MOOSIC — Fans flocking to PNC Field to see the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders take on Tim Tebow and the Syracuse Mets had to endure two rain delays before the umpires suspended the game in the bottom of the first inning Friday night.
The first rain delay lasted 1 hour, 56 minutes causing the game to start at 8:31 p.m. A whopping total of eight minutes was played before the game went into its second delay, lasting 1 hour, 9 minutes before the game was suspended in the bottom of the first inning.
Friday night’s contest marked the first time since 2012 that the New York Yankees and New York Mets Triple-A ball clubs faced off against one another. The last time it happened, the Buffalo Bisons were the Mets affiliate and the RailRiders were called the SWB Yankees.
After the first delay, Brody Koerner took the mound and struck out Mets outfielder Gregor Blanco looking.
Utility man Danny Espinosa hit an opposite-field line drive home run into the RailRiders bullpen to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Drew Hutchinson will start in Saturday’s suspended game and Raynel Espinal will start the second game, according to RailRiders skipper Jay Bell.
Bell offers insights
Before the game, Bell talked about the newest additions to his club and how recent promotions have impacted the big club.
“He’s actually going to start some games and work on a few things,” Bell said about Chad Green, who was optioned to Triple-A by the Yankees on Wednesday. “Hopefully we can get him back to New York as quick as possible.”
Green will most likely serve as an opener.
“We want him to get clean innings so he can get his work done,” the skipper noted.
“From the outside looking in is to watch the guys that we’ve had here go up and produce,” Bell said of the RailRiders that have been promoted to the Yankees and thrived. “We’ve accomplished a lot at the major league level because of the 40-man roster and beyond.”
Bell said he hasn’t heard anything about the Yankees recent acquisition of Logan Morrison.
“All I know is that he’s in extended spring training,” he said.
Tebow speaks to the media
After becoming a polarizing college football sensation at Florida, Tebow was selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 25th pick by the Denver Broncos on April 22, 2010.
Nearly nine years to the day, Tebow finds himself taking hacks in batting practice at the Triple-A level for the Syracuse Mets.
Tebow, 31, impressed scouts enough during the open tryouts he hosted for all 30 MLB clubs in August 2016 that the New York Mets inked him to a minor league contract on September 8, 2016.
Since his contract signing, Tebow has drawn massive crowds at every level ranging from Single-A all the way to Triple-A.
“It’s very humbling,” said Tebow. “I appreciate all the fan support. It definitely means a lot.”
Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, said he hopes to transcend whatever it is he’s doing, whether it be playing baseball or football or giving a speech.
“If all you do is hit or strike out or throw a touchdown there’s still something empty in that,” he said. “I try to be more than that. I try to make someone smile or create a brighter day or try to give someone hope in something where its more than just a game.”
In three minor league seasons, Tebow has made adjustments on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
“I’m continuing to adjust,” Tebow said. “There has been some stuff I’ve been working on and trying to improve. I’m in that process. The biggest adjustment has been getting into the season and the grind and face some good pitchers.”
“I think I’m much improved defensively,” he added. “I’m getting a lot better. My reads and my jumps are getting better, I think I’m seeing the ball off the bat better.”
Syracuse has a locker room full of guys with major league experience, including outfielders Carlos Gomez and Rajai Davis.
“There are a lot of guys with experience in the show in that clubhouse,” Tebow mentioned. “There’s a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of years. There is a lot of wisdom. I think it’s fun being able to travel with those guys and talk, and talk baseball. I try to take as much of it in as I can.”
The two time BCS national championship winner says life is all about perspective.
“I like to enjoy all times, not just the good but the bad,” he said. “We get caught up in the here and now. It’s all about perspective. I’m out here playing a kids game. It’s truly a blessing.”
“I’ve been able to travel to so many countries and see what so many people have been going through,” Tebow added. “I think it’s helped me keep a lot of things in perspective.”
In three minor league seasons Tebow owns a slash line of .237/.314/.356 with 14 home runs and 93 RBI.
During one of the few moments of baseball played on Friday, RailRiders shortstop Cliff Pennington fouls one off in the driving rain.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow made his NEPA baseball debut on Friday before the game vs. the RailRiders was rained out.