Stephen McGarvey Christian Blog and Commentary

Boston Red Sox Talk about Their Faith in Christ

I love baseball and have been a Boston Red Sox fan since I was ten years old. So forgive this diversion from the deeper issues of the day.  With hurricanes and U.S. Supreme Court vacancies in the news, it’s nice to write about something a little less intense.

I loved my Red Sox even more when I read this piece from the Boston Globe. Apparently there is quite the contingent of Christian believers on the team, and the Globe reports on it from a positive perspective.

''Without question, chapel attendance among the Red Sox has been far and away more than any of the major league teams over the last two years," said Vince Nauss, president of Baseball Chapel.

Trot Nixon, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Curt Schilling, Doug Mirabelli, Bill Mueller, Matt Clement, John Olerud, Mike Myers, Tony Graffanino, Chad Bradford: Each Sox player considers himself an evangelical Christian who believes in the sacred authority of the Bible and the promise of Jesus Christ as his savior.

I would never say this is why this particular Red Sox team won their first World Series since 1918. But, of course, one has to wonder….

The evangelical Sox believe in sharing the ''good news" of their faith, as they demonstrated after their remarkable comeback last October when they climbed out of a three-game chasm against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series and swept the Cardinals in the World Series.

''I wanted to be able to glorify God's name when all was said and done," Schilling proclaimed after he won Game 2 of the World Series while bleeding through his sock because of an experimental medical procedure that enabled him to pitch with a dislocated ankle tendon.

Win or lose, Schilling and his fellow evangelicals said, the message remains the same.

''This is our platform, our place to speak our faith and live our faith," Timlin said. ''This is a special gift from God, to play baseball, and if we can spread God's word by doing that, then we've almost fulfilled our calling."

Read the complete article: Faith binds many on Sox: Evangelical Christians give sport a spiritual context

And if you missed it, WORLD magazine had a great interview with Curt Schilling in March of this year:

[During] the American League championship series, the Red Sox up against their Moby Dick, the dreaded New York Yankees… [Curt Schilling] had torn an ankle tendon in his previous start, but he thought he could gut it out. He was wrong, and his loss of that game sent the Red Sox careening to a 3-0 deficit in a series to be won by the first team to win four games.

No baseball team had ever come from so far behind to win, but the Red Sox pulled out dramatic extra-inning victories in the fourth and fifth games, and an experimental medical procedure that stitched a tendon to his skin gave Mr. Schilling the possibility of pitching again. But the procedure had been tried before only on cadavers, and no one knew whether he would be able to put pressure on his ankle, let alone throw balls by hitters primed to score runs in a New York minute.

Several hours before the evening game he talked with Pastor [Bob] Riconda and others about how to pray in this situation and what to pray for. As both men recall, he resolved not to pray to win (although he desired that) but for the strength to go out and compete, for the understanding that whatever he did would be because of God's strength and not his own, and for the willingness if there was success to give credit where credit was due.

He strode to the mound in Yankee Stadium and kept going for not just one excellent inning but seven, giving up only four hits and leaving the field with a bleeding suture but a 4-1 lead. The Red Sox held on to win, and afterward he told interviewers, "I've got to say, I became a Christian seven years ago, and I've never in my life been touched by God as I was tonight. . . . I tried to go out and do it myself in Game 1, and you saw what happened. Tonight was God's work on the mound. . . . God did something amazing."

Such an amazing story for all those fans who watched their team lose for 80 plus years. Read the complete article: Public profession.

Schilling has struggled mightily with that ankle injury this year and isn’t back to his old form. Despite their star pitcher sitting on the bench, the Sox have an impressive record. As of the writing of this blog, they are in first place in their division with 81 wins and only 56 loses, on track to make the playoffs. An impressive record but we’ll see how this year finishes. Even if back to back World Series wins are a not in the Red Sox future, many of the team members have already been a powerful witness for the Christian faith. It’s great that my team finally won. It’s even better that so many on the team know who the credit belongs to.