More from Jamey Carroll

More from Jamey Carroll

STV: What does your relationship with Christ look like during a game?

JC: A lot of times I try to figure out a situation and what can I learn from it. I’ve talked to a lot of people in the last few weeks just about how if you go out and fall on your face or if you go out and have a great game, you ask, “What is it that I’m supposed to learn from it?” And just to know that if I had a bad game it was for a particular reason. Maybe I was doing things on my own account and getting self-gratification instead of going out and playing for God and using my abilities the right way.

But then there are also many times when I sit back and try to see where God’s playing a role in the game and where I need to be doing my part that He’s put me in this situation for and just go out and play.

STV: You’ve said before that when you accepted Christ He became your hero. Explain what you meant by that.

JC: Christ became my hero based on who He was and what He went through. To know that somebody went through what He did on the cross for me thousands of years ago because He cared about me—how can you not look up to somebody like that? This guy sacrificed His own life, and through pain and agony, He provided a path for me to get to Heaven. How can I look at that guy and not try to walk in His steps every day?

You have athletes you look up to and want to play like, but how can you not look at somebody who died for you and think that that is who you want to be like every day? To me, that’s a hero.

STV: Did He replace any heroes that you’d had before?

JC: Obviously the guys I looked up to on the field are still heroes of mine—guys like Don Mattingly from the New York Yankees who is from my hometown of Evansville, Indiana. I always looked at him that if he, being from our area, could do it then it’s possible for me. But now I’m looking at God. He’s who, more than anyone, I revert back to and try to go to for wisdom and knowledge.

STV: You were 28 when you were called up to the Major Leagues after spending seven years in the minors. Did you ever think about quitting?

JC: Yeah, without a doubt. Actually the season I got called up I was offered a job at a high school where I was substitute teaching. I got offered a job to be the dean of students, and I hoped to get involved in the baseball program. And I contemplated whether or not it was time.
I didn’t play very well the year before, and I realized that I was 28. I thought that maybe this was the time to get on with life and that that was where I should go. But I decided to give it one more try.

I started that year on the disabled list and basically didn’t have a job. At that time I was thinking, “Did I make a mistake? Was I selfish in wanting to play baseball?” But just by going and playing and by finally getting an opportunity later that year I ended up in the Major Leagues and was extremely blessed to go through those experiences and to find out even more so who I was. I found out that you just keep going and try to stay in that moment and not look too far ahead and try to plan out everything because you can miss what’s going on.

STV: When you were called up in September of 2002 by the Expos, you were bounced around all over the infield as a utility player. Was it hard to stay focused being at that level for the first time and not having a consistent position?

JC: No, not really. Because I was actually home for a week in the season. I was going to be a six-year minor league free agent. I was home for a week already trying to plan for next year and what was going to happen and thinking, “Where am I going to be next year? Am I going to be back here?” You know, I didn’t have to worry about that. A guy got injured and they called me up because I was in Evansville, Ind., and they were in Chicago. And that’s how I got called up—because I was closest. They didn’t tell me that until about a year later. But knowing that, to me—you have a point and you have a goal, and obviously it doesn’t go the way you want it to, but if you stay faithful and try to walk in that light, then He rewards you, and He gets you where you need to go. But its on His time, and not on yours.

So I just went and I just played. I was thinking—I wasn’t in camp. I played with a lot of these guys in the minor leagues, and I had nothing to lose. I didn’t know where I was going to be after the three weeks of the season. I didn’t even expect to play, so I just went in there with nothing to lose and was just trying to have fun. And fortunately I was blessed to have a good couple of weeks.

STV: How do you view your role on the team from a spiritual standpoint?

JC: I was the chapel rep when I was with the Nationals last year, and for me, my role was to go in there and try to do what I could to be the light in the clubhouse, or to try to lead by example and be there for guys that were seeking answers. And to know that I could either try to answer their questions or lead them to someone who could. And hopefully guys could look at me and see Christ in me. Maybe in how I reacted to the game or just in who I was. And that’s what I try to do. I try to lead by example. But being thrown into the leadership role was a learning experience for me on how to be a leader and to go out and spread the Word and do the work that He wants us to do. It was a growing process for me over the last year big time as far as being that person. And whether I did a good job or not, I don’t know. But I wanted to be able to be seen in that light.

STV: You mentioned being a leader. What, in your opinion, does it take to be a spiritual leader?

JC: I think in being a spiritual leader, and for me in the clubhouse, it’s just your emotions and your responses and your attitude. And it's what you base everything on. I think that’s a spiritual leader. It's being there for somebody or giving somebody a pat on the back. It's knowing that it’s a game and that there’s going to be another one tomorrow. It's being that guy in the clubhouse that’s not going to look at you because you messed up, and who is going to come shake your hand the day you did something great. And then to have the focus of God behind that.

You do things like making it known that chapel is going on, and you let them know that you're there for them. If somebody just needs to chat or talk—you don’t even have to talk about God. They just need to know that you’re there for them, and that you’re a teammate more than just on the field—you’re a teammate off the field, too.

STV: Describe the day you met the chaplain in the parking lot to me and what was going through your mind at the time.

JC: That day we had a Sunday afternoon game, so we weren't taking batting practice on the field, and in Harrisburg you have to go across the parking lot to get to the cage. So I went and hit, and I was walking back through and saw a guy there. He asked me how I was doing, and I said that everything was going good. Baseball-wise things were going good, but personally there were some struggles. So I just flat-out lied to the guy and said, “Things are going great.” We talked for a few minutes, and I had a good conversation with the guy. Then I happened to walk into the clubhouse, and right at that time somebody yelled for chapel, so I decided to go give it a shot.
As soon as I walked out to the dugout where we were having chapel, I saw the guy I was talking to. He turned out to be the chapel leader. His message just hit home that day for some reason, and I realized that he had come across my path for a reason. His message that day made me realize that I needed something more in my life. That was the day I accepted Christ into my life.

STV: Did anybody lead you to the Lord, or just during the message did you pray?

JC: It was basically just during part of the message. But I also had been talking to some teammates about that stuff in general conversation. But that day I it hit me more than anything because of what I had talked to him about in the parking lot, and the fact that when I walked away, I knew that things were not where they should be. So, we just took it from there, and I’ve been trying to grow ever since.

STV: What is your purpose as a baseball player?

JC: I think it’s to go out and use the abilities that God has given me—to know that He’s given me this opportunity and that I’m here for His cause and His reason. And also to do what I can while I’m here, and to know that I’m walking with Him. My actions and reactions need to be godly reactions instead of the earthly ones, and that’s challenging. But anytime you want to succeed in something, and if there’s something that you really want to be a part of, it’s not going to be easy.