Being in the middle of a pennant race during my second year in the major leagues has been incredible. I’ve been able to get some really good experience while still trying to let myself soak it all in and stay levelheaded at the same time.
When I’m on the mound, it would be easy to get swept away with the game, but it’s important that I don’t let my emotions get too high or too low. I try not to worry about what’s going on around me or let the pressure get to me. Instead, I focus on one pitch at a time. When it’s all said and done, I love going back into the clubhouse to evaluate how things went and celebrate the night’s successes with the rest of the team.
Playing in the major leagues is all I ever pictured it would be. I remember taking the field for the first time and experiencing all the butterflies to be expected. It’s overwhelming to see your baseball career coming full circle. The more I played with the team, the more it sank in that this really is the same game I’ve been playing my whole life; it’s my everyday reality. But it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been playing, nothing can take away the fact that I love the ballpark and I love this game. I always will.
No matter how much you love the game, though, baseball is a humbling profession. Now having found myself in the big leagues, I’m even more humbled by this incredible opportunity. I try not to get too wrapped up in it — the title, the status, the potential, etc. Often I need to take a step back to realize there’s a much bigger reason to play this game. I challenge myself daily to be mindful of the fact that I’m not playing for my own success, but for the glory of God.
Learning from my teammates has been a huge blessing to me. Adam Wainwright has been challenging me, encouraging me and teaching me a lot since day one. He makes sure I’m in line, keeping tabs on everything from my pitching techniques down to the shoes I’m wearing on the field. He has so much knowledge and experience, I just try to be a sponge and soak in as much of it as I can.
Whether we’re talking about the game, family or our faith in Christ, I like to hear what he’s learning and listening to. We’re able to hold each other accountable in this way. I get great recommendations for ways to grow my own maturity in the faith and I like to think that my asking him these questions regularly challenges him to be faithful in his growth as well. The best way for us to both grow is to keep the dialogue going and remain consistent in our walks with the Lord. That way we’re ready to give an answer for the hope we have to anyone at any given moment.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” — 1 Peter 3:15
Every time I take the mound I say a prayer to God, thanking Him for the opportunity to play and giving Him the glory for the day. I try to showcase Christ whenever I’m on the field, not only at the beginning of each inning but throughout the game. I don’t want the attention on me, I want others to see Christ through me. Even if it’s just during those 5-10 seconds before I begin pitching, people need to see a glimpse of the real reason I play. That’s why I’m here — to show and voice to others my reverence and faith in Christ Jesus.
When my baseball career is over I don’t want people to remember Luke Weaver for his stats, the records he may have broke or the pitches he made. I want people to think of a guy who went out every time and gave his best, knowing there’s a bigger thing in play. In baseball, your teammates will forget the awards you win, but they won’t forget a great teammate. You will be remembered by the impact you have on people, by the positive energy and life you bring to your team. I want to be a great teammate by displaying the love and hope of Christ through the game of baseball.
— Luke Weaver
Luke Weaver is a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals and a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
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