Coming into the season, one of the more intriguing storylines around Major League Baseball was the newly formed Miami Marlins. They got a new stadium, a new manager, and brought in some big money free-agent signings in shortstop Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell, and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle.
As we are in the All-Star Break of the baseball season, Miami has gone through many ups and downs. Some of those include manager Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Fidel Castro, their winning record in May, and Bell’s six blown saves in the first half.
For this interview, I wanted to hear from someone in the organization to reflect on their faith and the Miami Marlins. I reached out to set up man Steve Cishek. Cishek has been in the Major Leagues for two seasons and the 26-year-old righty has had the best season of his career so far
In the first half, he went 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA and one save. In 37.1 innings, he had a 2:1 K:BB ratio and only gave up nine earned runs. This includes a 0.56 ERA in the month of July so far. He is unique with his sidearm delivery, but his faith is what makes him a unique individual off the field.
This is my Q+A with Steve that we did a couple of weeks ago:
1. How did you come to know the Lord?
Steve: When I went to Carson-Newman college (Baptist School) I was introduced to FCA and those people that worshipped every tuesday showed me an amazing deal I was missing out on. I was shown through a friend that since I do not have Jesus I can’t make it into heaven and she and one of my team mates brought me to FCA and eventually helped me pray for forgiveness.
2. Who have been some Christian role models on and off the field for you during your walk with Christ?
S: Definitely one of my best friends, A.J. Battisto who is one of the strongest Christians I know. He is rehabbing an injury for the marlins. Also Chris Coghlan has been very encouraging and we have had some great studies together. Our chaplain Chris Lane is also amazing. He takes time to drive 40 minutes out of his way to teach us and guide us in the word for Bible Studies and Sunday Chapel services.
3. What is your favorite Bible Verse? Why and how has it exemplified your walk?
S: Colossians 3:23. I carry it in my back pocket when I pitch every game. It reminds me that when I am pitching, I can’t pitch to impress our coaches of staff or any team mates. I’m working for God’s glory. With good outings or bad outings he doesn’t care how I pitch. No matter what He loves me. So it takes an enormous amount of pressure off me to perform for a crowd or coaches. And good outing or terrible outing I always thank the Lord for what he has done in my life and for allowing for me to play baseball.
4. Do you feel religion and sports can co-exist today? Talk about the fellowship you have had in the clubhouse whether its with the Miami Marlins or in the minor leagues
S: Christianity and sports can co-exist yes. As ball players we have an amazing platform to be an example of Christian faith. People are always seeing what we do and if we live it out people notice and ask. It is a great platform to share our faith and what Jesus has done for us. The only tough thing is no one is perfect, and since fans watch our every move we sometimes fail, so we need to be careful.
5. If a teammate or coach came up to you wanting to know about your faith, what would you tell them?
S: I would tell them I am a Christian and if they had the time I’d share the gospel with them.
6. How has the first year been in Miami for you guys so far?
S: It has been a blessing. I love the stadium, minus the Cleavender haha. But it is a great atmosphere and a beautiful park. Also Miami is a great city and living here has been great.
7. Talk about what it is like playing for a manager like Ozzie Guillen .
S: It is great. He is everything you want in a coach. He has our backs, and he loves family. When you aren’t performing to his expectations he lets you know it. And he likes to keep it light. We play hard for Him because we know he demands it from us and I hope that will never change. He has been great for the team.
We at Jesus N Sports wish Mr. Cishek best of luck going forward and continue to pray for his walk with the Lord and pray for the Miami Marlins to play the best they can in the 2nd half as well as glorifying the Lord Jesus on and off the field.
You can follow Steve on Twitter: @srSHREK31