NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 10:35 PM
Ya gotta believe!
Tim Tebow may have had an 0-fer at the plate in his Arizona Fall League debut Tuesday, but the controversial Mets minor leaguer was apparently the hero of the day in the stands. The former NFL quarterback and renown evangelical Christian, who is trying to make his baseball dreams come true as a Mets minor leaguer, leaned into the stands and tended to a fan who was having a seizure after the game, according to social media reports at the game.
According to Christian Byrnes of Lindenhurst, who was on the scene at the ballpark in Glendale, Tebow was signing autographs when a man in the stands whom he had already passed, collapsed to the ground suffering from an apparent seizure. As one lady in the crowd screamed, a clearly concerned Tebow immediately went back over to the man, leaned over the short wall, says Byrnes, and tried talking to the fan who was unresponsive. That’s when Tebow put his hand on the man and his bowed his head, says Byrnes, and started praying.
“Not long after that,” says Byrnes. “(the man) regained consciousness. And Tebow started talking to him.
“It was a very surreal moment.”
Tebow stayed with the fan, whose name is not yet known, for about 30 minutes, says Byrnes, staying even after paramedics arrived.
Tim Tebow sees if the man with a reported seizure is okay.
“He could have left at any time,” says Byrnes. “But he stayed with the guy to make sure he was OK.”
The two even shared a laugh, says Byrnes.
“I think he was from Georgia fan and so they were laughing about something about that,” says Byrnes.
Tebow took off his wrist bands and signed a few items, handing them to the fans’ friends instructing them to make sure he gets them when he’s feeling better. According to his friends, the fan regularly suffers from seizures.
Byrnes, who is a Catholic, says he’s already a believer, but what he saw Tuesday afternoon in Arizona reaffirmed his faith.
“It was an unbelievably gesture by Tim,” said Byrnes. “I don’t know if it was a miracle, but it was definitely symbolic of something.”
“It was just Tebow being Tebow.”
Tebow did not have quite as much success on the field against the toughest competition he has faced.
He went 0-for-3 with three groundouts in his first AFL game. The former Jets and Broncos quarterback played five innings in left field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, a team that features top prospects from both the Mets and Yankees and is managed by Mets first-base coach Tom Goodwin. The Scorpions won the game, beating the Glendale Desert Dogs, 9-6.
Tebow, who the Mets signed in September, advanced a runner to third with his groundout to second base in the second inning, which was a two-run inning for the Scorpions. He hit seventh, grounding out to first base in the third inning and tapping out softly to the catcher in the sixth. In the field, he ran into the outfield fence in the fifth trying to make a play on a fly ball, but was not hurt. He was replaced in left field in the bottom of the sixth.
Tebow plays for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.
The 29-year-old hit .286 in three games in the instructional league in September, playing against mostly 18-to-23-year old prospects. So the AFL is a significant jump in talent level, since it is for the top prospects for most organizations.
“He saw guys who know how to pitch more,” one scout said Tuesday. “They had an idea what to do against him and it showed.”
He faced Austin Voth in his first at-bat. Voth is a right-hander who went 7-9 with a 3.15 ERA for the Nationals Triple-A club in Syracuse this season. He also grounded out to first against Rogelio Armentero, a Cuban who had a 3.86 ERA moving up through the Astros’ lower-level minors leagues this year. In his final at-bat, Tebow faced Corey Littrell, a lefty reliever under the Cardinals’ control who struck out 49 in 51.1 innings pitched in Triple-A this past year.
Tebow will continue to play in AFL games through mid-November, Monday through Thursday to accommodate his college football broadcast commitments.
Tebow has been outspoken in his religious beliefs, which along with his success as a college quarterback at Florida, has earned him a devoted following.
Several fans in Glendale sported Tebow’s No. 15 jersey from both baseball and football.
Before joining the Mets prospects last month in Port St. Lucie for instructional league, Tebow last played competitive baseball as a junior in high school.
With ERIC BARROW