Hey, not sure if you’ve heard, but Tim Tebow is a baseball player now. Or, at least, he’s trying to be.

The 29-year-old former NFL quarterback agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Mets and had his first workout with their instructional league team Monday.

As he tries to refine his game on the diamond, he’s also out stumping for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which honors college football players who do upstanding things off the field. 

We caught up with him, however, to talk baseball—including which current big leaguers he admires, which areas of his game he needs to improve and how he responds to the doubters.


Bleacher Report: There was talk about you signing with the Colorado Rockies, and you’ve got fans in Denver. There was also talk about the Atlanta Braves, which seemed like a fit given your success in the SEC. What made you choose the Mets and that New York market instead?

Tim Tebow: It was more about the people than anything else. It was my relationship and talks with [general manager Sandy] Alderson, and their plans for me as a baseball player and as a person. I just felt like it was a great fit. It was something I was excited about, and we got along really well. I appreciated their interest in me [and] their plans to progress me. … I just felt most comfortable in my communications with them.


B/R: Have you spoken with any members of the current Mets team? Have any players reached out to you?

TT: They have. I’ve communicated with a couple of them.                    


B/R: Can you give any specifics on who or what they said?

TTI’d rather not. It’s just some of them reached out to say congrats and glad to have me in the organization and stuff like that. It was really nice; it was definitely something they didn’t have to do, but I appreciate them doing it.


B/R: Which areas of your game do you feel need the most improvement, and what have scouts or evaluators identified as your biggest weaknesses?

TTI feel like I want to improve in every area of the game. Just getting out there and playing the game, practicing with teams and seeing live pitching. I’ve been training for a little while now, but it’ll be a bit different when I get into the team mode.


B/R: Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson are the most famous examples of guys who’ve played football and baseball professionally. Have you spoken to either of them, or anyone else with similar experience, to get advice?

TTI haven’t spoken to anybody that’s made the transition, but I’ve spoken to a lot of guys that have been in the sport of baseball and gotten a lot of advice. But I would look forward in the future to getting advice from guys that have gone back and forth.


B/R: Is there a current MLB player you most resemble, or someone you want to model your game after?

TTOh, man, that’s a good question. I would say I don’t even know yet. I think the next couple of weeks in instructional ball will help me figure [that] out. Getting to work with Gary Sheffield some. Obviously he was a great one for so long. We have a little different style; I’m more of a wider stance with a still bat, and he was more movement with his bat. But the way he was able to throw his hands and be quick through the zone and be able to have such a smooth swing, that’s something I would love to be able to work on.

B/R: Give me your top MLB players right now, as someone who follows the sport. Who do you like to watch?

TTOh, gosh. Bryce Harper is someone who plays the game with a lot of passion and energy. I’ve been watching David Ortiz hit bombs for so long; he’s always super fun to watch. [Yoenis] Cespedes is a really talented player. … One of the things I love most about the game are the one-on-one battles with someone like [Noah] Syndergaard, so I’d say him as well.


B/R: What would be your walk-up song and why?

TTThat’s hilarious. … I honestly have no idea. You just want it to be authentic and original. That’s a tough call. I guess I’m gonna have to start thinking about it for real.


B/R: You could always put your iPod on shuffle and pick the first song.

TT[Laughs] I don’t know if that’ll work.


B/R: I’m sure you’ve heard the criticism, people saying this is just a publicity stunt or that no one would have signed you if your name weren’t Tim Tebow. How do you respond to that?

TTThe good thing is, I don’t have to respond. They’re entitled to their opinion, but I’m also entitled to be able to go after my dream. And I’m so thankful to live in a country where that is the case. There will always be people that aren’t going to agree with you or why you’re doing it, but at the end of the day, I don’t have to live my life based on how other people want me to live my life. I don’t have to make choices that other people want me to make. I get to go after what’s in my heart. My encouragement to younger people who read this is to go after what’s in their heart. … 

This isn’t a publicity stunt, and it’s definitely not for money. This is a pay cut for me to do this. I understand how hard this is and that a lot of people think it’s impossible. But [I am] passionate about the game of baseball. I love it, and I want to pursue it. Are you going to let the fear of failure or not making it get in the way of that? For me, failure is not going after it and letting the chips fall where they may. I want to be someone who goes all out and pursues what I love.


Jacob Shafer is a national columnist for Bleacher Report. You can find him in Twitter form here.

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