From CSJ Reports —
After a grueling 162-game schedule and some thrilling Divisional Series and Championship Series matchups, it’s all come down to this. The unimaginable has happened: Chicago vs. Cleveland.
With 174 years of World Series title futility between them (108 for the Cubs and 66 for the Indians), one franchise is four wins away from dropping an enormous weight off its shoulders. At the same there, there will be a handful of players looking to openly credit their faith in God for any success they might experience on the field.
For the Cubs, the role of spiritual leader has ironically been bestowed upon one of the team’s newcomers, outfielder Ben Zobrist, who signed with Chicago after helping the Kansas City Royals break a 30-year championship drought in 2015.
Married to Christian music artist Juliana Zobrist, he has regularly talked about his faith including an interview with Beyond The Ultimate.
In that conversation, Zobrist shared his testimony in detail and acknowledged that the purpose behind his career goes far beyond the World Series.
“I don’t dream of fame, fortune or popularity,” he said. “But for me, if God allows me to [continue to] play, I will have a different perspective—to direct people back to the Lord.”
Another key member of the Chicago Cubs also hopes to use the opportunity to shine the light to baseball fans around the world. Outfielder Dexter Fowler once shared his primary goal as a Major League Baseball player with FCA Magazine:
“I know God put me on this platform to spread His Word,” he said. “The best way I can share my faith is to lead by example and play with the joy He has given me as His child. Playing this game is just a stepping stone on my journey through life with Him. I pray that I embrace every opportunity that He puts in my path to share His message of salvation. And when I get weary because of the challenges and struggles in this life, I know that He is always there to renew my strength.
For the Indians, pitcher Perci Garner has been known to use his social media accounts to talk about his relationship with Jesus. Cleveland fans are also treated to Gospel rap artist R-Swift’s song “Awesome God” when Garner takes the field.
Outfielder Rajai Davis has also been known to hold up the mantle of faith through his walk-up music that has included Kirk Franklin’s “Jesus” and Marvin Sapp’s “Yes You Can.” It was in 2002 when Davis recommitted himself to daily devotion with God.
“I got to my brink,” Davis told Athletes in Action. “I wasn’t playing. I wasn’t on the track that I wanted to be on. So I started reading the Bible in the morning time. I prayed before I’d get up to bat. I’d read the [Bible] at night. It became something that I looked forward to doing. I would gain strength in just listening to the Word, and then I would apply that word to the field, and I would believe that God was going to work through me.”
(Photos: Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images; Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images)