YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Eric Stults“Baseball is what we do, but it’s not who we are.”
Family is a huge part of who I am. Both my dad and my grandpa had a big impact on who I am today, teaching me the value of hard work and about the love of Christ. I ended up accepting Christ as my Savior when I was six during a summer Vacation Bible School program. However, it wasn't until my sophomore year of college at Bethel College that I recommitted my life to Christ.
I can remember it was a time I was searching a little more. I began to understand about having a relationship with Jesus, and it went to a deeper level. I rededicated my life to Christ and really understood that I was not doing this on my own. I realized Christ was in charge, and I needed Him.
Pretty soon after I graduated with my business degree, I got drafted by the LA Dodgers. They sent me to play for their Las Vegas team. I felt I grew a lot during my stays in Las Vegas. I had some of my toughest times in my career as far as being a baseball player. I grew in my relationship with God when realizing the numbers were not as important as my relationship to Him. I felt God was using me through the tough times.
After playing for the Dodgers for eight years, I was offered the opportunity to go and play in Japan for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japanese Central League in 2010. It was a big decision to make, both in terms of my career as well as financially. The trade was a huge blessing because I had kind of come to the conclusion that maybe my career in the U.S. might be coming to an end.
Overall, we really enjoyed it. It was a lot of travel that my family was able to experience with me, which does not happen in American baseball. Going to Japan was a big decision for us, but it’s been great. Being able to spend more time with my wife and kids was the best part of the whole experience.
I’m still in awe that I was able to come back after a year and keep playing. I was in my thirties, and this is my fourth year back. It’s a blessing that I’m able to continue my career in the USA. After Japan, my wife and I decided to just take things one year at a time.
Whenever I start to worry about what’s next, I look to Scripture to help me cope. I really like Deuteronomy 31:6, which says, “So be strong and courageous, don’t be afraid and do not panic before them, for the Lord your God will personally go with you, He will neither fail nor abandon you.”
At times I am anxious on the mound, and I look for Scripture to just be “strong and courageous.” I know God is with me, and He tells me not to be afraid. I will not find any situation on or off the field that He will not be with me. The Lord says He will never fail or abandon you. That beats the anxiety of failure.
I think that the important thing is being cautious because we can make an impact, and we have to look out for those opportunities. Whether it’s just with my teammates and being an encouragement to them or lifting them up when they have a bad game, I try to be careful that my actions on the field reflect what I believe and who Jesus is.
At the end of the day, I just try to remember that baseball is what we do, but it’s not who we are. It’s not the most important thing. The most important thing will always be God.