10 favorite baseball stories featuring members of Churches of Christ
I love baseball. I may have mentioned that once or twice…
ARLINGTON, Texas — On his frequent trips to the San Diego Padres’ international baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, Chad MacDonald usually takes along an extra suitcase.
It’s not because MacDonald, the Padres’ vice president and assistant general manager of player personnel, has trouble packing lightly.
“He fills it with shoes and flip-flops and things because the kids down there are playing baseball barefooted in the sticks and rocks,” said Doug Peters, senior minister for the 600-member North Davis Church of Christ, the North Texas congregation where MacDonald is active when he’s not on the road.
Minister Doug Peters, with Chad MacDonald and Caden MacDonald, after a Sunday morning assembly of the North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas. (PHOTO BY BOBBY ROSS JR.)MacDonald, 44, got his start as a batboy for his hometown Texas Rangers — who play not far from the North Davis church building — in the 1980s.
Now in his third season with the Padres and 22nd overall on a major-league payroll, the dedicated Christian characterizes his benevolence in Latin America as “no big deal.”
“That’s easy to do,” he told The Christian Chronicle. “I love my job, but I try to live out my faith, too. So when you see people in need, you’re there to help. I think that’s somewhere in the Bible.”
Two shoulder surgeries derailed MacDonald’s once-promising career as a pitcher.
While playing at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, he began dating his future wife, Julie, a student at Abilene Christian University.
An Arlington native like her husband, Julie MacDonald grew up in the North Davis church — the daughter and granddaughter of church elders — and served as the congregation’s first children’s minister.
Chad MacDonald’s office is in San Diego, but the family lives in Arlington.
Sons Caden, 13, and Cort, 10, both play youth baseball. Their father makes it to as many games as possible, but he misses more than he’d like.
“It’s a dream job, other than waking up early and going to the airport and missing time with family,” MacDonald said. “But it’s baseball. It’s a group of people trying to pull in one direction to get the big-league team to win. That’s exciting.”
His lofty goal: bring a first-ever World Series title to San Diego.
“Our pitching’s really good. We’ve got some frontline guys. We’ve got depth,” he said. “I think our bullpen will be good. And we hope to score some runs.”
He predicts a bounceback year for third baseman Chase Headley, who hit 31 home runs and led the National League with 115 RBIs in 2012. Headley dipped to 13 home runs and 50 RBIs last season.
MacDonald is hopeful, too, that outfielder Carlos Quentin, who began the season with his seventh career stint on the disabled list, can rebound from a left knee injury. If Quentin can stay healthy, he “has a chance to be really productive,” the assistant GM said.
Julie MacDonald“Chad’s got a real heart for people in the community,” said the preacher, who visited MacDonald at spring training in Arizona. “He’s always working with kids and doing things in our family life center with kids.”
Julie MacDonald said of her husband: “Anybody who’s been drafted by Chad knows he cares a lot about them. He’s in their homes and finding out about them.”
Chad MacDonald stresses that it’s his job to evaluate players’ baseball skills, talent and potential.
Will that guy ever be able to hit a curveball? What does the way that young man wears his uniform say about him? Is that batter afraid of the ball?
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