As reported recently by the Tampa Bay Times, Tebow was taking warm-up cuts during a July 29 game between his St. Lucie Mets and the Charlotte Stone Crabs. A 9-year-old boy named Seth Bosch wanted to meet the former Heisman Trophy winner, so he went down to the field level and tried to catch Tebow’s attention.
The 29-year-old outfielder took notice and came over to shake Bosch’s hand through the netting. That brought a cheer from the crowd at Charlotte Sports Park, and it thrilled Ileanna Bosch, the boy’s mother, who was filming the exchange.
Seth returned to his seat in tears, while Bosch kept her camera running as Tebow took his turn at the plate in the seventh inning. She was rewarded with a three-run home run that made for a remarkable sequence.
According to the Times’s Martin Fennelly, Seth has high-functioning autism, and he also suffers from neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that caused a tumor to form behind his right eye. Fennelly wrote that the boy “has a hard time playing sports,” but Tebow helped him experience a magical moment at the ballpark.
“When Seth came back to his seat, he was crying,” Ileanna Bosch told Fennelly. “And then Tim hit the homer.
“I started crying, too. How does that happen? I think God brought Seth and Tim together.”
Tebow has not been pursuing a baseball career for long, having signed with the Mets in September, but already his journey has produced these episodes:
- On the first pitch he saw, in his first organized game since his junior year of high school, Tebow hit a home run in an Instructional League contest.
- During his first game in the Arizona Fall League, Tebow laid his hands on and prayed for a man who suffered a seizure. Tebow stayed with the man for 15 t0 20 minutes as he recovered, until paramedics took him from the stadium.
- In his first minor-league at-bat, in April, he slugged a two-run homer.
- After being promoted to St. Lucie, an advanced Class-A team, Tebow hit a home run on his first day.
- In July, he hit his first walk-off homer since high school.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson admitted earlier this summer that his organization signed Tebow “partly because of his celebrity, partly because this is an entertainment business.” That calculation has been justified, in the sense that Tebow, who enjoyed a legendary football career at the University of Florida before washing out in brief stops with the Broncos and Jets, has been a major draw in the minors.
Both minor league baseball teams for which he has played have set attendance records, and he has also attracted huge crowds in road games. Tebow hasn’t exactly lit it up at the plate, but he has hit better since being promoted, improving his batting average (from .220 to .248) and OPS (.648-.725).
If the burly Tebow has a calling card, it’s his power, but he has just eight home runs in 355 minor league at-bats. However, as he proved again recently, he sure seems to know when to hit ’em.
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