A New Perspective
I grew up going to church two to three times a month, but never really got to know the [Bible] or have a relationship with Christ. In 2003, just being around a bunch of guys who are [Christians] on the team, and going to baseball chapels and Bible studies off the field, I really started wanting that relationship and started trying to understand what it was about.
My wife, Betsy, had a strong relationship [with Christ] at the time, so as a married couple we decided we should have our relationship with the Lord be the foundation of our marriage.
Since Betsy and I have been in baseball, we put ourselves around people who will help us grow in our relationship with the Lord. It’s in the Bible that belief in Christ is what you are searching for and need. For us, Christ really has transformed our lives, and we couldn’t be any happier. We are content with whatever happens. We look toward Christ to fulfill us.
Christ has given me a different perspective in life – in my marriage, in my attitude on the field, and in everything else, including [trying to be] the best husband to my wife as possible and striving to be the best person I can be. You see yourself in a different position. You don’t put yourself first, you put yourself last. That’s [something] I never thought I could do until I became a [Christian]. Now I try to live [as God would have me to live] every day and to let others see [that] so others can come to Christ. Anytime I can share in public, I try to take advantage of that as Christ would want me to do. I try to do what I can to lead others to Christ.
I have success in baseball, but I know that is because of the Lord. I know my preparing and my hard work definitely play a part, but it would not be done without Christ.
It used to be if I went 0 for 4, I’d be mad; if I went 4 for 4, I’d be happy. God doesn't care if I get a hit or strike out, He just cares that my attitude is right and my focus is in the right place with Him. Success is never defined in the box score. Now it is in my attitude toward Christ.
You can have everything you want on this earth, and at the end of that day, you’re going to want something else. One thing I like to ask people is, “What do you put your foundation on?” For me, if it is baseball and I go out and get hurt, and can’t play baseball for the rest of my life, where do I go from there? If it’s in money and the market crashes tomorrow, and you have no more money, where do you go from there? If you put your faith in earthly things, you are never going to be fulfilled. If you put your faith in Christ, you are always going to be fulfilled no matter what happens.
We are all saved through faith. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts; you have to have that personal faith, belief that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and that He died on the cross for us. After that, the works and the things that you do should come from your heart because of the love that you feel for Him and what He has done for us.
I have Psalm 27:1 inscribed on my bat. That Bible verse reads, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” It is a reminder that when [I am] in a tough situation, God is in control. I [sign] it with my autograph in hopes kids will ask what that is and take time to read it. Hopefully it will lead them to the Bible.
Every time I’m in a situation, especially in baseball where I feel overwhelmed by the pressure, I can just look at that verse [on my bat] and say, “Hey, what do I have to fear, what do I have to be afraid of? I’ve done everything I can to prepare, it’s up to the Lord whether I hit or not.” All He cares about is whether my attitude afterwards is [honoring] Him. It puts me in a position to let go… and just enjoy the moment.