LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Tim Tebow sunk his gator claws into Dawg territory this past weekend while facing off with the Gwinnett Stripers in minor league baseball. The Stripers and the Syracuse Mets played a three-game series at Coolray Field in Gwinnett. The Stripers won the series two games to one.

“Once you leave your team in the SEC (Southeastern Conference), you’re always a part of the SEC and there is a lot of respect there. So while they boo you when you play against them, afterwards they cheer for you,” Tebow, an outfielder for the Triple-A Mets, said Saturday.

So far this season, his batting average is subpar at .147 with 26 hits and 17 runs in 177 at-bats.

“My perspective is here and now. … It’s the approach I try to take into things: ‘What can I control and what is actually present.’ (My average) is something that I can’t control and there is a lot of hypotheticals into the future,” Tebow said.

For the series against the Stripers, Tebow didn’t see much playing time, getting just three at-bats during the three-game series. Tebow did not bat on Friday’s game, but got two at-bats Saturday and went 1-for-2, while going 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter in Sunday’s game.

“I need to start getting more hits this year, but I am just enjoying (the game) and the process. Regardless of the highs and the lows, I think (the process) is why I got into it in the first place,” Tebow said.

Before stepping on the professional baseball diamond, Tebow made his name on the football field. He led the Florida Gators to two national championships in his four seasons of college football. He was the first sophomore Heisman Trophy winner back in 2007. Tebow was taken in the first round of the NFL draft to the Denver Broncos, where he played for two seasons. He tried again with the New York Jets, but lasted just one season.

The Gators and Georgia Bulldogs are known rivals in virtually every sport. Despite having been the quarterback for the Gators for four seasons, Tebow has no bad blood with the Bulldogs.

“I think this needs to be Georgia’s year. I think the way it’s been going for Alabama the past couple of years … it’s become a big brother-little brother type thing where you have to eventually get over that hurdle. I think this is that year for Georgia. … I think this is going to be a big year, I think that anything less is going to be a little disappointing,” Tebow said.

Tebow started his baseball career in 2016 when the Mets took a chance and signed the former football star. He made his way up the rankings of minor leagues from the Class A Columbia Fireflies all the way to the Triple-A Syracuse Mets.

“I think there was a piece of me early on that was like ‘There are so many nay-sayers … and I want to prove them wrong,’ but after a while, it is not about proving people wrong. It is about enjoying what you do and being passionate about it,” Tebow said.

Tebow might receive negativity due to his football background or to his late start with baseball, but he is passionate about what he does and he does not see an end to his baseball career anytime soon.

“Regardless of what you do in life, you are going to meet people that are against you and there are going to be people that are for you. It is not that I try to ignore them, but I try to focus on why I am doing it. I want to be able to focus on all the blessings I have in life,” Tebow said.

While Tebow’s ultimate goal is to get into the major-league level, but he is uncertain what his future holds.

“This is the season for me that is really exciting, but who knows what is after this … as long as I am pursuing, I will pursue with all I got,” Tebow said.

Correspondent

University of Georgia student Grace Townsend is a correspondent for The Walton Tribune. She is a 2018 graduate of North Oconee High School.

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