Spring 2021 Magazine

Christ-following umpire Chris Guccione returns for his second World Series

After four years, MLB umpire Chris Guccione is back in the Fall Classic. He is among the crew calling the first-ever neutral site World Series in Arlington, Texas, between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Guccione began the Series at second base during Tuesday’s Game 1, an 8-3 victory for the Dodgers; rotated to first base for Wednesday’s 6-4 Rays win; and will be taking the day off for Game 3 on Friday. He is scheduled to be behind the plate in Game 4.

The 2020 World Series is the second that the 46-year-old has umpired since he made his major-league debut in 2000 and his playoffs debut in 2010. The other World Series was in 2016, a memorable and historic four-games-to-three victory for the Chicago Cubs (their first since 1908).

Guccione was last in the national headlines in the summer of 2019 — not for his umpiring on the diamond, but for his kindness off of it. After he heard about a nasty youth-league brawl that broke out among the adults at an elementary school in his home state of Colorado, he decided to do something for the game’s 13-year-old umpire, Josh Cordova.

Guccione was in the area to serve as an umpire for a weekend series between the Rockies and Dodgers, and had the idea to invite Cordova and his immediate family to a game as honored guests. Cordova was on the field for opening lineups, received a new chest protector and even had the opportunity to ask the veteran MLB umpire a few questions.

“It means so much,” Cordova told TheDenverChannel.com. “I’m so appreciative of what he’s done. It’s surreal.”

Guccione’s concern for the well-being of others stems from his own relationship with God. He detailed his incredible journey of faith during an October 2018 episode of the Sports Spectrum Podcast.

Guccione explained how he came to faith back in 2011, when fellow umpire Mark Wegner invited him to church one day. Then he came back for another service, and another. Slowly, he began to realize that a life not rooted in Christ would only lead to death and destruction. One Sunday in particular, God was at work in his heart.

“I went to church by myself and I just got down on my knees after the church service,” Guccione said. “I sat there and said, ‘Jesus, I’m sorry. I’m a sinner and I want you in my life.’ I walked out of church and … I know the angels were singing in Heaven.”

Guccione told ESPN The Magazine in 2014, “There’s just a feeling of ease now, when you realize there’s something so much bigger than what you feel is the biggest thing in your life — something so much more grand.”

So as he takes his position behind home plate in his next appearance for Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday, Guccione knows he is freely accepted by God no matter how he performs.

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