Major League Baseball’s best players were in Miami for the All-Star Game this week, just a two-hour drive away from Port St. Lucie, where a former NFL quarterback is trying to make his way through the minors.
What do All-Stars think of Tim Tebow’s baseball journey? We asked a few for their thoughts on what he has to do to keep moving up the New York Mets’ minor league ranks and what his chances are of playing at Citi Field in a couple of months.
How closely have you been following Tim Tebow’s career, and what do you make of his progress?
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies: I’m pulling for him, to be honest with you. I want him to do well; I don’t want to see him fail. You’re gonna fail in baseball because it’s baseball, but I wanna see him do well.
Lance McCullers, SP, Houston Astros: For anyone to take that long off of baseball and do what he’s doing — he’s a freak athlete, I know that for sure. I was committed to Florida when he was there and doing his thing, and I think there’s not any doubt about his athletic ability. I saw he went to high-A and then hit a home run the next day. He seems to be doing well.
Michael Conforto, CF, New York Mets: You always hear about when he hits a home run, when he makes a big play. It’s pretty cool and inspiring, I guess, that he’s been able to take this much time off and then have success in the minor leagues. I actually was down in high-A for a rehab assignment and I played with him. One thing I’ll say about him is he always takes good at-bats. He’s got a good eye, he doesn’t chase, and I think really that’s half the battle in the game of baseball as far as being a good hitter.
With how much skill it takes to play this game, for him to take that much time off [and compete in the minor leagues] is pretty impressive. … Having met him, I know he’s genuine about it. He does want to play baseball. He’s a great guy, and from what I know talking to players that play with him, he’s a great teammate as well.
Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers: I see a lot of stuff on social media about it. I think it’s awesome what he’s doing. Obviously, he got promoted to St. Lucie, and knowing some of the coaching staff that are working with him, he’s in good hands. I’ve kind of just been seeing what’s popped up on Twitter, and he’s doing a good job. I think it’s great for him to believe in his dream and try to follow it, try to get to the big leagues.
Justin Upton, LF, Detroit Tigers: Honestly, unless it pops up on Twitter, I don’t see much. I think the last thing I saw, he hit a homer or something.
What advice would you give him as he tries to make it to the majors?
Upton: It’s not that easy. The game’s not easy, and you’ve gotta grind every day, man. That’s the name of the game. It’s one of the toughest games in the world.
George Springer, CF, Houston Astros: Keep grinding. That’s it.
Do you think we’re going to see him at Citi Field this September?
Blackmon: I really don’t know. I know that big league baseball is not something to take lightly. There’s a lot of guys working very hard to be a part of a big league club.
Conforto: He’s still got a long way to go, but I think I’ve seen a lot of improvement out of him. From spring to the one day I got to see him when I went down on Thursday [July 6], he looks like a much better player already. If he just keeps getting better, who knows?
If he makes it to Citi Field this September, will you watch him?
Arenado: Heck yeah, I’ll watch him. I hope he goes deep four times in his first game, too.