July 29, 2012

On Baseball: Faith and fastballs: It works for these Sea Dogs

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Josh Fields, a reliever for the Portland Sea Dogs, is one of several players open about their spiritual faith. “There is a real person behind that uniform,” says team chaplain Bob McClure.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Fields said several fellow believers have made his time with the Sea Dogs enjoyable. But he lauds the whole team.

"We got a pretty good group of guys here," Fields said. "Not a lot of guys who are just out for themselves. I think we have really good chemistry. Every team has cliques, but everyone gets along.

"Everyone is striving to get to the big leagues. But I feel everyone is enjoying their time here."

For players like Fields, Hissey and others, their character stems from their spiritual belief. Their tweets, including those of reliever Aaron Kurcz, are filled with scripture and inspirational sayings.

But there is also fun. Fields and Kurcz began a Twitter name -- @7MisFitToys -- representing the Portland bullpen (bunch of misfits, get it?). The tweets often shows pictures of random misfit toys they find, as well as other silliness. They have 785 followers to date. "Just something fun to do," Kurcz said.

Kurcz enjoys a laugh, but he is also intense, especially after a rough game when he's not making the pitches he's capable of.

"The toughest thing for me is a bad outing, and getting angry about it. I've been getting better about it," Kurcz said. "Of course, I don't want to go out there and do bad. I want to do the best I can. If I have a bad outing, sure I'm going to be mad about it. But I'm not going to dwell on it for a couple of days."

Players who take their belief in God seriously are not robots, nor are they less hungry to succeed, say the players.

"As I walk with my faith, the pressure of this sport has kind of been lifted," Hissey said. "My faith allows me to be more intense on the field and more focused."

And that brings us back to Fields, and his prayer to be an animal on the mound.

"I would agree that it doesn't matter to God if we win or lose out there, or whether I am successful in the eyes of men out on the field," Fields said. "In the light of eternity, it's not going to matter.

"(But) I love this game. I want to succeed. I want to be the best that ever played the game, just like everyone here. (My faith) allows me to focus more on task and be aggressive, and not get caught up in the moment and panic.

"I'm not successful every time out there. If I go down, I'm going to go down, doing my best and fighting as hard as I can."

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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