This story appears in the special 2018 MLB Faith Events issue of Sports Spectrum Magazine, which is being distributed at numerous ballparks this summer. To receive the regular quarterly magazine, subscribe here.
The game was over, many fans began to file out, and most of the players headed to the locker room before calling it a night. But 800 fans chose to stay seated, knowing a few players would soon return to the field. These players would exchange their gloves and bats for a microphone, each of them eager to tell their personal life-changing story of eternal significance.
The day was Sept. 4, 2005, when the Colorado Rockies instituted the first Faith Day at Coors Field (then known as Christian Family Day). The idea came not from one of the players, nor one of the coaches, but from the organization’s director of sales, Matt Haddad. During his first year with the team, he sought a themed day that would sell tickets. The faith concept, which he had seen while interning with the Dodgers during his college days at Texas A&M, was one he was extremely passionate about.
“One of the main reasons our events have been as successful as they have been is because the buy-in comes from the very top,” Haddad says. “Our late president, Keli McGregor, loved Faith Day and supported it from the beginning.”
The backing continues to trickle down the chain of command. Rockies owner Charlie Monfort spoke at one of the first events, while the VP of Ticketing Sue Ann McClaren and COO Greg Feasel have also been extremely supportive of this day over the years. Chaplains, pitching coaches and radio announcer Jerry Schemmel have all shown themselves integral to the success of these events, including this year’s, which takes place July 29.
Bo Mitchell, the former Denver Nuggets chaplain who now serves as both the team chaplain and senior advisor for the Rockies, has been amazed by the eagerness players have to display the message of Christ to their fans and their teammates.
“Our guys are lifting each other up and reinforcing good things toward each other all the time,” Mitchell says. “I’ve never seen anything like it in all the years I’ve been in sports. It starts with people who want to be good teammates first, and then know that will lead to good performances on the field.”
Over the 14 years of Faith Day hosted by the Rockies, the team has only lost three times. And ticket sales have continued to rise — 800 fans joined the first Faith Day in 2005, but by 2009 that number grew to more than 20,000. Over the past few years, the game has consistently sold out on Faith Day. Not only have these days been deemed “wins” on the scoreboard, fans love coming to this annual event. The biggest struggle the team has run into is deciding to put on only one or two of these events each season.
Over the years, many Rockies players have told their stories of faith on the field, putting their gloves and bats away to share with fans. For most of them, public speaking feels as foreign as putting on a hockey mask. But any opportunity to spread the Gospel is one they won’t pass up.
— Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon living for Jesus at All-Star Game
— Pittsburgh’s Sean Rodriguez is in collision with God’s will
— Rain or shine, Faith Night prevails in Pittsburgh
— Gateway to Faith in St. Louis
— A Cardinal’s Perch to Preach – St. Louis Cardinals’ Christian Day at the Ballpark Event