Hooked on Abolition

Last time, I told you about how God brought me to San Francisco. I believe He brought me to San Francisco for a reason. Almost as soon as I arrived, I learned to fight human trafficking.

In a previous post, I told you how I got into food initiatives, and how satisfying it is to give the hungry something to eat. It was so fulfilling that I started researching poverty and hunger closely. And then everywhere I looked, I saw a dreadful pattern. Continue reading

Evangelism

How do you evangelize? I try to reflect the characteristics of God. When I’m around kids, or anyone really, I do what I think He would do. I love them, I feel joy around them, I’m happy around them, and I encourage them. These are all the things that I think Jesus did when He walked the streets.

A lot of times when people look at athletes, they think we might be puffed up and full of pride, so they don’t try to talk to fans. Sometimes we can’t talk to them, because we have to focus on doing our jobs! But if I don’t have anything to do, I try to say hi to people in the ballpark, especially the kids, to let them know that we are human beings. I shake their hands and encourage them, I give them high fives, and I let them know that I’m real and I’m human and I hope they do well. Sometimes Dads ask if I have any advice for their sons, and I’ll tell them to dream. To dream really, really big. Continue reading

In His Hands

Dear Readers,

I’m just putting the finishing touches on a Christmas series I’ve created for you where I reflect on why we’re here, alive, on this planet, and what we’re meant to do with our lives. That will launch Friday, and in the meantime, I thought I’d share one of my favorite posts from last December. Never forget to pray. No matter what life throws your way, you’re good as long as you’re in His hands:

The peace I felt as I stood on the mound in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS was, in one word, amazing. Amazing. It’s the peace that can only come from God.

I don’t think there’s a formula for reaching that kind of peace. I think it all comes down to Who you believe in. Those who believe only in themselves will never find that peace, not consistently. We don’t have 100% confidence in ourselves because we fail ourselves so much. Continue reading

One Of Those Crazy Ideas

I play in a sport where we try to get kids to want to be like us.  But I’ve seen some of us.  And I’m not proud of some of us.  I am not proud at all.  Please, kids, do not be like some of us.

Of course there are other athletes that are great role models.  They are the ones you point out, and you turn to your kids and say, “If you want to be like a pro athlete, be like him.”

It’s not always easy to know which is which.  It can be really tough.  Do I want a kid to be like me?  In some ways, yes!  But in other ways, you know, no!  We change.  We learn, we grow, we mature.  I mean, I’ve sure learned!  But I’d rather see kids learn differently than the way I did, because I’ve learned the hard way.  I’ve done things I’m really not proud of.  In Kansas City, I attacked my bench coach, and it was on television.  Can you imagine?  If that’s all anyone knows about me, then I’d say to a kid, “Don’t be like me.  Not like that.”

But it would be really fulfilling to think that kids would want to be like me because I try to love others the way the King of Kings has loved me.  I would love for more pro athletes to embrace the love angle, the humanitarian angle, the justice angle.

Professional athletes have the ability to make a lot of money, just because people want to be entertained.  And this creates an incredible opportunity.  Because we can make a lot of money, we can do a lot of good.  Here’s an idea: what if more ballplayers got involved in humanitarian issues?  You know what that would do?  It would involve the fans! Continue reading

Blessed Are the Peacemakers, Part 3

On the day that the Giants and Dodgers came together at AT&T Park to speak out about fan violence, I spoke on behalf of the Giants, and Jamey Carroll spoke on behalf of the Dodgers.

Jamey and I stood in the front of the mound and the teams gathered behind us. The two managers, Bruce Bochy and Don Mattingly, stood side-by-side.

The front office was a little worried about how the fans would receive Jamey. They didn’t want him to be booed, not while he was addressing the situation. So they asked me to introduce him in such a way that everyone would understand that this event wasn’t about the rivalry. Continue reading

A Man After God’s Own Heart

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Take a good look at who Jesus was. He never condemned anybody. He loved everybody. And He brought joy to the people He was with.

That’s what I’m trying to do as a believer in baseball. I want to be a different kind of baseball player. Sure I want to be a guy that makes lots of money, but not so I can have seventeen houses and six yachts and eighteen cars. I do it for other reasons. I want to make money because it means I can help people that need to be helped. It means I can love people and bring them joy, the way that Jesus did.

Of course, Jesus is God. He’s perfect! I don’t expect myself to be perfect. I know I’m not perfect. I know I mess up. Continue reading