Tim Tebow's wild ride through the Minor Leagues officially began Thursday when the Mets outfielder suited up for Class A Columbia and, in dramatic fashion, hit a home run in his first at-bat.
Below is a look at some of the scenes at the Fireflies' Spirit Communications Park, which was filled beyond capacity with fans eager to see the former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner make his debut.
All photos were taken by Sean Rayford of the Associated Press.
Noelle Colligan shows off the Tim Tebow shirt she bought just before the game at Columbia's team shop. Colligan said she has been a Tebow fan since he won the Heisman Trophy playing football for Florida in 2007.
Tebow (15) stands in the dugout with teammates before the game.
Tebow with fellow Fireflies outfielder Gene Cone. Thursday marked the first regular-season Minor League game for Tebow, who had previously played in the Arizona Fall League and during Spring Training exhibition games.
The former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback surveys the field from the dugout before his first game.
Tebow then homered in his first at-bat.
"Special things happen to special people, and I think that was a special moment right there," Columbia manager Jose Leger said. "Putting the team on the board right there, I think he set the tone, no doubt about it."
Tebow circles the bases after going deep.
Tebow's homer was his only hit of the night, though -- he finished 1-for-5.
"So much about sports is handling moments and handling pressure," Tebow said in his postgame news conference at Spirit Communications Park. "I think as an athlete, that's so much about really being able to calm yourself, have focus, go back to what you've been training on, don't make the moment too big, go back and simplify it and have your plan of attack and go for it."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.