‘Tebowmania’ arrives at the Jersey Shore with plenty of excitement
LAKEWOOD — A near capacity crowd greeted Tim Tebow to the Jersey Shore as the Mets AA club the Columbia Fireflies played their first game of a delayed weekend series with the BlueClaws.
"Tebowmania" was delayed a day by Saturday's wind and rain which led to a packed Mother's Day game in which Laekwood lost the first game, 5-3. The former Jet went 0-3 with a walk. Saturday's game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Monday.
Before Sunday's game Tebow discussed his professional and personal journey to this point and called his transition from playing professional football to now professional baseball as tough but one worth the challenge.
Tebow said his work ethic is one many ballplayers at any level in life can attest to be true: .patience and a lot of hard work.
"Baseball is a game of failure and you have to be able to learn from it and not necessarily accept it," Tebow said . "Accept that there is a process and you have to go in and put in the work."
In the transition from playing college football to playing in the NFL and now baseball a lot of adjustments needed to be made as far as schedules and training.While his strong arm transitioned well over from the NFL to playing outfield with the Fireflies, baseball offers a much longer season with a different training regimen.
"Here you have to peak everyday and be ready to go," Tebow said "It changes your training schedule and the way go about certain things."
Another big difference between the NFL and MILB/MLB is tackling, which isn't allowed in baseball or you risk a hefty suspension among other troubles with the league.However he says there are useful ways to use your aggression to your own advantage.
"It's definitely a little bit more of a commerce sport but it's also about focus," said Tebow. "You've got to use some of that aggression to be locked in every single day, (on the field or at the plate)."
His love for playing the game of baseball came when he was around four or five years old, he adds, but his love for football as a kid ended up being the passion he chased first.
While dreams of playing baseball never left him, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner loved playing on the football field during his Pop Warner days and made the decision to try out that goal first.
"Football has a lot of passion too, and so I fell in love with that, "said Tebow. "I decided to go the football route over baseball which was probably the second hardest decision I had to make in my life."
He says since he's joined the Columbia Fireflies upon designation by the Mets organization back in spring training this year he's enjoyed getting to known the other prospects and try and pass along some helpful life lessons.
"It's been a learning experience for me and hopefully for them," Tebow said. "Although I haven't played much baseball, I have had a lot of life experience and sports experience that I can share with them."
Some of those experiences include,"handling a home-run versus a strikeout, the fans and the media," Tebow.said "To encourage some of these kids that '0-3 when your 20-years old isn't the worst thing in the world, your life's not over'..and be able to give them a little perspective about things."
As a man of great faith, not to be mocked or ridiculed, his trust in God and belief to see the good in others has not only helped him through the ups-and-downs of being a professional athlete but also a person with everyday challenges.
"I think my faith is something that makes a difference in everything that I do, every single day, every choice that I make, every person that I meet and every action that I take," said Tebow. "It's not just something where I say...'Oh, I'm a baseball player that's a Christian'...no, it's something that totally transforms your life and the way you think about everything."