not yet.
Tebow will be in the Mets lineup on Friday for a split-squad game.
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