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Baseball’s Kyle Gibson Makes a Pitch for Faith

Kyle Gibson doesn’t just make his pitch -- the Minnesota Twins starting pitcher targets the game inside the game – arming his heart, mind and emotion while the 6-year veteran takes the stage in baseball’s performance-based business! Gibson says, “From the time where I’m sitting at my locker when I’m listening to worship music, honestly, and really trying to make sure that my heart’s in the right spot! I always feel like that circle out its not who I am, its just part of what I’m here to do and I’m going to face a lot of situations throughout the game that if my heart’s not in the right spot – the decision I make is probably going to be a bad decision.”

Question: “You said for what you might face, do I then presume that’s anxiety? Is that fear? What are those things?”

Kyle: “Yeah, its all of the above! It’s a stressful situation where if you’re not prepared for it you can make the wrong decision pitch-wise. It could be maybe you have to show grace after an error in the field or you have to show a little bit of humility after a home run. You just want to make sure your heart and is are in the right spot.”                                                                     

Question: “Next to the arm, what is the most critical component to be a successful starting pitcher?”

Kyle: “If you talk to ten different people you might get ten different answers. You know I think the legs are important, I think the torso’s important. Over the last year and a half I really kind of feel like the mind is probably the next most important thing. You know you can feel as good as you want. You can physically be ready but when you get that mind right it just changes everything! You can have the confidence behind what you’re doing. And if I don’t have the confidence in the pitch I’m going to be throwing – ugh, I might as well not throw it!”                                                             

Question: “What do you think would surprise us the most?   

Kyle: “How sometimes its difficult to handle situations you can’t control! In this park in the summer obviously you can’t control which way the wind is blowing. And sometimes a routine fly ball to right becomes a home run. And sometimes a home run to left becomes a routine fly ball. So once you throw the ball you cant control if the umpire misses the call or gives you a call. Being able to handle those situations constantly – that you have no control over - is pretty tough.”     

Question: “Has that been helpful to you in your Christ following?”

Kyle: “In times, yeah, I think that the more you practice it the better you get at it. You know it’s really my love from Christ that helps me in those other situations. It’s the grace that He’s given me that allows me to hopefully show grace on the mound and do that in my relationship verses practicing it on the mound and taking it home.”                        

Question: “As soon as you release that ball, there is that surrender.”

Kyle: “Yeah! You have to be able to be ok sometimes with results that aren’t what you planned on. And one of ‘em is you can easily get caught up in numbers in this game. And it’s easy to look at yourself as an E.R.A or a strikeout total and kind of determine your worth.”

Question: “How’ve you been freed from that?”

Kyle:  “Oh wow, that’s a good question.  One of the lies, you know, that has been tough for me to get rid of but I’ve had to get rid of is – I can’t think of myself as an E.R.A or even a jersey number or anything like that because its just a lie! My identity is in Christ and it’s really my identity.  You have to be able to leave that lies behind! Because the more you start believing in those lies the less you’re going to actually believe in the truth about yourself.”

Question: “What’s the Christ-follower and elite competitor have in common?”

Kyle: “I think they can have everything in common! Paul’s one of my favorite guy’s to read from the Bible, just because of everything he went through. And he talked multi-times about running the race and everybody that runs the race is suppose to run the race to win. You complete it and if you’re completing a task from God. There was a couple times where I started showing a little more emotion on the field and this one talk I had with our GM and another one from our front office and they said, ‘listen we know you’re a man of faith and those things don’t have to separate’. I think they’re as intertwined as you want them to be! You know, walk off the mound and do everything with as much love as possible and sometimes having the little competitive edge isn’t a bad thing!”

Question: “When you sign, you will add a scripture. What is that scripture and why?

Kyle: “So Ephesians 2, 8 through 10 – as good a representation of the gospel and what I’m really trying to do in life as I found! “For it’s by grace you’ve been saved through faith, not of works so no one can boast. It’s a gift of God! We are God’s handiwork, created by Him to do the works that He set out in advance for us to do”. This is what I’m here to do. I’ve been put here to put this verse and to do the work that God has set out in advance for me to do!”

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