Florida Gators football legend Tim Tebow received a standing ovation before his first Spring Training at-bat during Wednesday's Red Sox-Mets game. But all the cheering in the world couldn't keep him from this reality: He had to face reigning AL Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello.
There would be no Tebowing on this day though, for mighty Tebow struck out looking on four fastballs. He even had some words to share with the umpire afterward.
Coming to the plate with the bases loaded for his next at-bat, the QB-turned-DH had another chance. Unfortunately, he grounded into a double play (though a run did score to tie the game at 4). Still, the fans grew even louder.
In his third time at the plate, Tebow would get a hit ... by pitch after Brian Johnson hit him the shoulder to load the bases. Perhaps showing how new he is to the game, however, Tebow was doubled off after L.J. Mazilli lined out to second.
In his final at-bat of the day, Tebow would go down looking again.
What can fans expect from the former NFL player going forward? That's harder to tell. Baseball requires not only athleticism, but also skills honed over thousands of hours and millions of reps in the cage, at the plate and on the field. As MLB.com's Anthony DiComo wrote in this week's mailbag, the Mets have "virtually no expectations" on the hitter. He went on to say Tebow "could improve and start climbing the Minor League ladder. Tebow could burn out in a month and decide he's done with baseball."
Tebow may never reach the Majors, but a Spring Training ovation? Most players don't get that.