BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The rain and dreary weather can put a damper on baseball season this time of year, but the lights were shining extra bright at Tuesday afternoon's media day for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
A large contingent of media was there because the team introduced its new outfielder who just happens to be a former college football superstar.
Tim Tebow's athletic prowess and devotion to Jesus Christ have made him one of the most polarizing athletes in sports. He won a Heisman Trophy while playing at quarterback at the University of Florida, and went on to play briefly in the NFL.
Nowadays, he's attempting to become a Major League Baseball player. That journey continues Thursday when he starts the season with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
There was extra buzz at the Binghamton Rumble Ponies media day. Not because the New York Mets AA affiliate is coming off a season in which it made the playoffs and is stacked with some of the top talent in the Mets farm system, but because of Tim Tebow.
The Rumble Ponies' new left fielder will start this season, his second, as a professional baseball player in Binghamton as he continues to climb towards his dream of becoming a major leaguer.
"It feels really good. It feels really good. I've been here for only two days, but it's been a lot of fun seeing the city a little bit, meeting a lot of people and everybody's been extremely nice," Tebow said.
Tebow hit eight homers and knocked in 52 runs last year as a 29-year-old rookie. Now 30, Tebow believes a year of experience after not having played since high school will do him wonders.
"I think it was competing for a season and then being able to take all the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, look at it then kind of categorize it and say, 'OK, I really want to get better at these few things and go to work on that.'" said Tebow.
"I think he's got great strike zone discipline. He's a guy that works the zone, works the count, battles at bat. His power display has been unbelievable. I think he's a guy that can hit for power. His raw power is above average," said manager Luis Rojas.
Everywhere Tim Tebow goes there's a massive following. That's why there's that term out there: "Tebow Mania." He could have a serious impact in Binghamton.
"We've had big events here before, major league rehabbers, postseason games, but this has a different feel to it," said Tim Heiman, director of broadcasting and media relations.
"Whether that's visiting hospitals, encouraging kids, bringing home or helping the economy, that would be awesome if there's ways that I can help it," Tebow added.
The organization tells us that ticket sales have already been on the uptick since news of Tim Tebow's assignment to Binghamton. If the weather holds, the Rumble Ponies will open the season on Thursday night at home.