CMR's Freeway Series: Angels v. Dodgers Pt.2
Mandy Catto: Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.
Chris Grace: Well, it's good to be back, Tim, on another podcast with you. We have some guests today that are just special and that have been with us before, and are continuing with us. And it's the chaplain of the Dodgers and the chaplain of the Angels. We're just grateful to have you guys with us.
Jack Grogger: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Brandon Cash: Thanks for having us.
Tim Muehlhoff: We're baseball geeks. You played baseball, right, Chris? You played college baseball.
Chris Grace: Well, I was out for a team. You would probably... negligible the number of times I actually got to play in college. So let's say I played high school and let's call it that. Yeah, for a little while.
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, that's great, man.
Chris Grace: And, you guys, for joining us on our podcast, last time we were able to talk about the way in which athletes, in particular in baseball, have had in some respects the benefit of having you guys there and a culture that allows for conversations, that even allows chaplains in the room. You can self identify as a Christian and say, "And this is important to me," athletes come alongside, and the organizations give you space, and time, and access. That's pretty cool.
One of the things then that I guess we'd like to continue talking about is, what are some things that you have seen over time, that will speak to our audience and some of these people that are just very busy. The husband or the wife are off making a lot of money and spending a lot of time in their professions. Then they come home and they have very little to give. I think athletes, in your case, are the epitome of very busy people. How do we navigate that as Christian men and women, coming home after busy lives? Sometimes two in the family, right? Both are doing that. Now you add in children.
I know what it's like, we all do. We come home, it's a busy time, and you don't have the bandwidth or the energy to invest in that, which you know you need to be doing. Then the guilt comes in, and shame and then resentment. You guys are now facing that on a regular basis, so let's talk about that. Tim?
Tim Muehlhoff: It reminds me of an acronym. I was just at a marriage conference and a guy came up and said, "Have you heard the acronym TINS?" I was like, "No." He goes, "Two Incomes No Sex." Which just means we are so tired and don't see each other. We're just frazzled at the end of the day. You add kids-
Brandon Cash: That's interesting. I was just going to say DOINKS. Have you heard of that one?
Tim Muehlhoff: No.
Brandon Cash: Double Income No Kids. I think, because of the busyness and the no sex, we're not getting any kids. So we have that dynamic, at least, you know, in Los Angeles County, Orange County. These upper-income, white collar neighborhoods.
Chris Grace: Are athletes, Angels, Dodgers, and others putting off children because of that or?-
Jack Grogger: To a certain degree, I would say yeah.
Brandon Cash: It's funny, I've seen both though.
Jack Grogger: I've seen both sides of it, but I think that there's also wisdom at times for some to put it off. They're just not ready. It is brutally hard on the wife. Like I said before, she's left behind as they're traveling, she's got a newborn, she's in a new city, doesn't know anybody, and now she's got a baby that might be sick with the flu. So she's trying to navigate all this stuff.
Brandon Cash: Or she gets the flu.
Jack Grogger: Or she gets the flu, then she doesn't have the support to help her. So it makes it a real struggle.
Chris Grace: And both of your wives partner with you guys in this ministry.
Brandon Cash: Yeah, we kind of touch on it a little bit. But I think with all that you do, Jack, and the hats that I wear, I tell my students, you know at Talbot as we're raising up pastors, that other than choosing Jesus, the most important decision they'll make with regard to ministry is who they marry.
Tim Muehlhoff: Oh my goodness, yes. Absolutely.
Brandon Cash: I had never felt like my pastoring or chaplaining was competing with my marriage.
Tim Muehlhoff: That's great.
Brandon Cash: Like my wife is just so supportive of that and sees it as our ministry, that I would imagine how hard that would be for that to be a competition between the two.
Chris Grace: So you're a busy person out there, you are looking at a career, and now you're also dating. What would you recommend to this young couple or young person, male or female, as they're looking to find somebody like the ones you married and the ones we married, who we partner together. There are things that you look for, characteristics, right? You're probably teaching pastors, you're teaching others in your church as a pastor, firefighters, and others-
Brandon Cash: I've heard, but isn't the divorce rate among firefighters and police officers pretty comparable to pro athletes?
Jack Grogger: Yeah, it's pretty high.
Tim Muehlhoff: What's the divorce rate among pro athletes? I don't know what that is.
Jack Grogger: I don't even know the statistics... it's higher than... well the national average statistic-
Tim Muehlhoff: We deal with that. The 50 percent thing.
Chris Grace: In the 30s, that's probably... most people will probably identify somewhere in the low 30s as the overall divorce rate in this country right now. My guess is athletes-
Brandon Cash: The last I heard from baseball it was much higher than that-
Chris Grace: Much higher
Jack Grogger: But, at the bottom line, it's higher than it used to be. That's all that matters, right? We're seeing a trend. So, regardless of the stat, we're seeing a trend. I think to answer your question about finding that mate, is that you know, when I go to the stadium on Sunday and we meet in a media room and we have, what we call player reps. Guys that we make contact with during the week, to set-up the time for chapel on Sunday. Every team has one, there is a player or two.
What amazes me, is that if you really think about it, these guys are, they're in their locker rooms, which is basically like a big fraternity room. They've got pool tables, and games, and TVs and food, and it's comfortable for them, and couches. They literally, get up and they leave that and come walking into where I'm at, and they listen to me do a chapel for 10 to 15 minutes. That always moves me because I have to ask myself, honestly, "If I was in their shoes would I do the same thing?" Even growing up in a Christian home, would I leave that environment?
So there's a couple of things they have to do. They have to get up and leave, which means those that don't go to chapel are seeing them leave to go to chapel. The coaches are seeing them go to chapel. The coaches may not be believers themselves. Is that going to equate to them not getting playing time because a coach doesn't like those that go to chapel? There's a lot of little nuances in this culture. But, at the end of the day, what it shows me is, and what it speaks, and what I remind them is in order to have success in our Christian walk, is that Jesus is more important than anything. They're just exemplifying that by coming to chapel. What they're saying to everybody in that locker room, the coaches, the owners, the GM, everybody, "Jesus is more important than baseball right now. I'm going to go listen about Jesus". That's a big step.
Brandon Cash: We don't use names typically, but it just happens that the two biggest stars on our teams are... his player rep is Albert Pujols, my player rep is Clayton Kershaw and that helps. Along the same lines with that story, I remember, I think it was 2014, Clayton won the MVP and the Cy Young Award, and we're getting ready to start the playoffs. I think it was September sometime and Clayton got Man of the Year for a very big periodical. But, to do that he was going to have to give them like two days, four hours each day for a photo shoot and interview and that kind of stuff. So, he turned it down. He said, "Baseball's more important. We've got this". He was telling me this at bible study. Every week, he's giving me an hour for bible study and then 15 minutes for chapel. I had that same thought, like "I don't know if I would be as committed as these guys are to do that".
But, it gets back to what you said about marriage. Having a spouse who shares that fundamental value I think is the key.
Tim Muehlhoff: So, I have three boys. They all played sports. It started off in junior high, then went to high school, and all that kind of stuff. I read a book called The Mind of a Fighter. This is a guy that went out, he's a journalist, and he interviewed boxing managers. He interviewed coaching managers of every different sport. He says, "Okay so what separates the elite?" He came up with a couple of different things. It's fascinating. One of the things he said, Usually the person has some sort of freakish ability. It's LeBron's hands, it's Barry Bond's ability to see the rotation of the ball, right? Usually, it's something like that.
But, this is what he said that we struggle with as parents. He said, "Listen, two things separated these guys. One, they absolutely hated losing, it was not tolerated, and you had a coach who supported it". He said, "You take those three things, freakish ability, they despise losing, and you have a coach who absolutely supports that environment. Like, 'Hey, we don't lose here'. So, I immediately thought to myself about my three boys and then we just cursed our three boys because I'm not instilling that into my three boys. I want them to learn how to lose graciously.
What is the fine line, our listeners, who are parents to say, "Yeah, I have a son or a daughter who I think is good. But, how do I put that fire in the belly in a way that's not going to screw them up in life?" What's the balance there? How do you navigate that?
Jack Grogger: We have two boys, one just graduated college, one is in high school. You know, with the chaplaincy of the Angels for so long I saw my boys playing little league. So, what I would do because I knew the game, is and I didn't want to pressure them. I'd actually go in the outfield and sit by myself. Then, that way I wasn't the parent behind the home plate yelling, chirping, kind of over the top.
Brandon Cash: Yeah, after he'd been kicked out.
Jack Grogger: Yeah, and that's why I got kicked out. No, no-
Chris Grace: We put him in the outfield-
Jack Grogger: No, I never got kicked out. But, I just knew myself and being around professional athletes there is the freakish thing that somebody has, God-given talent. I'll use Albert as an example. If you look at his story, he was supposed to go really high in the draft. Like one, or two, or three, somewhere really, really high. Well, he didn't go till way deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, hundreds deep into the draft and it infuriated him. Till this day, his testimony is that is why he has excelled so well, is because he wanted to prove everybody wrong. So, that's the one thing for him, that has been his driving force of like "Look I didn't go where I thought I should go. I went deep in the draft and I'm going to prove everybody wrong".
That was kind of his drive. But, to the parents that are out there, if you try to play that sport through your child, your child is going to resent that sport. So, you've got to throttle back, let somebody else speak into your child, whether it's a trainer, a coach let them. Our job is to put things around our children to help them excel, finding the right pitching coach, finding the right batting coach, finding the right team, the right league, and then financially making that commitment behind your child. That's usually what is the best.
Brandon Cash: You're out in the outfield, but you're watching everything and you have a certain skill level to know to see... my kids would always laugh. I was a high school wrestler. They would say, "Dad you were a wrestler, I play basketball." It's like hey!
Brandon Cash: In high school I was on the wrestling team and we had t-shirts that said, "Better to have wrestled and lost, then play basketball".
Tim Muehlhoff: They would laugh because I didn't, I'm not a good basketball player, right. I did play high school football. But, you know what to look for. So, after the game what's the balance of saying, "Hey son come here a second. Here's, listen to me, I know what I'm talking about-
Brandon Cash: I would imagine Albert's the same way, but nobody hates losing more than Clayton Kershaw. But, Clayton Kershaw leaves it between the lines. He doesn't... That's another thing. When you guys fail miserably at your job, do you have to face reporters 10 minutes later?
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, this podcast.
Chris Grace: Every once in a while an email that you guys get?
Brandon Cash: There is a maturity to have to do that, that I think is really underrated and underappreciated.
Jack Grogger: Yeah, speak to your failures on a public platform.
Chris Grace: I just saw, speaking of that, a very quick snip bit of them asking him, "You gave up a whole, you won, your team won, but you gave up a homeroom to Puig" and the graciousness of it. And he goes, "I really didn't want to have to do that, but hey that's the game". You could tell that it bothered him, but not like the reporter really wanted to make a big deal of this. Like here comes a player back and you wanted to do well and you didn't, and the graciousness by which he answered that speaks to other people. It speaks volumes, probably to the reporters and probably to his teammates.
Brandon Cash: And what Jack said too, is so right in my mind, is it's got to be kid-driven. Meaning, you're not as the parent trying to get your kid to love this as much as you do, and to work as hard as you think they need to. So, if the kid wants to do it. One of the kings I used to work with, his kid is unbelievable at hockey. Same age, my kid is 10 years old. One of my youngest is 10, his youngest is 10 or actually, it's not his youngest anymore. But, from the time he could walk, he wanted to be on the ice. He's from Canada and so they had an ice rink in the backyard. He just loved to be on the ice. So for his, because he struggled with that. Like, "I don't want to push him into what I did. But, he couldn't get the kid off the ice. I think there's too many parents who are pouring money and resources, sacrificing family time to do something that the kid is probably doing just because-
Chris Grace: Dad liked it or mom liked it...
Tim Muehlhoff: Our kids played Pop Warner football, right. We would show up and drop our kids off and say, "Hey, we'll be back in two hours". There were parents every single practice, sat there in lawn chairs and watched a two, a two and a half hour practice. But, there's that crazy narrative you hear. I think this is how parents get guilted, right. We all watch ESPN, we all hear the narrative of "Yeah, my dad never missed a game, let alone a practice. He never missed a practice, let alone a game". I'm sitting there getting chest pains going. I think we get guilted...
Let me give some piece of advice that was given by Cal Ripken Jr. He did a talk on parenting and we took it to heart, but I want to see what you think about it. He said this, "When your son hits a triple and wins the game, go out for ice cream. When he strikes out with bases loaded, go out for ice cream. He said treat both exactly the same. So, we kind of sort of try to do that. What do you guys think about that?
Brandon Cash: Yeah, I try not to communicate so much the winning and the losing. I don't know where I heard it, but I really like it was the compliment is more, "I loved watching you compete today". Because, whether he wins or loses if he competed to the best of his abilities, I can compliment that in either way. Yeah, I like that. I think I was very similar growing up: played high school sports and my parents rarely came to my games in high school. They weren't going to travel when we wrestled.
Jack Grogger: I think too, you were asking, "What do you say to those parents?" I think because we might know the game with our own kids and watching them. I think for me what I learned, is timing is of the most important thing. So, if my son has a bad game am I just going to go throttle on him and lay on more after the game. That's not what he needs to hear. He kind of needs to hear the "I love you no matter what". That's important to show like "I love you when you do well" and "I love you when you do bad" because my love is not indicative of your results. That is really important for a child to hear that. Like, "I love you no matter what, okay?"
So, when he does bad I try to just not, we're not even going to talk about it. As a couple of days go on, well say "Okay, let's work on some things I think you could do a little bit better to make the next game be a little bit better. Now he is in a new frame of mind and now I'm coming along with him as like, "Hey this is something we can kind of do together". It's just taking your time as a parent to just throttle back a little bit. We've seen the overzealous parents that are getting kicked out of the games, yelling and screaming at the umpires. Just acting ridiculous and it doesn't do good for anybody, including their own kids.
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah. The Book of Proverbs, are words spoken in the right circumstance as compared to fine jewelry- Let me ask about something that just happened and again we don't know exactly when this is going to air. But, we just saw something. So, I just so respect the platform that sports has in our country. I remember watching Ken Burns' documentary on baseball. It was stunning and his insights, to listen to people talk about baseball, was listening to him talk about religion. There was something very much transcendent about how we approach baseball.
But, Tiger Woods just won a Masters. Chris you know more about golf than I do-
Brandon Cash: It's not a Masters, it's the Masters.
Tim Muehlhoff: The Masters. He won the Masters, see? There we go, point taken. We have a good friend of ours, Ed Uszynski. Dr. Ed Uszynski was on our program, he writes for Athletes in Action, their podcast. He wrote a stunning piece saying, "Why did America cheer like this?" And people were going crazy, cheering on Tiger Woods. He kind of packaged it as a redemption story. But what is the role of sports in this country? And why do you think the nation cheered on Tiger Woods, a man who confessed to sex addiction, the wheels had completely come off and he admitted it? So, what is it about sports in general and then why was it we were cheering on Tiger?
Brandon Cash: Those are big topics. Just a couple of shots in the dark. Off the cuff, I think-
Tim Muehlhoff: Chris is always shooting in the dark-
Brandon Cash: There we go. Our country loves the Cinderella story and Tiger wasn't supposed to come back from what he did...
Chris Grace: 14, 15 years since his last? Right?
Brandon Cash: Well, his last Masters was in 2005. His last major championship was 2008.
Tim Muehlhoff: That was the Masters, I don't want it corrected. I'm so out of my league right now-
Brandon Cash: So, there's that. I think Tiger just transcended so many different boundaries because of, you know, he was African American, and Asian, educated, grew up in Orange County, went to Stanford. I just don't think there was a class that didn't root for Tiger when he came on. I know this personally because I played against him in junior college or junior golf in college-
Tim Muehlhoff: Did you really?
Brandon Cash: Yeah. So, he was just so good. So fast. Nobody had ever done that. So there was that level. Then his fall was just so spectacular-
Tim Muehlhoff: Public fall.
Brandon Cash: Yeah, I mean unbelievable. In addition to the fall and everybody piling on from that. The physical issues and so there was just no way of coming back. The first time I think a lot of people saw humility in Tiger and sort of the admission of weakness. He stood at a press conference at the Masters. Was it three years ago? And said, "I don't know if I'm going to play again." For him to admit that, I think a lot of people saw this vulnerability and this humanity that they hadn't seen before-
Jack Grogger: I look at it as even like, let's look at this week we're in right now. The Passion week, right? It's kind of like the story of Jesus, right? Jesus comes into Jerusalem, everybody's cheering, excited. You know, just over the top. Then within a few days they turn on him, and they lay down this punishment on him, and this beating on him. Then all of a sudden he rises from the dead and then there's a redemptive story there. So when you look at the story of Tiger, it's kind of like ebbed and flowed of success, and then people turning on him, then now he has success.
It kind of goes back to what Brandon said, the Cinderella story and that's what we're going to celebrate this Sunday as Christians - the redemptive story of Christ. As Christians, we celebrate that reality and so I think it as a lot of parallels to the Tiger Woods story, if you will. Obviously, he is not Christ in the flesh. You just see how fickle people are as well. Like the times of Jesus, these are the people that would see him performing miracles during his ministry and we're just completely turned against, then we're wanting to crucify him. It just shows how fickle the culture is that Brandon and I work in with baseball. It shows how fickle people are in our personal lives, our professional lives. We live in a culture of people being so fickle and changing on a dime of whether they like you, they don't like you, today you're good, tomorrow you're bad.
One of the things that I've taught my boys going through sports, is my wife and I have always said "You're never going to quit a team no matter how bad it gets. So my boys have been on some really, really tough teams. They wanted to quit, and we said "No, that's not what we do. You're going to finish out and not quit. So, again that's teaching into the DNA of them, as a parent raising them up in our culture where people quit at everything including marriage.
Tim Muehlhoff: I'm so glad you said that. That was our philosophy: "You don't have to do baseball, but if you start the season you're finishing the season." I think something else with Tiger, I think resonated with us, was when he hugged his son he said a very interesting thing. He said, "I put them through a lot and I'm glad that they can see this."
In academia, we get the craziness that you guys see in sports. We get it on the academia side, the parents go crazy sacrificing so much to get their kids into elite schools. So, we've seen this whole college scam thing and I thought it was fascinating. Felicity Huffman, a famous actress, was caught. She made the decision to just come out and say "Yeah, I'm guilty. I'm absolutely guilty. I put the of love for of my kids above my ethics. I'm totally wrong and I'll accept any punishment the court gives us." Period. Now, I don't know if PR person wrote that for her, but the country read that and said, "Hey, okay that's pretty good." Other people have decided to fight it, but I thought that was really interesting, to own your sin publicly is a really powerful thing that we very seldom see today. I think for Tiger we saw that vulnerability may be for the first time. I think the country really reacted to it.
Brandon Cash: I think it was the same thing with the steroid issue in baseball. Look at the guys who came clean and said "I did it" and total redemption. I don't think people hold a grudge at all. But, the people that are still hanging on and not admitting it, there's still that, they don't really want them back in baseball.
Jack Grogger: Well take that into your marriage. The husband does something wrong and then doesn't admit it. Instead of just owning up and saying, "Honey, I'm sorry. I was wrong. You were right." and working through that. It just transcends every aspect of our life, just taking ownership.
Chris Grace: Are athletes more prone to doing that because of, or are the more prone to hiding and running have you found? And ignoring that which everyone can see-
Brandon Cash: It works the same way and you have the same thing happening. You have teammates who own their mistake and their teammates forgive them, love them, want to be there. It's the guys that don't admit their mistake, that frustrates the team, the coaches-
Jack Grogger: Especially, when they know that they're guilty.
Chris Grace: Tell us about the models that Christians are playing at the Dodges and the Angels. I mean you guys have some of the powerful people there that are loved by the culture, by the world, and they're having some sort of impact I would imagine on some of the guys around them. Tell us about that.
Brandon Cash: Kershaw and Pujols, both their foundations do incredibly good work.
Tim Muehlhoff: What do they do specifically? What do the actual foundations do?
Brandon Cash: The Kershaws, it began with an orphan in Zambia. Ellen fell in love with this orphan, thought we've got to do something. She was a double orphan, but Ellen's hear just broke for her, said "We've got to do something." They started with her, and then a few other kids, and then they eventually built an orphanage, and then eventually a school. So they're doing great work there. They're also working with the sexual trafficking stuff. IJM, is that what it is?
Jack Grogger: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brandon Cash: The International Justice Mission, in the Dominican Republic. Then in Dallas and L.A. they have partnerships with the Dream Center here in L.A. Then in Dallas an after-school program that they help there.
Chris Grace: What an amazing testimony just by your actions and words for some of these younger guys coming up. I imagine, you're just like, "Thank you for being here as a model, right? How to do this. How to give". It's in that giving, in that generosity that shows this is what's important in your heart. You don't just have to speak it and say it. And Albert's the same?
Jack Grogger: Yeah. He's involved with his, he has a Down Syndrome Foundation. One of his daughters has Down Syndrome, so he does a lot for it. They have special prom nights, where kids with Down Syndrome can come to that. They have bowling events-
Chris Grace: Tebow does that. Tebow does something similar to that. That's really cool.
Jack Grogger: Then his wife is plugged into SOS, which is Stamp out Slavery, which is sex trafficking as well. She does a lot of traveling. So, they're putting a lot of time, energy, finances, into that and giving. One of the things too, when it comes to professional athletes, we'll talk about tithing for a second. I mean, none of us here can understand, what it's like to write a check for three million dollars to your church, five million dollars to your church... you see what I'm saying. Three hundred thousand dollars to your church. Because the resources are so deep, everybody wants something from them. So, how do they navigate what's kingdom minded and what's good. So, that's part of my thing with them, is trying to help them in that avenue to say look this is a good investment here from a kingdom perspective and that's important as well too, is just being able to pour into those guys from that perspective.
Tim Muehlhoff: If someone wanted to write a three hundred dollar check, to the Center for Marriage & Relationships what would be-
Chris Grace: The kingdom impact?
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, I'm just brainstorming Chris.
Chris Grace: What do you talk to them about? Generosity, right? How to give? For many people, in this, the secret to Christian life is this notion of that's how you understand and see God is when we with generosity respond to people because of what God has done for us. So, how do you navigate that with them?
Jack Grogger: That's a big thing in our culture. That seems to be one of the ongoing topics that players will ask, "Well how do I tithe? Is it gross? Is it net? Is it before taxes? After taxes?" So really, I drive them to the reality of it's your heart. Where are you at in your heart? Are you looking for the minimum? Because that's really where those questions are coming from. What's the minimum because I want to barely get over the threshold and give the minimum. So I have challenged them in some pretty significant ways because, you know, to them to get a Ferrari is like you and I, going to buy a Corolla. It's doable, it's easy, it's okay. I remind them that there's a lot of wealthy people in scripture and it's okay to be wealthy and it's okay to have those things. But, when you want to get rid of that car have you thought about giving it to the pastor of your local church or-
Brandon Cash: Or the Chaplain?-
Jack Grogger: Or somebody. But the point is, it is not even in their framework of reference and so them it's like, "No I want to sell it to their teammate and make money on the deal." So, it's trying to train their mind and their heart, to think outside of the box and realize what God's given them.
Tim Muehlhoff: And these are young... Because of Dave Wilson, I've gotten a chance to do two pro chapels. He had back surgery one year and just could not travel what so ever. He said, "How close are you guys to Oakland? Get your kids in a van and go there." So we did. I was shocked how young they were. It just blew my mind and I thought, "What was I like at 22?" At 23 and I couldn't even keep my checkbook. Then you see a person who is walking around with a signing bonus or something. I just think the work you guys are doing is so pivotal, to give them a biblical view and what this all kind of looks like. But, that's a good word for anybody listening to this podcast is. What did Corrie Ten Boom say? "Money belongs in your wallet not in your heart."-
Brandon Cash: Circling back to what we were talking about with the spouse, who to choose, I think money is one of those... you have Christ in common, but you also need to have those financial values in common. I think sometimes, some tension in marriages is one wants to give this much, the other says, "That's too much, we need to support all of these family members", the other says, "No, they can make it on their own". So, I think money is a big issue. More money, more problems.
Chris Grace: It plays itself out with some of these athletes that your dealing with. How can we be praying for you guys as we end this podcast? That you guys have such a good ministry, such a model, not only your marriages but your word with them. And, even in this area of how to give generously and how to treat your spouse in a way that brings her honor and respect in a busy time. How can we be praying for you guys, particularly in your ministry and in your marriages?
Jack Grogger: Professionally, I would say the ministry Baseball Chapel, continue to pray for that ministry. As you stated earlier on, we are in a very unique situation. We are able to walk in to the workplace environment, carve out some time and talk about Jesus. It's only a matter of time, I think before that becomes a real challenge for us. I think the thrust behind our success is obviously the Lord, but it is the players and their union is very powerful. The players demand it. I think that the players are what really gives us access as the next layer behind the Lord. Then for me obviously is that I have to look at my marriage as it's my number one ministry that I have. If it fails I'm no longer a pastor, I'm no longer chaplain-
Brandon Cash: It doesn't matter what you say-
Jack Grogger: It doesn't matter what I say or what I do. That if my marriage does not succeed all of that fails. It's just that simple and with that in perspective with me every day, that's how I view my life. My wife is the most important thing in my world and my kids. They come before everything. So those are the two things. Praying for my marriage, that I continue to have that as a priority and then you know this ministry Baseball Chapel as a whole.
Chris Grace: Sure, Jack. Will do that, we'll pray for your as well. And Brandon-
Brandon Cash: Yeah, I think those are great prayer requests. Probably patience, and putting up with Jack.
Jack Grogger: Hey, I'm a senior to you pal. You're a rookie.
Brandon Cash: I shouldn't be talking like that, right?
Chris Grace: What is the series standing these days? Is there a-
Jack Grogger: I don't even keep track-
Brandon Cash: I know. Yeah, I don't think we have each other-
Jack Grogger: We haven't played each other yet. We played each other for spring training.
Chris Grace: But, when it counts though, it hasn't been that many years since they didn't...
Jack Grogger: I think there's more Christians probably on the Angels though, than there is the Dodgers.
Brandon Cash: Maybe this year. I have more opportunity for evangelists.
Chris Grace: There you go baby, more opportunity.
Tim Muehlhoff: Hey, listen we will pray for you. Sports has such a powerful impact on this culture and to know that there's men that are influencing the influencers-
Brandon Cash: Can I ask one question before we-
Chris Grace: Yeah, please.
Brandon Cash: No, this is a legit question. Just plug your book, Winsome Persuasion, loved it. I think one of the reasons why sports has such a huge impact, obviously the economics of it, but I also wonder if the lack of politics. So you can root whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, left or right, you can route for the Angels or the Dodgers. And you can have discussions, you can talk sports without it getting heated like it does... I mean it gets heated, but it's a fun heated and I'm just curious your thoughts on that.
Tim Muehlhoff: I think, here's one of the reasons why the Kaepernick thing is so controversial. We view sports as a sanctuary. It is kind of our timeout. So, we can get all the Michigan and Notre Dame rivalry, but also Ohio State. It's a place where we can come and share and go crazy, and be unabashedly proud for my team, and it's not serious as national policy. We've lost our sense of humor when it comes to national politics today. Sports is this really fun place, where yeah we do get beat by the Ducks, we've gotten beat by the Kings, but when you're walking out and you keep a sense about it you can kind of laugh and say, "Hey, you'll probably get us next time". We've lost that sense of humor with politics. We've got to get it back somehow. So, I think sports is our great release. That's why the Kaepernick thing, in many ways I support him. It was an intrusion upon my safe haven and that's why I think some people got really upset by it-
Jack Grogger: He moved the game into politics-
Tim Muehlhoff: Yeah, he moved them game-
Jack Grogger: Instead of the other way around so-
Tim Muehlhoff: Hey, thank you for the plug. I appreciate that though. Hey, we will pray for you guys. Hey, this is great we should have them back! Because we're sports geeks and we just love this but-
Jack Grogger: We just scratched the tip of the ice here-
Tim Muehlhoff: Oh my word! So hey, so we're fans. We're fans of you guys! Thanks for joining us.
Jack Grogger: Thanks for having us.
Brandon Cash: Thanks for having us.
Mandy Catto: Thanks for listening to the Art of Relationships. This podcast is only made through generous donations from listeners just like you. If you like it and want to help the podcast going, visit our website at cmr.biola.edu and make a donation today.
Christopher Grace serves as the director of the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships and teaches psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology. He and his wife, Alisa, speak regularly to married couples, churches, singles and college students on the topic of relationships, dating and marriage. Grace earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Colorado State University.
Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University and author of several books, including I Beg to Differ and Marriage Forecasting. His most recent publication, Defending Your Marriage, speaks to spiritual warfare in marriage and how to equip yourself to defend your relationship. For the past 18 years, he and his wife, Noreen, have been frequent speakers at FamilyLife marriage conferences. Muehlhoff regularly writes and speaks for the Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. Follow Dr. Muehlhoff on Twitter.