If Tim Tebow strikes out at baseball, it’s certainly going to be swinging.
Tebow begins spring training with the New York Mets organization next week in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and while the outfielder is as driven as ever to reach his ultimate goal of playing in the MLB, the 32-year-old made it clear he’s focused on the bigger picture.
“I never said I’d make it or succeed, but I won’t give up on this easy,” Tebow told USA TODAY Sports by phone. “What I’m doing is focusing on things I can control so I can look back and have no regrets. Succeeding isn’t really a choice. But fighting, scratching, clawing and believing, those are choices.”
Tebow spoke to USA TODAY Sports for a wide-ranging interview on his Keto diet to promote the 2020 Keto 30 Challenge for KetoLogic.
After a busy offseason that included his wedding to former Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters last month and his fall responsibilities for ESPN and the SEC Network as a football analyst, Tebow said he’s locked in on baseball now.
He is among the Mets’ non-roster invitees for spring training. In three full minor-league seasons, Tebow owns a career batting line of .223/.299/.338 with 18 home runs and 327 strikeouts in 287 games.
But injuries have offset his progress. Tebow’s 2019 campaign ended in late July with a laceration to his left pinkie, and his 2018 season was cut short two months from a broken bone in his right hand.
“Baseball is something that means a lot to me,” Tebow said. “It’s a hard game that I picked up after 12 years of not playing it (seriously). I’ve definitely gone through lows with injuries to both hands, and gone through some slumps. But then I’ve also had my highs – hitting home runs and getting hot in the Double-A All-Star game.”
Tebow’s best season in the minors came before his 2018 injury when he hit .273/.336/.399 at Class AA Binghamton. In his first at-bat for the Rumble Ponies, Tebow smashed a three-run home run and went on to play in the Eastern League All-Star game.
The former Heisman Trophy winner, who hit .163 with four home runs in 77 games with Class AAA Syracuse last year, likened his resiliency in baseball to other aspects and chapters in his life.
“It’s more important to me to be someone who is resilient, a fighter and believer,” Tebow said. “That’s the type of man I aspire to be, not just in baseball. Whether you’re at the top of the (mountain) or bottom of the valley I want to be the same person who doesn’t change based on circumstances.”