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ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The Treasure Coast won’t be able to avoid the Tim Tebow effect — regardless of whether the former University of Florida quarterback makes the minor-league St. Lucie Mets or major league New York Mets baseball teams.

If the public is allowed to watch even one day of the team’s Florida Instructional League that trains in Port St. Lucie, local fans, county officials and sports writers said the popular Heisman Trophy winner’s presence will have an impact to our area in a way it’s never before seen.

Tebow, who continues to carry a large fan base from his years in Gainesville and stops in the NFL, signed a minor league contract Thursday with the New York Mets. He’s expected to be in Port St. Lucie for the instructional league, which runs from Sept. 19 through early October. Mets officials haven’t yet decided if and when the public can watch.

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For the first time, Treasure Coast Gator Club President Sean Mickley and other Tebow fans are hoping the instructional league will be open for them to attend.

“No matter where he’s been, it’s drawn a large contingent of local fans and members of the public,” Mickley said. “There’s going to be a portion of the Treasure Coast that flocks to see Tim Tebow play.”

Mickley, a Vero Beach resident who graduated from UF in 2005 and just missed the Tebow Era that began the next year, hopes the club could organize some type of joint event with the St. Lucie Mets, such as a night out with Tebow where they can meet him if he’s willing.

“It’s good to see him back in the orange and blue,” Mickley said. “Although it may not be a Gator uniform — it’s now a New York or St. Lucie Mets uniform — the colors look good on him.”

If Tebow does make any of the Mets’ teams, Mickley expects the tri-county area to benefit. Tebow, a devout Christian, created the Tim Tebow Foundation and helped open a children’s hospital in the Philippines, where he was born and frequently visited for missionary work at his father’s orphanage.

“He’s just a positive influence, whether he was in college or he was in the pros, no matter where he was,” Mickley said. “He’s active in any community that he’s been in. … I’m sure he also would be an active member of the community in St. Lucie.”

County spokesman Erick Gill said he’s seen articles from across the nation about our local area after the Tebow news.

“It’s created a nice buzz for St. Lucie County and Port St. Lucie,” Gill said. “Obviously, it’s great exposure for our area.”

If the instructional league is open to the public, he said, county officials expect to see some crowds — but nothing like the big attendance numbers that spring training games do.

Still, he expects the St. Lucie West area near the stadium to get a boost in terms of gas and restaurant sales similar to spring training season but at a much different time of the year thanks to Tebow.

“I don’t know that we’ve seen that in the past for the instructional league,” Gill said, “but that may change with his arrival.”

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As the senior writer for FloridaGators.com, the UF Athletic Association’s official website, Scott Carter has covered Gators football for the past six years.

When asked if Tebow could make it in baseball, Carter said it’s going to be difficult for Tebow, but he has enough talent in the sport if the Mets are willing to give him a shot.

“He’s going to have a challenge ahead of him,” Carter said. “But one thing with Tebow … This guy is not afraid to give it a try, and if he succeeds — if he ever plays in the major leagues — well, I’ll be surprised, yes. But at the same time, I do think he has some of the raw tools that got him this opportunity.”

Carter, who spent seven years covering Major League Baseball in Tampa and also briefly covered the St. Lucie Mets for the St. Lucie News Tribune, remembered the unique story of Jim Morris, a teacher turned baseball player who was the inspiration for “The Rookie” starring Dennis Quaid.

Tebow has some of the tools required for baseball, such as power, speed and athleticism, but his success depends on his hand-eye coordination and if he can hit off-speed pitches and fastballs, Carter said.

“You can try your best to cheer a guy home,” Carter said, “but if he’s a bad curveball hitter and he’s facing a curveball pitcher, he’s going to have trouble.”

Carter said he isn’t sure if Tebow’s abilities in football can translate to baseball.

“(Football) is a team sport — it’s so much based on emotion and in the moment,” Carter said. “Whatever we see from him in baseball, it will be his best that he was able to do because that comes from that internal drive he has.”

Regardless, Carter expects fans to show up to see Tebow — if they can. Carter said Tebow became famous after winning two national championships at UF and becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, but he’s maintained a celebrity status by branching out to other areas, including sports commentary and TV shows.

It’s also Tebow’s character that makes him so popular, said Carter, adding Tebow is the kind of man parents wants their sons grow up to be and their daughters to marry.

“A lot of people look at Tebow in that way, whether or not you care about the Gators,” Carter said. “Wherever Tebow goes, I think Tebow mania just kind of follows him.”