Tim Tebow, the former football player and current outfielder in the New York Mets organization, will represent the Philippines in the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC) qualifiers.
The flamboyant athlete called the opportunity a “really cool thing” in a chat with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
The former Heisman trophy winner has played for the Mets for four seasons now, all in the minor leagues. He is currently in spring training camp, and dreams of playing in the majors one day.
When the Philippines invited him, he ran it by general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Luis Rojas. Both gave him the green light to go play the qualifiers and leave camp.
â€œIâ€™ve just got such a heart for the Philippines,â€ Tebow said. â€œIâ€™ve just really had a love for the people for a long time. To be able to represent them will be really cool — really, really cool. You donâ€™t get a lot of chances to represent people or places that mean something to you.â€
The Mets’ outfielder has a soft spot for the country
Tebow was born in Manila, the country’s capital city. His parents did missionary work there, and they lived there until little Tim was five years old. From there, he grew up in Florida but frequently returned to the Philippines to perform missionary work himself.
The New York Mets’ player opened a hospital in Davao City in 2014, with the intention of meeting “the physical needs and provide spiritual healing for deserving children in the Philippines who could not otherwise afford care,â€ according to the website.
â€œI canâ€™t even tell you how many times Iâ€™ve been back. Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time. Love the people,” he said to MLB.com.
The qualifiers will be in Tucson, Arizona, and the Philippines’ first game will be on March 20 against the Czech Republic.