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Tim Tebow

It's July 2017, and Tim Tebow is playing baseball. In fact, he's gotten a promotion in his first full season in the minor leagues. And with the Mets sliding in the standings, the rumor mill has already started about the former Heisman Trophy winner potentially going all the way to Citi Field in September.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tebow joined ThePostGame Podcast from Port St. Lucie, fresh off a 5-0 win in Advanced-A. For the 10:15 a.m. game, Tebow batted sixth and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. The former NFL quarterback seems to have found his hitting stroke while also adjusting to downgrades in transportation, facilities and crowd sizes from what he had in his old gig. 

Football is creeping back into Tebow's life, though. He spoke to ThePostGame on behalf of Allstate, one of his partners back in the college football world. Tebow is a host on SEC Nation, the SEC Network's college football gameday TV program, and he says he will be on location when the season begins. That would conflict with a call-up to the majors, but Tebow is not ready to discuss that predicament yet. Listen to the podcast and see the transcription below:

Tim Tebow explains why he is hitting better since his promotion (2:38), how he avoids being a distraction (4:46), how he will balance broadcasting college football with playing baseball (8:37), how he would deal with a September call-up (10:12) and his work with the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

ThePostGame: Since you've gotten the promotion from the Columbia Fireflies to the St. Lucie Mets, from A to the Advanced-A, you're actually batting better: .220 to .306. How did that happen?
TIM TEBOW: Well, to be honest with you, I think it's a couple things, but number one, being able to see more pitches, play more games, just still getting used to the game of baseball. Taking 12 years off, it doesn't all come back instantly, so being able to work every day and feel like the next day I'm better than I was the day before, I think that's huge. Also, I would add that I have been very blessed to have a lot of great coaching in Columbia and now here at Port St. Lucie. All the coaches that have invested in me and are working every day just trying to get in the extra reps to make up for a lot of lost time. 

TPG: You went 2-for-4 today. We were talking before, a 10:15 a.m. game in 115-degree weather, did you ever experience maybe a college football game in your career like that?
TEBOW: I experienced a lot of games like that in my college football career. And the first that comes to mind, I remember we played Hawaii, and they were a good football team that season and I remember the second half, the humidity of The Swamp affecting them a little bit, as it did to a lot of different teams. It's easy to play in hot weather, but it's a lot harder when it gets extremely humid. That's one of the advantages of getting to play in the swamp. 

TPG: We haven't heard people talking about you being a distraction, which I think is the most impressive part of this. You're obviously drawing crowds, you're obviously drawing a story. Who are some of the people you'd like to give recognition to, the coaches and maybe star players up-and-coming that you think deserve recognition for their work down in the minor leagues?
TEBOW: It's been so many guys that I've had the chance to work with. Now, my coaches, Luis [Natera] and Chad Kreuter are helping me. My coaches in Columbia helped me out a lot – [Joel] Fuentes and [Jose] Leger. But just so many guys, even teammates. One of my teammates who was with me in Columbia got bumped up with me to St. Lucie: Michael Paez. He's helped me a lot. We talk about seeing pitches. All these guys that I play with, we talk baseball. I try to listen and learn and even though we're not all necessarily the same age, they might be a little bit younger, I still try to pick their brain to understand what we're seeing. OK, they're bringing in a lefty reliever, you've faced them before: How did he throw you, versus a lefty, versus a righty, versus a switch hitter? Just trying to pick up the little things about the game is I feel like one of the ways where I'm really trying to adjust right now.

TPG: You mentioned that you were seeing the ball better at the end in Columbia and then by the time you got up to Advanced A, you're getting the reps in, which you obviously didn't have at the beginning of the season and the Mets did allow you to play a couple Spring Training games. When you look at that, do you almost laugh at how maybe perhaps not ready you were at spring training a couple months ago?
TEBOW: Well, I definitely think that I have improved a lot, obviously trying to improve every day and also not just at the plate, running bases, stealing bases, in the outfield, wherever that is -- center, right or left. There are so many things that you can practice but you can't really apply at full speed until you've been in those situations and so that's when the opportunity to play in some Spring Training games, then at Columbia and now here at Port St. Lucie has really helped.

Tim Tebow, New York Mets

TPG: Now, you're listed at 6-3, 255 pounds. I assume the 6-3 is still the same. Are you still 255? Are you still at that football-playing weight that you had while playing baseball now?
TEBOW: Yeah, I probably range from about 252 to 254. That's where I usually stay. I feel like that's a very comfortable weight for me. It's a weight I can carry very easily but also, part of this game is trying to hit for power, so to be as strong as you can helps.  

TPG: You talk about stealing bases. I feel like Tim Tebow could be on the verge of becoming a five-tool player. Is that correct?
TEBOW: (Laughs) We're still working on the jump -- different moves and what pitchers have got, that's honestly one of the biggest things to stealing bases. It's not necessarily the speed. It's the jump that you get and the reads of the pitcher. So, that’s a work in progress.

TPG: You show up in Columbia, you show up in Port St. Lucie, the news is on you, how do you personally avoid being a distraction? How do you go out of your way to avoid that?
TEBOW: I just try to be a great teammate, I try to be someone there that's one of the first guys there and the last guys to leave, someone that works extremely hard, someone that tries to pick up my teammates and also someone that goes out there and competes every single day and every single night because I believe that a competitive attitude, a passionate attitude, is also a very contagious attitude, and so my goal is to bring that to every at-bat, every inning in the field every day. As a team, although we haven’t been together all year, we can still push each other to get better and root for each other.

TPG: Now, we're approaching August here, we're approaching September, you know that is college football season. I don't know where you honestly thought you would be at this point, but I know you do have college football, perhaps obligations, in terms of broadcast. Last year, in the Fall League, you were going back and forth on weekends. Is there a plan for once the college football season starts again on how to balance your time?
TEBOW: Well, I'm going to be training for baseball and continuing to work very hard and on the weekends, I'm very thankful to be with ESPN and SEC Nation, and we'll be talking football, something I love and I've done for a long time. And I just really enjoy it. So, I feel like that is a pretty good way to spend my fall.

TPG: Do you think you would be remote? Or will you be on location?
TEBOW: Well, I'll be on location for SEC Nation for the games wherever the host team is that we're at that weekend, whether it's Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, we get a lot of awesome different games and so I'll be on location. That's where you get the crazy fans and that's part of the fun of it.

TPG: Now, there has been slight talk about a potential September call-up for you. With that obligation, with college football, if the Mets were to bring you up, how would you deal with that?
TEBOW: Baseball is my number one priority right now, but I'm not worried about any of that. For me, it's worrying about making the adjustments from today to tomorrow, not anything that I can't control and I know that sounds cliché, but as an athlete, it really has to be your focus. You can't be on what other people are saying or thinking. It has to be on your mindset and what you have to do to get better from day-to-day.

Tim Tebow

TPG: Well, let's talk about college football then. You are part of the voting panel for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. I was mentioning before, you woke me up on New Year's Day. I think it was like 9 a.m. was when you started doing interviews. I was impressed honestly with your energy at that time on New Year's Day. What's your role with Allstate this year?
TEBOW: I get to be the spokesperson for the second year in a row, and it's something that I'm very excited about because eight years ago, I had a chance to be a part of this team. It was very special for me to be part of this team because it's not just about wins or losses, or how you do on the field, it's about the impact that you make off the field. This Good Works Team, it's so awesome that we get to celebrate them, the 22 athletes this year that we're going to be able to celebrate that will be part of the team have done amazing work in their communities and their neighborhoods and honestly, around the world, and we've just got some incredibly special stories. Whether it's Chad Jones, a linebacker at UAB, who had to go through everything that university has gone through but has stayed there and worked with so many orphans and foster care kids while he's waited for the team to come back. Now, he's going to be a captain this year, and you look at guys and their courage to stay and help their communities, it's pretty awesome. There's so many remarkable stories this year of guys that have just loved their community and the people around it and made such a difference. All 146 nominees, they're all to be commended.

TPG: Tim, you're obviously very inspired by this program, and in terms of the college football season, do you have an early national champion and Heisman Trophy pick?
TEBOW: Oh man, that's a hard call. I would say I have to wait on both of those. You got to see what happens in fall camp, what injuries happen, who stays healthy. Everything that could happen. I'm gonna wait to make my pick until I see everything going on then, but I think you can look at some of the top teams out there and you've got Ohio State, Alabama, USC, you've got some really good teams this season that are also big-time names, and I think that's going to give college football a very exciting season. 

TPG: You can say Florida, it's OK.
TEBOW: We got to see what happens with the offense. If the offense can score some points, I think the defense is going to have a couple guys. If they step up, that have a chance to be really good. Also, they got a tough schedule, Florida State at the end of the year. But we'll see! They do have the athletes to give them a chance, though.

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