LAKEWOOD, N.J. — It’s Tebow Time at the Jersey Shore.
After his first game in the area was rained out Saturday, Tim Tebow took to the field at FirstEnergy Park on Sunday to play against the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Single A Affiliate of the Phillies, as a member of the Columbia Fireflies, the Single A Affiliate of the New York Mets.
Well-known for winning the Heisman Trophy and two National Championships at the University of Florida before playing three seasons in the NFL, Tebow, who was with the Eagles during training camp in 2015, is trying his hand at baseball for a full season after he signed with the Mets last year. After 28 games, the reviews are mixed.
He received a very warm welcome in Lakewood before his first at-bat, where he reached on an error by the shortstop. Big crowds are expected for the final two games of the series. Saturday’s game was sold out before it was called because of rain.
Tebow, 29, is hitting .250 with two home runs through his first 100 at-bats of the season, largely against competition seven years his junior. He has more strikeouts (29) this season than hits (25). There were reports earlier this week that he could be promoted after the All-Star break, potentially to High A St. Lucie. However, a move like that could be to see if he has what it takes to remain in the organization given his mediocre numbers thus far.
On the opposite side of the field, Lakewood is home to Mickey Moniak, one of the top prospects in the Phillies’ organization and the top pick in last year’s MLB draft. Through 32 games, the 19-year-old is hitting .279 with nine extra-base hits but no home runs.
Tebow seems to be taking to his new sport in stride, but given his age and that he’s four levels of minor league baseball away from the majors, his competition will only get tougher.