In 2016, Carter Hope desperately longed for freedom.
A 6-foot-3 pitching prospect who made his Arizona League debut three years earlier, he was still working toward a career with the Kansas City Royals. But he was also a user and abuser of drugs. Heroin and opiate addiction derailed him. As Rustin Dodd captured in a piece for The Athletic this week, he “would endure cravings so intense his skin crawled,” and “he would blow close to $500,000” on the substances he couldn’t escape.
Predictably, the Royals released him after evaluations that year.
“He wondered if anyone could still love him,” Dodd wrote.
Two years later, Hope has found hope, and he knows that someone can love him. And God is mostly to thank for it.
Still in “horrible shape” because of his drug use, Hope visited an Assembly of God Church in Oklahoma after seeking redemption, according to Dodd. From there, he began meeting regularly with small groups and then a family friend who had once mentored troubled children. Spiritual conversations ensued, and before long, Hope realized that his path to recovery aligned with a renewed pursuit of Jesus Christ.
“I built up a lot of guilt and shame from everything that I was doing,” he told Dodd. “And just to know that I was forgiven and God loved me right there where I was — that’s kind of the thought that I fall back on.”
As time went on, per Dodd, the once-promising Royals prospect became “more concerned about being a man of God and living a pure life” than anything else. And that’s a mentality he still carries.
The road was not easy. It probably still isn’t, considering Hope’s careful reflections on a life so seriously sidetracked by addiction. But now, as he moves forward with continued dreams of reaching Major League Baseball, the perspective is drastically different. There is hope beyond the struggles of his past. And it belongs in God.
Still just 23, Hope attended the Royals’ academic program near Phoenix in 2017, per Dodd, and left with “some of the best grades in the session.” That led to another shot at pro baseball in the form of a spring training invite, an opportunity with Kansas City’s Single-A affiliate, the Lexington Legends, and ultimately a spot with the Advanced-A Wilmington Blue Rocks. In 2018, Hope is 9-3 in 37 games between the Legends and Blue Rocks.
You can read the entire story from The Athletic here.
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