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As a reliever for the Minnesota Twins, Matt Capps has faced every emotion imaginable from the thrill of a game-ending strikeout to the agony of a blown save after giving up a home run blast.
But in this conversation with Inspiring Athletes, Capps talks about the greater purpose behind his career and how God’s Word helps him maintain a balanced approach to life in the big leagues:
Chad Bonham: How has your faith in God helped you deal with the up-and-down nature of baseball?
Matt Capps: My faith puts things in perspective. If I blow a save, I get pretty down about it, but it’s not the end of the world. The sun is going to come up tomorrow. I’m going to have air in my lungs tomorrow. My heart is going to be beating and we’re going to go do it again. We’re not playing for the fans. We’re playing for ourselves and we’re playing to glorify God. If I can get one kid to look at me with my hat off and my chin down, he might look at his mom or dad and say, ‘Hey, what is he doing out there?’ And explain to him, ‘Well, he must be a Christian.’ In that situation, I feel like I’ve served Him. Being on that stage, He’s blessed all of us with a great opportunity to show our beliefs and a great chance to spread the Word. If just one little kid sees me doing that and starts asking questions, then I feel like I’ve served a purpose. We can’t do this without Him. He’s the one who gave us the talent and gave us the ability and gave us the chance. Without Him, none of us would be here. People could walk across the street safely and say they couldn’t have done it without God and that would be absolutely true. A lot of people look up to us and want to do what we can do, but there’s a reason why He blessed us with the ability to play baseball. Do I know that reason? No. Am I grateful? Absolutely. But without Him, nothing is possible. He’s the sole reason we even exist.
Bonham: What do you feel like is your responsibility as a Christian athlete?
Capps: I’m not an in-you-face kind of guy. I respect the other guys’ beliefs, but if they want to talk about it, I’ll talk about it. I try to lead by example and do things the right way. I read different magazines in the clubhouse than the typical ones that are in there. I feel like that’s my biggest responsibility—leading by example.
There are a lot of people out there who worship sports and sports stars. It’s important for me to be able to go out and say, “It’s not about me.” Hopefully I can share than and change somebody’s perspective on what’s really going on. I consider myself pretty fortunate to be able to do that. Baseball has become a worldwide game. There are kids in Japan that are watching Major League Baseball. They see me face (Kosuke) Fukodome of the Cubs and they see me ask the Lord before I pitch for success and thanking Him for the opportunity. Now you’re talking about the whole world and not just the people in a stadium.
Bonham: How do you stay connected to the Christian community?
Capps: (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and Baseball Chapel are huge. There are so many negatives out there and so many different places for the devil to be and for the devil to sneak into your life. It’s good to have some community and Christian fellowship.
Bonham: What’s your favorite Bible verse?
Capps: Matthew 28:19-20. A lot of times when things are the toughest, you feel like you’re all alone. But later on you look back and realize that things turned out for the good. It makes you realize that there’s a reason behind everything.