COLUMBIA, S.C. — Tim Tebow’s minor league baseball career couldn’t have started in more magical fashion.
In his first at-bat for the Class A Columbia Fireflies, the former Heisman Trophy winner drove a 2-1 pitch from Augusta GreenJackets lefty Domenic Mazza off and over the fence in left field for a two-run home run, sending a capacity crowd at Spirit Communications Park into a disbelieving frenzy.
The shot came in the bottom of the second inning of Tebow’s first game with the New York Mets’ low-A affiliate, and came on the heels of a spring training performance during which he struggled in Grapefruit League exhibitions against major league clubs, getting just four hits in 27 at-bats (a .148 average).
It appears he’ll like lower minor league pitching a little better.
Tebow stopped momentarily at second base before an umpire motioned that it was a home run. He did a giddy-hop and pumped his arms, before completing the trip around the bases.
While Mezza is a far cry from Max Scherzer — the National League Cy Young winner who struck him out on three pitches last month — he’s far from a novice. Mezza, 22, posted a 3.93 ERA in 14 starts in this same South Atlantic League last season.
After fouling off a pair of pitches and deftly laying off a curveball in the dirt, Tebow — with fans clad in his jersey from the University of Florida, the Denver Broncos and even freshly purchased Fireflies Tebow T-shirts — created his first bit of baseball lore.