Mitch, Now head coach of the Clinton Lumberjacks. He is a former catcher, and also is a two time back to back National Champion in Div 1 Baseball with the OSU Beavers in 2006 and 2007. He was also drafted in the 2007 draft by the San Diego Padres as the 57th overall pick that year. Mitch is a good friend and great Christian brother, who is now willing to share a little bit about what is like for Him as a follower of Christ in professional baseball.
( Mitch also runs a online training website, check it out at basebypros.)
We Are Never Alone:
It happened more often than I would like, but sure enough, I would find myself staring off into a seemingly empty space next to my feet and feel like I was alone. Regardless of how the day was going, any given moment could send me into a raft lost at sea.
From February till September most of my time is spent in a clubhouse, batting cage, dugout, bullpen, or on the field. This home away from home has not always given a sturdy roof, but baseball has brought me much joy. In the last year, the ‘I’ has slowly started to fade, but the ‘WE’ has started to emerge.
Baseball relates to so many things that life gives us. There is always failure, success, learning, growth, friendships, excitement, rules, mentors, and a chance to change others lives. This is just part of why so many people love the game. But just like in life, we all need to have God in our lives to really be on the right path.
It wasn’t until I started to regularly surround myself with other people that had Jesus in their lives, that I learned that we are never alone. Many days were spent feeling like the world was against me and if I wanted to make things happen, I had to do it on my own. Immersing myself with others, who pushed me to read scripture and build a strong relationship with Jesus, began to show me a life was the exact opposite. I saw loneliness was never really there, but instead WE always had Jesus walking and guiding US the whole time.
Matthew 11:28, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. God knows what we can handle, and he will never ask us to do anything we can’t handle. The fact is, with God in our lives, there is never a task that is too difficult. The important words are ‘With God In Our Lives.’ Even after a roller coaster of ups and down on and off the baseball field, my head should be held high and my eyes should be pointed forward because the highest power of all is by our side.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. With a hitless week, a winless series, or an injury filled season, we must remember to be strong and courageous at all costs. Every day I try to use the word ‘I’ less and less and fill it with the word ‘WE.’ The fact is, I am never doing anything alone. Jesus and I are living this life together.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. It has always been said, “If you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you will wind up in the Hall of Fame.” Failing 70% of the time can be a difficult mountain of obstacles to overcome alone. Having strong faith helps us to maintain a positive outlook on baseball, and life, so that we may keep our head and eyes looking forward to what is next.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. We now have gained a stronger daily routine to remind us of the Grace we have been given. Each time we sit down to eat it is a great time to focus on the mind, body, and soul. We must feed our body with proper nutrition, feed our mind by reviewing and revising our daily goals, and feed our soul by spending time in scripture and prayer so that we may follow Him where he wants us to go.
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. The more we understand that Jesus is with us, the less likely we will be stranded on the raft at sea. Daily obstacles will arise at home, the field, public places, or in commute, but WE have warmth knowing it is US working through it together.