Arts, Media, and Entertainment

The Rockies’ Way

Since entering the Major Leagues in 1993, the Colorado Rockies have made the playoffs only once. Last year, they had the second-worst record in Major League baseball, and the previous few seasons were not much better. It’s clear that things had to change, starting with getting better ballplayers. But what makes the Rockies different from other baseball franchises is how the Rockies define better. Obviously, the Rockies’ primary concern, like everybody else’s, is with the player’s performance on the field. There’s no escaping the importance of hitting, pitching, and fielding. However, CEO Charlie Monfort and General Manager Dan O’Dowd don’t stop there. They have made the Rockies one of the few major league franchises organized on specifically Christian principles. As O’Dowd told USA Today, “We try to do the best job we can to get people with the right sense of moral values . . .” To that end, prospective Rockies are interviewed to see if they are compatible with the Rockies’ approach. Once players join the Rockies they put them in an environment that reinforces those values. “Quotes from Scripture are posted in the weight room. Chapel service is packed on Sundays. Prayer and fellowship groups each Tuesday are well-attended. It’s not unusual for the front office executives to pray together.” And you won’t find pornographic magazines or music with obscene lyrics in the clubhouse. Now don’t think the Rockies only sign Christian players or that non-Christians on the team are under pressure to become Christians. O’Dowd says, “I know some of the guys who are Christians, but I can’t tell you who is and who isn’t.” If you’re wondering why you have not heard about the “Rockies’ Way,” it’s because they want it that way. The USA Today article was the first time the team had publicly discussed their attempt to build a Christian-influenced franchise. As O’Dowd told USA Today, “The last thing we want to do is offend anyone because of our beliefs.” That’s probably inevitable, however, since Christianity, with its specific truth claims, goes against the grain of our culture. It doesn’t matter that, as several Rockies told USA Today, “Nobody is going to push their beliefs on each other or make judgments” in the locker room. Nor does it matter that the Rockies aren’t saying that you have to be a Christian to have a good character. For critics, such as a well-known ESPN commentator, what matters is that non-Christians may feel“excluded.” Oh, come on. Remember these same critics regularly report on the crimes and misdemeanors of professional athletes. And remember that the most cherished record in sports may eventually be broken by a man whom everyone believes cheated and broke the law to do it. Against that backdrop, professional sports need all the Rockies and Albert Pujols—the Cardinals’ slugger—that it can get. It needs reminders that it’s possible to excel both as a player and as a human being. It needs the kind of examples that Christians are called to provide. I’m a die-hard, longsuffering Red Sox fan, but from now on, I’ll be secretly cheering on the Rockies. There are some things “better” than batting average.


Chuck Colson



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