Tim Tebow took his next steps toward trying to reach Major League Baseball by going 1-for-6 with a solo home run in his first instructional league game as a member of the New York Mets against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

Any doubters were silenced, at least in Tebow’s first at-bat. The former Heisman Trophy winner hit a home run on the first pitch he saw, driving the ball over the wall in left-center field. 

Making Tebow’s homer even more impressive is that it came off a left-handed pitcher, and he went the other way with the pitch. 

While Tebow does deserve all of the praise for hitting that first pitch out, Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel shared his thoughts on the Cardinals pitcher:

SB Nation’s Michael Katz was able to humorously equate Tebow’s prolific power to an MLB legend:

The Cespedes Family BBQ podcast jokingly speculated about Tebow helping the Mets in October if they are able to make the postseason:

Before we get Tebow’s bust ready for Cooperstown, Joe Trezza of MLB.com did run down the list of players who homered in their first-ever at-bat at the MLB level:

A home run in your first at-bat doesn’t guarantee any kind of success, regardless of the level of baseball at which it occurs. Tebow still has a long way to go while learning the craft of playing the game, and things will only get more difficult when he moves up the minor league ladder. 

Things did calm down for Tebow after that home run. He followed it up by grounding into a double play, grounding out to shortstop, hitting a hard liner to center that was caught and grounding out to third base in his final plate appearance.   

Tebow also played in left field for five innings, though he didn’t have many chances to showcase his defensive skills. 

Per ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin, Tebow’s only defensive chance came when he cut off a ground ball that held a St. Louis hitter to a single. 

After a three-inning game Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s contest, Tebow’s confidence as a baseball player seemed like it was as high as it has been since his workout in August.

“I feel like every day I’m getting a little more comfortable,” Tebow said, per Bill Whitehead of the AP. “It’s great just to see live pitching and get live at-bats. I’m just getting a little bit better every day. That’s the goal.” 

This is a perfect setting for Tebow to continue honing his skills as a baseball player because instructional league games are a low-key environment with young minor leaguers still developing and an occasional veteran MLB player rehabbing injuries. 

Tebow won’t be hitting a homer every day, but as long as he is showing improvement as a baseball player, the Mets’ investment in him will give him a chance to make the 25-man roster at some point. 

It’s going to take Tebow at least two years because of the difficult nature of baseball. He also hasn’t played in an organized setting since his junior year of high school, so the acclimation process is going to take some time, but the first homer showed there is something for the Mets and Tebow to build off going forward.


Post-Game Reaction

In a funny bit on social media, Cardinals pitcher John Kilichowski had some words for Tebow about the first-pitch homer he allowed:

As he is known to be, Tebow was very positive about the way his professional baseball debut went. 

“It was fun,” Tebow said, per USA Today. “I just wanted to have the approach that I was going to be aggressive,” Tebow said. “That’s something that we’ve been talking about here every day and practicing it.”

While the solo homer will get most of the attention because it was his only hit in six at-bats, Tebow was encouraged by most of his plate appearances.

“I liked a lot of my at-bats today,” Tebow said. “I hit the ball really hard four out of the six times. … Four of the at-bats I felt really, really good about. Didn’t swing at any breaking balls, didn’t feel like I got fooled seeing it out of the (pitcher’s) hand.”

Baseball is a game built on adjustments. As he gets more at-bats and scouting reports come out, his ability to make adjustments and attack offspeed stuff will determine how far he goes. 

For now, though, Tebow can enjoy owning his first professional home run.


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