Tim Tebow is set to play for Team Philippines in the Qualifying Round of the 2021 World Baseball Classic, the premier international baseball tournament announced Wednesday.
The 32-year-old LF/DH, who has been with the Mets since New York signed him to a minor-league contract in September 2016, joins the Philippines squad next month.
The Philippines' qualifiers for Pool 2 run from March 20-25 at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, with five other teams -- Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama and Spain.
There are two qualifying pools, with the top two teams from each advancing. The winners from the two qualifiers then head to the WBC, which takes place March 2021 at Marlins Park in Miami.
Tebow was born Aug. 14, 1987, in Makati City, Philippines, before he and his family moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Moving from the United States to the Philippines in 1985, Tebow's parents were Baptist missionaries and built a ministry there.
Entering his fourth year with the Mets after spending the 2019 season at Triple-A Syracuse, Tebow said that the Mets "were super supportive" and "thought it was a really cool thing" for him to do too.
"You don't get a lot of chances to represent people or places that mean something to you," Tebow said, according to Newsday's Tim Healey. "It's even more than baseball for me."
The WBC qualifiers overlaps with the final stretch of the Mets' spring training and exhibition schedule. New York plays six games from March 20-24, including a split-squad deal March 21, before taking March 25 off and opening the regular season March 26 against the Nationals at Citi Field.
In his first year with Triple-A Syracuse, Tebow struggled as he slashed .163/.240/.255 with four home runs and 19 RBI through 77 games. Tebow's 2018 season at Double-A Binghamton registered far better numbers, highlighted by a slash line of .273/.336/.399 with six home runs and 36 RBI over 84 games.
Tebow's fourth spring training with the Mets had a bright moment in Tuesday's 9-6 loss to the Tigers, going 1 for 2 with a walk and a two-run home run. Tebow's left-center homer during a four-run top of the sixth inning brought the Mets within 5-4 against the Tigers and served as a highlight at Joke Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.
A former college football star at the University of Florida (2006-09) and three-year NFL quarterback (2010-12), Tebow has maintained that he hopes to achieve his ultimate goal of reaching the big leagues with the Mets.
"Yeah, of course," Tebow said when asked about if he has doubted his MLB pursuit since signing with the Mets. "It'd be a lie to say no. I think it's what do you do with that doubt? What do you do with uncertainty? Or what do you do when you feel like you're struggling at something? I think that's important because we all have that in our lives, in places at times where we're going through things and ultimately a lot more important situations than sports.
"I think that's when you have to go back to, 'Why are you doing this? Are you having fun doing it? Do you love doing it?' All of those things. And then have a mindset to continue to work. And so, where you don't let the don't or the uncertainty control your mind and your mentality because there's a lot of things in life that you get thrown into where you're uncertain about. But I think that's where faith and determination and perseverance really come into play -- not when things are going really well."