My friend Jeremy Affeldt, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, just celebrated his 35th birthday, which coincided with back to back wins on consecutive days. Jeremy has won two World Series Championships with the Giants and factored significantly in the titles. He was his team's 2011 nomination for the Roberto Clemente Award and was voted MLB Setup Man of the Year in 2009. Affeldt was also recognized for his anti-slavery efforts with a nomination for the Jefferson Award for Public Service. So far this year Jeremy is once again showing that he is one of the premiere relievers in the major leagues, pitching in 24 games with 19 strikeouts, 9 holds and a 1.71 ERA. And, I might add, the Giants are the hottest team in baseball with a 41-21 record.
All that to say, Jeremy is a better human being than he is a baseball player. Baseball player doesn't define Jeremy, his faith in Jesus Christ does.
That is the introduction to say, if your father hasn't read Jeremy's book To Stir aMovement,do something special for your father on Father's Day and give him this book. Then you can read it after he is done. It is interesting, inspiring and informative. Act now, and you will have it in time.
We have been able to work closely together to grow Something to Eat™ into something unique that not only provides food for those who are hungry but challenges young people to lean into the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 25.
The best part of this video is that it features Larisa, who is much better looking than Jeremy and the dynamos in their relationship.
On Baseball's Opening Day, Youthfront supporter, friend and associate Jeremy Affeldt
releases his first book taking readers off the field and into his life
story. The story of Jeremy’s relationship with our President Mike
and his involvement in our ministry, as well as details of his active
participation with Youthfront’s Something to Eat™ initiative are
featured prominently in the book. Expected to make multiple
best-seller lists, this book offers a compelling, page-turning story for
all readers. Another fan of Youthfront and five time Major League All
Star, Mike Sweeney says, “Jeremy Affeldt may be a two-time World Series
champion and one of the greatest left-handed relievers in major league
baseball but that is just the tip of the iceberg as to the man that he
is. As you will read in this book, Jeremy Affeldt is not defined by
baseball. He is defined and validated as a child and follower of the
most high God.”
Affeldt, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, tells of the ups and
downs of his life and major league career beginning with his childhood
spent in a military family, the impact his parents had on his life, and
his tumultuous high school years. Affeldt admits that he was often an
uncaring, self-centered athlete who was difficult for his parents and
teachers. So much so, that his dad kicked him out of the home on more
than one occasion. Although he attended a Christian school, Jeremy
wasn’t buying any of it until a series of events led him to see his need
After being kicked out of games and sitting the bench because of his
behaviors and his attitude, one of his coaches gave him books on
attitude and anger control as well as scriptures that Jeremy read mainly
so he wouldn’t have to watch the games from the stands. As the Bible
began to come alive for him, he was also influenced by God’s
transforming work in the life of another student who had been Jeremy’s
archenemy. That was the beginning of Jeremy’s close walk with Christ.
Jeremy Affeldt tells of his opportunities in baseball, his marriage
to his high school sweetheart and, of course, his success including two
World Series Championships – after many setbacks and injuries – in the
The book includes Jeremy Affedlt’s passion for social justice and his
humanitarian endeavors as he continues to use his time and finances to
do God’s work throughout the world. Available now, discover the side
of Jeremy that thrives off the field; the side that is passionate about
freeing the slave, feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty and
seeking justice for the oppressed.
My dear friend and ministry partner Jeremy Affeldt has had another amazing year. He pitched 10 innings in postseason play, with 10 strikeouts and no earned runs contributing to the San Francisco Giants second World Series Championship in two years. Recently, Youthfront partnered with Generation Alive and AbleWorks to package 100,000 Something to Eat meals in East Palo Alto. Check out this TV interview.
Jeremy writes about it (To Stir a Movement);
If you watched Saturday’s video, you’ll know that we had a Something to Eat
event in early December. It was a huge deal for me. It was hard to be
away from my family, and hard for my wife since she was alone with our
three little boys. But I asked God, and God covered us, man. Her parents
came to help, and she flew in to see me.
We had over 400 kids packaging meals that day, to send to Haiti,
Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. We held the event at Cesar Chavez
Middle School, in East Palo Alto. The kids were middle school and high
school age, plus there were some families that came in with their kids
and volunteered to help. We had kids from the College Track program too. We had a whole spectrum. It was really cool.
There were four or five shootings just in the last month in East Palo
Alto, and nineteen murders on the year. It’s a very high gang area. And
so we saw something awesome that day. We saw these kids come out and
show that they still want to love somebody. They showed that they want
to find joy in something. This was Jesus.
had so many people show up that wanted to help, that we couldn’t even
put everyone to work. So we asked the kids, “Who wants to take a break?”
We had over 400 kids there, and not one of them wanted a break. Nobody
volunteered to leave. So we had to have some of the adults step out,
because not a single kid volunteered to take a break.
That is a fulfilling thing! One of the captains in the East Palo Alto
Police Department came in to check out the event, and he told us, “This
is unheard of in this community. This is not normal, what these kids
are doing. This is awesome.”
That’s fulfillment for me. That’s part of the smile that I crave from
God every day, and I felt it, because I didn’t do anything! I talked to
the kids, I encouraged the kids, I helped out a little bit, but those
kids did everything. I didn’t package any meals. Maybe I helped out a
bit where I was needed, but these kids did the work, man, and they did
it with joy. They had fun. I saw the smiles on their faces. I saw
encouragement. What an awesome opportunity for these kids! I was just so
thankful for it. And the community came together, and adults came in to
hang out with these kids. I was so excited to see that. That’s what
it’s all about.
I was fulfilled because I got to see 400+ kids package 100,000 meals
and realize that they love like Jesus. They used unconditional love.
They loved their neighbor as themselves. They fed people they’ve never
seen before, and probably never will see, people from Haiti and
Dominican Republic and Guatemala that they worked all day packaging food
for. And they did it because they said, “We want to help people who are
hungry.” Yes. It was Jesus.
Right now is the second best time of the year, if you are a true baseball fan (unless your team is actually playing in the World Series, in which case it's the best time of the year, GO GIANTS). For most, the best time of the year is Spring Training when all have hope for a future that involves your team winning a World Series pennant.
My friend, Ethan Bryan, has written a book that captures the hope of Spring Training but deepens this hope for all. A hope in life and faith that goes way beyond the joy of your team winning the World Series.
From the Back Cover, "What can baseball teach us about living in the way of Jesus? Can going
to a baseball game be an exercise in spiritual formation? Run Home & Take a Bow shares
twenty insightful stories of the intersection of baseball and faith.
Grab a Dr Pepper and your glove and enjoy the journey."
Here's what people, including me, are saying about Run Home and Take a Bow:
Every baseball fan knows
the ballpark invites solitude, contrition, human solidarity, joy, and
enlightenment. Sit with baseball contemplative Ethan Bryan as he opens up the
simple truth of human living through one season with the Kansas City Royals.
Bryan’s heartfelt stories will call you back to the touchstones that give life
meaning—faith, family, gratitude, persistence, and play.
Director of the Center for Engaged Compassion
Author of Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers.
book is as life giving as Opening Day and it’s as sensory as pounding your
glove and smelling the leather. If you are passionate about baseball
you will love this book. If you are not a baseball fan, just a lover of
great stories then read this book and you will be inspired, but beware, you
might just become a baseball fan.
President of Youthfront
Author and Editor of Immerse Journal
a big sports fan, and care little about the K.C. Royals, and I loved this book!
You will too, I'm sure. Just a few pages in, you just know that
Ethan Bryan is a truly good man, a caring dad, a fine writer, and a great
storyteller. His childlike joy in his beloved game is a delight to behold
and along the way you will meet some true athletic heros, from Hall of Fame
stars to historic sports writers and some memorably diehard fans. And
there is a caste of characters unrelated to the game, from Mike the Theologian
and Chick-fil-A Jake to Bryan's sweet baseball-loving daughters, not to mention
bunches of Bible guys, drawn vividly from the pages of Holy Scripture as
they are set alongside the boys of summer. This is light reading that
pitches some serious life lessons, is as entertaining as peanuts during the 7th
inning stretch and, like a last-ditch homer in the bottom of the 9th, has you
on your feet, leaving truly inspired. Take a bow, Ethan, author and
Owner, Hearts & Minds Books
been taught not to talk about politics and religion in polite company, two of
the three most interesting things in life worth talking about. So thank God for
baseball. And thank God for Ethan Bryan's reflections on life, faith,
friendship, and the greatest game ever invented.
Senior Pastor of Brentwood Christian Church in Springfield, MO
Author of Preaching After God
I was exchanging texts with Mike Sweeney this morning at The Filling Station when ESPN highlights of an interview with Mike popped on the coffee shop TV. I texted him to congratulate him for making the playoffs with the Philadelphia Phillies. Mike, a five-time All Star, played most of his career with the Kansas City Royals. Mike became a friend and supporter of Youthfront. Mike loves youth ministry so we had a lot in common. After 14 seasons in the Major Leagues, Sweeney is finally going to the playoffs. I'm so happy for him. Mike is one of the nicest human beings to ever play MLB. Tonight the SF Giants are going to reduce their magic number to 3. I'd love to see the Giants and the Phillies slug it out for the National League Title. I will root for Sweeney but I will be pulling for Affeldt and the Giants to win it. Here is a picture of Roy Halliday, Mike Sweeney, Brian Schneider and Ben Francisco celebrating after clinching the National League east title last night.
Every year during
this time I carry my baseball glove and a baseball with me in my car for
several reasons. The biggest
reason I carry it is to remember the significant role baseball has played in my life. I grew up playing baseball. Every summer day was a day full of
neighborhood baseball games. We even kept
our statistics – hits and homeruns mostly.
I waited for my dad to get home to play catch, he hated it when I would
show boat my throwing style and launch it over his head. He was also my coach in little
league. Nothing was worse than the
threat of rain. Rainouts were
dreaded. I had my rituals,
stuffing up to two full sticks of bazooka bubble gum in my mouth. When I say "two sticks" I’m talking about
the giant tootsie roll shaped size that bazooka used to come in. My glove was a prized possession, I
even slept with it at times. I
carry my glove during this time of the year to pick it up and remember all it represents. There are very few smells as appealing
to me than a leather baseball glove.
I remember watching the movie For Love of the Game starring Kevin
Costner with my wife the day it opened in 1999. There’s a scene where Costner picks up a glove, with his eyes glued
on it, he pounds his fist in the glove two times and paused. I whispered spontaneously to my wife,
“he’s going to smell his glove.”
On cue Costner buried his face in his glove and inhaled deeply. Vicki just stared at me with a “what is that about” look. I carry my glove around because there
might be an opportunity to play catch with someone I love which I did on Easter
Sunday with my daughter Jessica (who throws like a girl), my son Daniel, and my
granddaughter Lexi. Ahhhh,
baseball, I love this time of year.
I watched my Royals yesterday play a great opening day game until American League Cy Young winner Zack Grienke came out of the game only to have his win ruined by the bullpen pitching. I watched my other team, the Giants on ESPN, dominate the Astro's, hoping my friend Jeremy Affeldt would come it to pitch but at the same time encouraged that he might not need to because of how dominate National League Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was. Baseball is back. We have really good seats for Friday night's game when the Red Sox come to town. It's going to be a great week.
All of this was meant
to be a little intro to the article by Eric Miller featured in Books and
Culture called The Republic of Baseball:
Just a Business? The article
begins with some remincising about the romance of baseball and it got me all
distracted with a time of remembering my story of baseball. Anyway, here are a couple of excerpts;
are those, writes Charles Fountain, 'who see baseball as succor to the
soul, a spirit that binds eras and generations.' To say the least.
In early 20th-century
Puerto Rico, 'baseball was what fisherman thought about when they cast
their lines and farmers when they harvested sugar cane,' writes Larry Tye
in his biography of Satchel Paige. Richard Peterson remembers true love in
rough and dirty midcentury Pittsburgh:
My buddies and I played baseball every day, beginning
in the cold, soggy spring, through the dog days of summer, until the chilly fall
rains turned our fields of dreams into mud. With neighborhood rivalries and
individual pride at stake, we played a punishing, reckless brand of baseball
that often went beyond a love of the game itself… I lived for those games and couldn't imagine what I would do
with my life if I didn't play some day for the Pirates."
The article concludes with
this great paragraph,
“All fans know that three
words, whether spoken by villains or saints, kill the spirit of whatever sport
of which they're said: It's a business.
Baseball is not a business, any more than is marriage, or teaching first grade,
or playing four-square. If we want to raise boys and girls who will come, like
the aging Satchel Paige, to preach "the sanctity of the double steal and
the blessedness of the bunt," we will find ways to preserve and protect
this treasure. And chances are, if our children learn to feel the sanctity of
the double steal, they'll come to know other realms of sanctity, too—and
perhaps gain the courage to construct ways of guarding them.”
My friend Jeremy Affeldt was interviewed about his nomination for the Jefferson Award, his amazing season last year with the Giants and his passion for Youth Ministry and Justice work. I am so proud of the way Jeremy and Larisa represent Christ in such a compelling way. Here is the first part of the article.
Jeremy Affeldt, relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, had an
outstanding 2009 season, posting a miniscule 1.73 ERA, holding batters
to a .197 average, and maintaining a 28-inning scoreless streak from
May 8 to July 24. His role in the Giants' unanticipated bid for the
National League Wild Card earned him a nomination for the league's MVP
award, and fans voted him This Year in Baseball's "Setup Man of the
Year." Affeldt was, by any reckoning, major league baseball's best
relief pitcher in 2009.
Affeldt's dazzling success on the mound was matched by the nomination he received for the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Nominated for his work with the anti-slavery Not For Sale Campaign,
Affeldt also donates much of his time and energy to the Christian
charities Feed the Hunger and Living Waters International, and probably
some other charities too. Affeldt isn't one to talk about himself.
But give him the opportunity to talk about young people or about Jesus,
and the floodgates open. We sat down at the start of spring training
to discuss faith and philanthropy.
I'd like to begin by asking, how did you get involved with the Not For Sale Campaign?
Well, that was kind of interesting. I was talking with Mike King, who runs a youth ministry in Kansas City called Youthfront, and through that the Feed the Hunger
campaign. We send food to Africa, and we've been sending it to Haiti
recently. Young people help out. They package the meals, and it's
about 20 cents a meal, so they raise money too. It's youth-oriented,
helping young people to be aware of global poverty issues.
That has been my heart's pride, that young people, especially this
new generation of people 14 or 15 years old to about 26, are really
coming to understand a little bit more about global poverty and
slavery. So we do a lot of stuff with young people in that area.
I told Mike I'd read an article about human trafficking. I didn't
really realize it was that big of an issue. I knew a bit about the
prostitution stuff, but probably a lot of people think prostitution is
a voluntary act, you know? And so, I was oblivious to some of it, and
he suggested I get together with a guy named Dave Batstone and his groupNot for Sale, a phenomenal group that just started out but was already really advanced. And so I Googled it that night.
I really like political cartoons. This isn't a political cartoon so I call it a LIFE cartoon. It was on Scot McKnight's (who has a FANactical baseball passion) blog and it makes such a powerful statement on integrity and life.