LOUISVILLE — Tim Tebow loves the highs, the lows, all of it. So despite experiencing the worst stretch of his professional baseball career, the ex-football star doesn't care if he gets negative headlines. It's not why he's still playing.
"It's never as good as it seems, it's never as bad as it seems. That's something I learned a long time ago in sports," Tebow said during this week's three-game series between his Syracuse Mets and the Louisville Bats. "I didn't do it for the praise of it. I did it because it was a passion, and I wanted to fulfill it and do something that I love."
Tebow's series went pretty much how the 2019 season has gone for the 31-year-old quarterback-turned-outfielder. He went 1 for 7 with a walk and an RBI, raising his batting average to .131, as his Mets took the series. The fans flocked to Slugger Field — 21,886 of them, some wearing his football jerseys, others holding Sports Illustrated covers in the hopes of snagging an autograph.
The fans show up not for his .376 OBPS and 34 strikeouts in 26 games, but for his perfect-for-television personality.
The Pawtucket Red Sox (+10.9 percent), Rochester Red Wings (+19.3 percent), Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders (+33.8 percent), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (+6.5 percent) and Louisville (+21.1 percent) have all had significant attendance bumps with Tebow in town.
"You're always trying to do good and the best you can," Tebow said. "I don't think I put extra pressure on myself to do better because more people would show up."
OPINION: It's time. Tim Tebow should walk away from baseball
Tebow said he's still adjusting to the minor league baseball lifestyle — especially the long bus rides. And he admitted he misses football, which he last played in 2015. It especially hits him around Thanksgiving, when college football teams are playing their rivalry games and the NFL teams are fighting for a playoff spot.
Tim Tebow is off to a rough start in Class AAA. (Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal)
He called baseball a "funny game." Sometimes you don't get rewarded when you play well, and sometimes you do when you don't. That's why he's here.
"It's about having patience, following a process and really, truly trying to improve every day," he said. "Not just focusing on just what happens in the game and results of it."
Justin Sayers: 502-582-4252; [email protected]; Twitter: @_JustinSayers
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