Tim Tebow Adjusts To Double-A
”Last year, my first year in baseball, I still didn’t know how my body would react to playing every day. One-hundred fifty games in a row instead of getting ready for 16 football games. I didn’t know what to expect.”
The oldest player in the all-star game at 30, he’s struck out 35 percent of his at-bats (95 times), including six occasions in eight at bats against Erie’s Kyle Funkhouser, who was representing the Western Division on Wednesday.
“When you’re scouting a guy, you’re really not looking at stats or the name,” Funkhouser admitted. “You don’t want to psych yourself up and not make the situation more than it is. They (Binghamton) had some big bats in their lineup and a couple of those guys (Jeff McNeil and Peter Alonso) that went up to Triple-A. If anything, we were focused more on those guys.
“He (Tebow) is obviously a big name with a lot of juice, but I was just trying to make pitches. He’s pretty patient, but for most of the at-bats I was able to get ahead of him and finish him off pretty quick.”
It didn’t really hit Funkhouser that he struck out Tebow until after the first time he faced him.
“When you’re out there you don’t really realize it,” Funkhouser said of his duel with the former NFL quarterback. “Then after the game my brother texted me. That was pretty cool.”
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A successful June, when he hit .301 with an on-base percentage of .338, propelled Tebow into a starting spot in the all-star game.
“That was never a thought process for me,” he said of getting selected for the game. “For me, it was about all the things I’ve been working on . . . the fundamentals and to stay focused with the process since I started this endeavor.”
Bernie Williams, a five-time all-star in a 16-year career with the Yankees, understands the scrutiny Tebow is under.
“What makes it a little harder for him (Tebow) is every move that he makes is covered by everybody,” Williams said. “I don’t think he has an opportunity like every other player at his level to grow through his pains and make adjustments and struggle.
“Everyone is going to expect him to be the superstar he was at the college level in football and baseball is going to take more time.”
Tebow evaded the possibility of a September callup to the Mets, where he is not on the 40-man roster.
“I’m just working on seeing more pitches and having a plan when I come up to bat. I can’t worry about the hypotheticals or the what-if’s. I don’t think that’s a place an athlete can live. I know as a baseball player I have a lot of room to grow and I think I’m getting better every day and every series."