Toward the end of this baseball season, I was asked by the Nationals to come to the park for their Faith Day event. One of the guys on the team, who was going to lead it, was traded at the trade deadline, and therefore I was asked. And I was honored. Together with a couple current players on the field and Pastor David Platt, we were able to share the Gospel with fans in the ballpark.
We had an awesome turnout; so many people stayed after the game to hear what the players had to say. And it was really cool for me to watch a few of the guys I used to play with — to see their growth and how much they’ve changed in their boldness to share their faith in Christ. They were totally transparent and open in their love for Jesus!
I had the privilege of opening up the event and sharing a little bit about leaving the game of baseball and what that transition was like for me. I told everyone how awesome it’s been on the other side of things and how my platform has not gone away, but has changed. I think often we think of a platform as a big stage. Major League Baseball is a big stage from which one can share their testimony and impact others with the Gospel, and my platform seemed to shrink down quite a bit when I retired. I went from a professional baseball player to a high school coach.
But my platform on that field is just as important as the huge stage of MLB. The fact is, wherever we are stationed, we are still reaching one life for Christ at a time. We all have a platform, not just those who are in the spotlight. It may not be found on a baseball field, in front of a camera, or on the mission field in Africa, but it may be in your backyard.
What was really great to see is that the Nationals players who shared that day had no reservations or hesitations about where they stand in their faith. They didn’t make it to the playoffs this year, they may have fallen short, but they were enthusiastic to share about what’s really important to them. I know what it’s like to be in that role — where you get paid to win, with the chance to get up in front of fans, the club, the owner and everyone else who’s watching, to say that baseball is not everything to you. This is a really big step for any athlete. I love every time I get to hear this because this really takes courage for an athlete to do.
To be able to return to the field for Faith Day this year was really special for me. Back in 2012, Ian Desmond, Craig Stammen, a few others and I were able to be part of the very start of Faith Day at Nationals Park, and the team has done it every year since. It was a pretty big step for the organization, which is under Jewish ownership in the most powerful and political city in the country. The Lerner family, whom I love and still talk to, is an amazing family who boldly decided to give it a try that year.
To go out on a limb and try sharing the Gospel in the ballpark was a leap of faith, but one I’m so glad we all decided to do. And now, every year, there are many lives changed for eternity as a result.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.