PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — It’s official: Tebowmania is a hit for the St. Lucie Mets, and for the Florida State League.
Bolstered significantly by Tim Tebow’s presence on the roster, the Class A Mets affiliate in the FSL has already set a single-season home attendance record with about a month left to play.
The team record was toppled on Friday night, when 3,399 fans pushed the attendance for the season to 108,057. Over the Mets’ first 29 seasons, the record attendance mark was 105,379.
St. Lucie is seeing nearly a 50 percent jump in average attendance per game over last season, and the interest in Tebow is clearly a major factor — one that overrides the Mets having the worst record this year in the FSL’s South Division.
And for the first time in four years, the FSL is going to see a rise in attendance.
The league drew 1,056,800 fans last season, and is on pace to significantly top that this season. That would snap a three-year run of FSL attendance dropping from the previous year; the league was down 11 percent in 2016.
A look at Tebow’s week:
HIGHLIGHTS: Tebow’s fifth homer of the year for the Mets back on July 29 was followed by a 0-for-13 slide that carried into this week, ending with a fifth-inning single against Tampa on Thursday. He had an RBI single in what became St. Lucie’s 4-3 win over Tampa on Saturday.
AT THE PLATE: Tebow batted 3 for 24 (.125) this week — which included the completion of a suspended game — with three RBIs and six strikeouts.
ON THE SEASON: Counting his time in Columbia of the South Atlantic League, Tebow is 81 for 344 (.235) with eight home runs, 46 RBIs, 35 walks and 101 strikeouts. In 38 games with St. Lucie, he’s hitting .262 (34 for 130) with five home runs and 23 RBIs.
IN THE FIELD: Tebow still has only two errors with St. Lucie. He had seven with Columbia.
WHAT’S NEXT: Tebow and the Mets are home to start a three-game series against the Florida Fire Frogs (Braves affiliate) on Monday, then head across the state for a four-game set that starts Thursday at the Tampa Yankees. This week is also Tebow’s last as a twentysomething; he turns 30 on Aug. 14.