Tebow — who listed Ken Griffey Jr., Gary Sheffield, Frank Thomas, Chipper Jones and Jeff Bagwell as hitters he admired when he was growing up — sounded every bit like a Major Leaguer when he offered up his thoughts on the homer, saying he wasn’t trying to go deep, but if he runs into one, he’ll take it.
“Today, we were working on just trying to go gap-to-gap and keeping everything in the gaps,” Tebow said. “There is a focus, and that’s the goal. If you get one good and it goes a little farther, that’s good, too.”
With about 250 fans preening for a glimpse, and 30 members of the media following behind, Tebow went through a routine similar to the prior day, but he felt a little more at ease this time. He is still getting to know his way around the facility as well as getting to know teammates and coaches, but he did notice a comfort level seeping in.
“Just getting used to everything, the preparation … just all those silly things, but you have to go through [them], right?” Tebow said. “Like getting in the building, finding everything you need, the cafeteria and just getting used to the routine.
“It was just easy, and I was able to get more preparation before I came out here today and then go through a similar practice — a little different, but similar — to yesterday. I feel like it went well. Just trying to improve. So it’s good.”
Instructional league is named that for a reason. For as much physical activity as is involved, there is a teaching component that takes up a lot of time as well. Coaches may spend anywhere from 10-20 minutes before each drill going over certain nuances of the game with the players before they even start actually practicing.
Major League organizations have player development philosophies that — if communicated properly — are taught to the players the same way at every level of the Minor Leagues. That continuity, in theory, better prepares a prospect to fulfill the expectations the Major League club will have for them if and when they reach that level.
The teaching begins at the very lowest levels of an organization, including instructional league. Tebow has spent his time so far familiarizing himself with organizational expectations.
“Certain things they’re looking for from their hitters,” Tebow said. “‘We want this type of hitter, so these are the things we want you to be looking for [on the] first pitch.’ That type of thing.”
Tebow downplayed a suggestion that the smaller crowd on Tuesday — quieter, calmer, completely opposite from the madhouse that awaited him the first day — helped him maintain his focus.
— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) September 20, 2016
“Whether it’s five people or 500 people, you can’t let that bother you, or the size of the crowd or what people are saying,” said the former Heisman Trophy Award winner. “The hype or no hype … I try not to get involved at all. I try not to pay attention at all — focus on being a baseball player, not even let [distractions] enter one ear.”
Still, it helps that Tebow is used to the spotlight. After the workout, he fielded a wide range of questions from reporters, touching on lighter topics such as what he bought during his trip to Target last night [sparkling water and almonds] to his opinion on 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest.
“I think there’s a lot of people that have thoughts out there,” Tebow said about Kaepernick. “For now, I’m going to keep mine to myself about it. I think that when people have belief in something or conviction about something, I think trying to stand for that is a good thing, and then it’s all about trying to stand for it the right way.”
Tebow will practice with the Mets through Friday before heading to Auburn, Ala., to fulfill his broadcasting duties at the LSU-Auburn game. He’ll then return to Florida after that game to resume his three-week instructional league stint. Beyond that, Tebow declined to speculate on what might be next, such as a possible Arizona Fall League assignment.
“We’re just going to figure out instructional ball and see how it goes and take it from there,” he said.
Source: Mets News / Tebow goes deep during instructional league BP