Tim Tebow doesn't downplay the fact that he has yet to fulfill his dream of playing Major League Baseball, but that hasn't stopped him. Entering his fourth season with the Mets, the 32-year-old left fielder is coming off a 2019 season at Triple-A Syracuse in which he struggled, slashing .164/.299/.338 with four home runs and 19 runs batted in over 77 games.
So the odds are more than stacked up against Tebow, the former college football star at the University of Florida (2006-09) and three-year NFL quarterback (2010-12) who signed a minor-league contract with the Mets in September 2016. But he's back once again for his latest Spring Training with the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where Tebow embraces another opportunity.
"When I love something or am passionate about it, I kind of go all in for it," Tebow said Sunday. "Hopefully, that's something that anyone can see about my life and I think that's the biggest thing and I think that's also for a time. I think there (are) seasons in our life that call for different things and, hopefully, this can be a part of that season of my life. But ... it's not something that I want to do forever. There's a lot of things that I want to do that I'm very passionate about."
Since he last played in the NFL with the New York Jets for the 2012 season, Tebow has taken his talents to broadcasting on ESPN's SEC Network, working as a college football analyst when baseball ends each year. Tebow has alternated between the two for the past few years, even gauging interest in a potential return to football, as he acknowledged his recent "communication" with the XFL.
"I think I've probably (been approaching baseball) ... more of season by season, day by day -- doing something that I love, thankful for the opportunity to do it, pursuing that as hard as I can, working as hard as I can and so I think that's a big part of it," Tebow said. "At the same time, you know, there (are) a lot of other things that I love pursuing. So it's not something I want to do forever, but it's something that -- you know what? -- I have the chance. It's something I'm passionate about and I love."
Tebow reached Double-A Binghamton in 2018, slashing .273/.336/.399 with six home runs and 46 RBI over 84 games. The numbers from the jump up to Triple-A Syracuse dipped and speak for themselves, steepening the uphill battle for Tebow to the show, but he isn't letting the goal of making an MLB roster define his success or failure.
"I think that would, obviously, be something that would be special and I think another part of the dream," Tebow said of reaching the big leagues. "I think part of it is just playing every day and enjoying it and competing, which I love and (is), obviously, awesome. It'd be a lie if I said that it wouldn't be super cool. Of course that would be something that would be special. But I wouldn't say that would be something that's a success or failure if that did or did not happen."
Tim Tebow speaks about how he overcomes doubt and turns it into a positive in his life. pic.twitter.com/wq48REv0We- SNY (@SNYtv) February 16, 2020
In the NFL from 2010-12 -- the first two years with the Denver Broncos, who selected him at No. 25 overall during the 2010 draft -- Tebow completed 173 of 361 passes (47.9 percent) for 2,422 yards and 17 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Through 35 career games, he made 16 starts, adding to the passing numbers with 197 rushes for 989 yards (5.0 average) and 12 touchdowns.
How the 2020 season pans out remains to be seen. Adversity and doubt, however, is nothing new to Tebow.
"Yeah, of course," Tebow said when asked about if he has doubted his MLB pursuit since signing with the Mets. "It'd be a lie to say no. I think it's what do you do with that doubt? What do you do with uncertainty? Or what do you do when you feel like you're struggling at something? I think that's important because we all have that in our lives, in places at times where we're going through things and ultimately a lot more important situations than sports.
"I think that's when you have to go back to, 'Why are you doing this? Are you having fun doing it? Do you love doing it?' All of those things. And then have a mindset to continue to work. And so, where you don't let the don't or the uncertainty control your mind and your mentality because there's a lot of things in life that you get thrown into where you're uncertain about. But I think that's where faith and determination and perseverance really come into play -- not when things are going really well."