TRENTON, N.J. — Whose mother wouldn’t say her child should be in the big leagues?
“That was my mom trying to be sweet getting caught off guard by TMZ at the airport. I guess if that’s sophisticated journalism, then sure,” Tebow said Wednesday before he went 1-for-4 with an opposite-field double as the DH for the Eastern Division team in the Eastern League All-Star Game before an announced crowd of 8,296.
“She’s just trying to be sweet and the good thing is my parents will always believe in me no matter what. I love that. Whether it’s my dad across the world in the Philippines right now or my mom getting caught off guard at the airport, they will always believe in me.”
In the bottom of the ninth of the 4-4 tie — the Western Division won a points-based hitting competition after the game — Tebow, whose double came in his first at-bat, struck out with a man on first for the second out of the inning with his team down by a run.
“I didn’t think about the last one; I thought about another one. Did I think about that? Heck, yeah,” Tebow said. “Come on, that’s the only reason you play the game. You want that, especially to get a walk-off home run. I think we like those as athletes.”
The Mets are floundering, and with meaningless games ahead in September, many are wondering if Tebow will get called up Double-A Binghamton when rosters expand.
“I am not privy to any of that information, so I have absolutely no idea,” Pam Tebow told TMZ regarding a potential MLB call-up. “I mean, we’re partial so we would vote for him to go up to the majors, but it’s not up to us.”
Unsurprisingly, Tebow said he wasn’t thinking about whether he’d get a chance in the majors.
“I think for me, I can’t worry about any of that,” said Tebow, the oldest player in this all-star game at 30 years, 331 days old. “I have to stay focused on the process and not the maybes, not the hypothetical, not the what-ifs. I don’t think that’s a place that an athlete can live. I don’t think you can let your mind go into places like that.”
That is not to say Tebow doesn’t have big-league aspirations.
“Totally you have to have that long-term goal, but that can’t be an everyday thought process,” he says. “I think there’s a lot of people that focus on the ‘one day,’ but I want to be someone who focused on this day.”
Tebow, who’s hitting .270 with five homers and 33 RBI with the Rumble Ponies, has shocked many by even making it this far. When Sandy Alderson was asked on Aug. 9, 2016 if the Mets would have any interest in signing Tebow, Alderson quipped, “Are you insinuating we need a Hail Mary at this point?” One month later the Mets signed Tebow to a minor-league deal. Alderson last year made note of baseball being an entertainment business when discussing the Tebow signing.
Alderson has stepped away from his duties as Mets GM because of a recurrence of cancer. Tebow didn’t wish to speculate what Alderson’s absence might mean for his own future.
“I just know with Sandy I’m praying for him and I know a lot of people are, and I just wish him a speedy recovery and the best with his health because some things are more important than baseball,” Tebow said.
Interim GM John Ricco said last week he hadn’t yet talked with fellow decision-makers J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya about whether Tebow will be called up. Tebow probably would look forward to playing with Yoenis Cespedes, whom Tebow spoke to often during spring training while looking to improve at the plate.
“I worked with several different coaches that were very helpful with me, and Cespedes was there sometimes as well. Shoot, I’ve got to be honest, I picked Cespedes’ brain a lot as well,” Tebow said. “Every morning in spring training when he’d get up and go to the cage, I didn’t want to bother him but I was kind of right behind him a lot of times, too. A lot of drills that he would do, I would pick up and try to do them. Not all necessarily fits because we’re all different, but I watched a lot of what he does. When we’d be in the outfield shagging we’d talk a lot about hitting as well, so I would say that I’ve learned a lot from him.”
If Cespedes ever gets healthy, perhaps Tebow will learn more from him in September.