ATLANTA -- Like most fans, Mets players found out about Tim Tebow's signing with the organization via news coverage, friends and family members. They absorbed it, collectively shrugged, then moved on to Friday night's opener against the Braves.
"What are there, 300 other Minor League guys that are there? Probably more than that," outfielder Jay Bruce said of the Mets' system. "I don't even know. I don't particularly care -- nothing against or for [Tebow]. He's become a number at this point. There are a lot of other guys there working and trying to get to the Major Leagues. Now he will be as well, and we'll see what happens."
A day after Tebow's signing to a Minor League deal, general manager Sandy Alderson went out of his way to stress that the idea was his alone -- not something stemming from ownership or other corners of the front office. Alderson recalled his own experience in 2007 when, as Padres CEO, he signed former Marine Cooper Brannan, who had sustained wounds to his left hand during duty in Iraq.
"I don't put that in the same category as this one, but my response would be the same, which is, 'Why not?'" Alderson said. "From our standpoint, this is an interesting experiment."
Still, it is an experiment that irked some within the Mets' clubhouse. Privately, players expressed concern that Tebow would take opportunities away from others who had worked their whole lives for a Minor League chance, even if they are not premium prospects. Players also said that Tebow's plan to miss regular time to fulfill his SEC Network broadcasting duties hints at something less than total commitment.
Mostly though, the Mets were a bit bemused and somewhat curious. Tebow's road to the big leagues, they know, will be daunting.
"A lot of us played multiple sports growing up, and had a chance to play them at high levels," outfielder Curtis Granderson said. "The absence of not playing them in a long period of time makes it definitely difficult -- not impossible, but definitely difficult."
"The ball doesn't lie, so I think everyone else will find out what kind of player he is soon enough," Bruce added. "The athletic ability, I don't think, is in question here. Baseball is a very skilled sport. It's to be seen whether or not he has the skill level."
Should a media spectacle emerge from Tebow's presence, it won't affect the Mets directly until next spring, when he may potentially share a clubhouse with them in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Manager Terry Collins scoffed at the notion that anyone on the current team would be distracted by his signing, considering the Mets are in the midst of a pennant race with Tebow hundreds of miles away.
"I'm happy for him," Collins said. "He's a New York Met. I hope he plays great. I hope when Sandy calls me one of these days and says he's ready to come to the big leagues, I sure hope I'm sitting here seeing him play.
"There are special people in the world. I know the statistics are probably not in his favor, but who's to say he can't make it? I think it will be hard, but he's a special guy."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.