Inside Pitch Magazine, Spring 2015

Intentional Walk: Balance

By Keith Madison

Rich MaloneyBoth athletes and coaches take what they do very seriously. Sometimes a slump, losing streak or even winning can become all-consuming. For many people in all levels of baseball, faith is the focal point and helps these ultra competitive individuals keep balance in their lives. If eyes are taken off the mark, families, careers and even personal health may suffer.

Recently, I was able to reach out to several baseball men to see if there is a special verse from the Bible that helps them maintain focus and a healthy outlook during the season. They all love to compete and they are all winners, but they also understand what it means to “keep the main thing the main thing.”

Robbie Ross, LHP, Boston Red Sox

James 4:10. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” Robbie says, “This has always been one of my favorites verses. It helps me to think that I must seek humility so that I can be used for His kingdom. This verse and also Mark 9:23 are tattooed on my wrists, so they are positive reminders everyday!”

Rich Maloney, Head Baseball Coach, Ball State University
Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.” Rich shared the following as it relates to this verse: “To me, this means that no matter what we encounter within our team during the season, God is in the background at work. It is refreshing to know that regardless of the circumstances, good or bad, God will ultimately work it out for our good.”

Manny Cervantes, Head Baseball Coach, Asbury University
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Manny feels these verses have been a great encouragement because they summarize what his mission needs to be each day. “I will please God if I pursue honoring Him in whatever He has me doing; whether I’m talking to one of my current players or a recruit, coaching in a game, or coming home to my wife and kids after a tough loss. I’m learning that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but rather that I pursue pleasing Him every day by loving Him and loving others. This is easier said than done, but it’s the only way to find true satisfaction in life.”

Andy Green, Third Base Coach, Arizona Diamondbacks
Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord. He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” Andy shares, “In the world of professional baseball, virtually everyone is concerned with advancement. Early in my career, I had a great deal of stress in my life because I was worried about how quickly I was moving up the ladder. This verse has given me great peace knowing that God controls the people who control my life in baseball. He has the power to give me favor, and all I ever have to do is give all of me every single day. I am now able to enjoy every day without fear of where I might be in the future. God is in control of it all.”

Wade Gaynor, 3B, Detroit Tigers organization
2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” Wade reflects: “So many times in life and in the game of baseball we are told, ‘Nice guys finish last! Or, Christian men are soft!’ I’ve heard these claims throughout my career and they simply aren’t true. God calls us to be strong men in our faith. God has given us all a spirit of power! This verse not only reminds me of that but also gives me confidence to go out and compete.”

Faith in Christ and trusting His Word is an incredible tool available to coaches and athletes. Whether you write on your cap bill or glove, tattoo it on your wrist or simply hide it in your heart, the Word of God is not a crutch, but a Sword of Truth.

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.