Detroit Tigers Catcher, James McCann talks the Golden Glove, Mike Trout and his faith in Jesus

This week’s interview features Major League Baseball star James McCann. The Detroit catcher tells us his favourite thing about MLB and his testimony of coming to know God!

You had a good season with the Detroit Tigers last time out, on reflection were you guys happy?

From a team stand point we were the last team eliminated before the play offs, going out on the last day of the season. So obviously, we didn’t reach our goals there but we battled, faced a lot of adversity as a team and at the end of the season it turned out that there were a lot of things to learn from.

On a personal note though, being nominated for the Golden Glove, how pleased were you with that?

Yeah that was pretty special, to receive recognition for that and especially playing in my position, as a defensive catcher, that’s the biggest honour that you could have.

As a Catcher, you have a really demanding role in the team. Enjoy being a strategist and leader?

It is the one position on the field that is involved with every single play and you must know every pitcher on your staff inside and out. You also have to know the hitters that you are opposing but for me that is the greatest part of the game, the mental side and preparing before the game and then making adjustments in-game. I feel like the catcher has got to be the general on the field and that is something I take a lot of pride in, being a leader, whether that is vocally or leading by action.

Who is the best player that you have played against to date?

I think one of my teammates might be the best player that I have played with, that’s Miguel Cabrera. But if I must go with an opposing player then I would probably say Mike Trout of the Angels, there is nothing he cannot do. He can run, he can hit for power, he can hit for average, he can throw well, play well on defence. There are not many weaknesses in his game and that’s what makes him a special player.

Do you have any pre-match routines?
I have my routines as far as getting ready for the game is concerned but the one thing that I have to take a shower before I put on my clean uniform, I don’t know what it is but I just can’t be dirty whilst wearing a clean uniform. Every club has a shower so I am ok there!

What do you love most about Major League Baseball?
The biggest thing for me is that it is just a dream come true and when I look into the stands and I see little boys wearing their favourite players’ uniform and bringing a glove to the ball park, I just see myself in those kids and that is great for me. It’s knowing what an accomplishment it is to be there but also to remember the love for the game that I had as a kid. When I can go out there and play with that love and passion for baseball, that is the best thing.

You’ve represented Team USA, tell us about that experience.

That’s one of the highlights of my career, being able to represent your country and play for them, I hope to be able to at another point in time. It was definitely meaningful.

Tell us a bit about how you came to know God for yourself.

So when my mum was thirteen weeks pregnant, the doctors gave me a one percent chance of being born and they pretty much guaranteed that if I were to be born something would be wrong, physically or mentally. My parents placed their faith in God and here I am today. So part of my story is that God has been protecting me from the moment that I was conceived, it’s been very obvious in my life and I’ve always had him in my life. It wasn’t until college that I came to have a full understanding of what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus versus religion. As a young teenager, I got caught up in religion but then I came to the understanding that tomorrow my religion may be baseball, or deer hunting, but it’s my relationship with God that’s the most important. I have been growing in my walk every day since then.

How do you use the platform that God has given you to point others to him?

I am not someone who is going to try and get in your face and tell you what is right and what is wrong. I want to be someone that you can observe and say that there is something different about that guy, what does he have that I don’t? Once someone approaches you in that manner then you have them hooked and that’s how I try and live my life. There are a lot of things that I can try and do with the platform that God has given me but the first thing I try to do is share my story. God has given me such a powerful story, starting with my birth and then my journey to the big leagues. I cannot be shy about sharing that because it has profound impact on a lot of people.

The other thing that I try to do is make sure that I have time for other people, even if it is just for a couple of minutes if my busy day. I set aside two minutes for a boy who is standing on the side of the street as I drive away from the stadium, asking for an autograph, that may impact him for a lifetime. Whereas I may not remember it tomorrow, he will and it’s just about little things like that. I can go and speak at major events and do interviews, things that you see in the public eye but it’s those little things that go a long way.

Is it easy to strike the balance between living the a pro sportsman, high profile role and also living a life that glorifies God?

I think it is definitely tricky, Jesus himself said numerous times that it wouldn’t be easy and it’s very easy to get caught up with things of the world. Whether that be material things or temptation. That is why staying in the word is so important and surrounding yourself with other brothers and sisters in Christ, so that you can fight those things off together. At the end of the day when I sit back and reflect on where I am in my life, I know that God has given it all to me and he can take it away any minute. It is something that I take seriously, to follow the Lord and glorify his name through the talents that he has given me.

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