Faith Day 2024 & My Washington Nationals Testimony

Faith Day 2024 & My Washington Nationals Testimony June 10, 2024

In honor of the Washington Nationals Faith Day, Xavier Scott Preston displays his replica 2019 Washington Nationals World Series Championship ring. He earned this ring as a part-time staff member with the Nats Guest Experience Department.
In honor of the Washington Nationals Faith Day, Xavier Scott Preston displays his replica 2019 Washington Nationals World Series Championship ring. He earned this ring as a part-time staff member with the Nats Guest Experience Department. 

What is Faith Day?

It’s Origins and The MLB’s Intention

Did you know many Major League Baseball teams have a Faith Day? According to Religion Unplugged, 60% of the league celebrated this occasion during the 2023 season.   

The earliest evidence of a faith-based promotion in the league occurred during the 1950s. The goal was to provide citizens with a religious identity during the Cold War. Researchers believe it was pluralistic in nature as it united Jews, Christians, and Catholics.

Today, MLB teams use this theme to attract Christians who are baseball fans.

God’s Sovereign Purpose 

While the MLB and others may see this initiative as an easy way to reach a niche market, God has a greater purpose.

Psalm 71:15 says “my mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long, though I know not how to relate them all” (New International Version).

Romans 1:16 echoes similar sentiments when Paul talks about being unashamed of the gospel’s soul-saving power.

By having themes celebrating the Christian faith, God is using a professional baseball game to strengthen the faith of believers. 

God also uses these events to touch the hearts of unbelievers, backsliders, and skeptics. All it takes is one song, scripture, testimony, or experience to help someone draw closer to the Lord.   

Additionally, people attend sporting events to have fun and forget the stresses of life for a few hours. What better way to escape than to attend a game honoring the one who is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1)? 

The Washington Nationals 

Faith Day 2024

My favorite baseball team is the Washington Nationals. They began hosting Faith Day events on September 6, 2014. First baseman Adam LaRoche led the promotional effort for this event by sending a letter to DC area pastors inviting their congregations to the game.

The first faith day featured testimonies from Nats players and a concert with Christian artist Lincoln Brewster.

Similar festivities will occur this season when the Nats face the Chicago Cubs on August 31 at 4 pm. While the speakers and artists have yet to be announced, ticket information is available.

There are four locations where fans desiring to partake in Faith Day can purchase seats at Nationals  Park.

  1. The Upper Gallery: $15
  2. Outfield Reserve: $28
  3. Leff & Right Field Corners: $31
  4. Baseline Reserved: $47 

Guests with groups of more than twelve people must contact Drew Larson for assistance with purchasing tickets.   

The House DC

$5 from every ticket purchased will be donated to The House DC. The House DC is a non-profit organization located in the Anacostia region of Washington, DC.

Their mission is to break cycles and build futures for at-risk youth, their family, and the community through the love of Jesus. Jesus’ love is seen through programs dedicated to whole-person development, academic mentorship, artistic outlets, and job training.   

I love the Nats decision to do this charitable act for two reasons. 

First, the donation proves Christians within the Nats organization are not simply concerned with increasing attendance for one day. Rather, they are committed to helping meet the needs of the less fortunate.

Second, contributing to the needs of House DC shows believing Nats have a pure and genuine faith (James 1:27).       

My Testimony

Being a Washington Nationals Employee

I am excited to write a column about Faith Day because I have a personal testimony that involves the Washington Nationals.

I had the privilege of working part-time for the Washington Nationals Guest Experience Department from March 1, 2016 to October 31, 2019. Unfortunately, I did not take advantage of the opportunity to attend the Nats post-game Faith Day festivities.

However, my faith allows me to see God orchestrating every step of my journey with the Nats. It’s the Lord who softened the heart of a client service representative during my initial interview.

After being rejected for a gameday position with the Nats box office, he asks the guest experience department to hire. 

This is a breakthrough considering I spent almost two years without consistent employment before accepting this position. 

Becoming a guest experience representative is also significant because it is the first opportunity I had to work for a professional sports team.

God also orchestrated my steps by allowing me to work for a department with one hundred percent minority leadership. Working in this environment taught me how to deliver world-class hospitality and exude professionalism in every situation.

During my time with the organization, I worked with zone five in the then-PNC Diamond Club. Working in this location allowed me to serve with and meet many amazing people.

3 Divine Connections

However, three individuals embodied the goodness of God.

Mr. Gerald Byrd was an older coworker who I worked with from 2016-2018. He always spoke encouraging words to me and introduced me to one of the Nationals chaplains.

During this time frame, Mr.Byrd was in a twelve-year battle with cancer. However, he always smiled, kept a positive attitude, and worked as much as his body would permit.

Sadly, he passed away before the start of the 2019 season. His story exudes God’s goodness as he let his light shine amid suffering (Matthew 5:17). 

Another believer who God used to strengthen my faith while with the Nationals is Kaleef Boykins.

Kaleef worked as a security guard in the PNC Diamond Club. During our daily conversations, I enjoyed talking about the Lord, sharing scriptures we’ve been studying, and ways we can improve. 

I’m thankful the Lord always connects believers with other Christians to help them navigate a specific part of their journey.

I did not know working in the PNC Diamond Club would allow me to see Lorenzo Crowe every day. Lorenzo Crowe was a shortstop for the Nego League’s Baltimore Elite. A man in his 90s, Mr. Crowe drove himself to and attended every game and loved socializing with everyone. 

He was also a member of a church in the DC area. Mr. Crowe’s presence is a tangible example of God’s promise to grant long life to those who love and obey him (Psalm 91:15-16; Proverbs 3:1-2).  

2019 World Series Championship Run 

Along with longevity, Mr.Crowe was also blessed to see the Nats beat the Houston Astros to win the World Series in 2019.

The Nats championship season was an unlikely story of faith. They were coming off a 2018 season that had excitement about hosting the MLB All-Star. 

However, the season ended disappointingly as the Nats had an 82-80 record but missed the playoffs.

With a 19-31 start to the 2019 season, the Nats had every reason to give up. No one would have blamed them for losing heart after early dismissals from the playoffs in 2016 and 2017.

But 2019, was different. There was not a pessimistic attitude among fans or my coworkers. Despite the bad start, the team kept fighting and ended the regular season 93-69.

I knew God was in our midst as I heard the song “You Got Me” by Swoope every day before opening the gates. I love this song as it talks about how God has their back in every situation.      

Nats players even testified about how they keep their faith by striving to go 1-0 every day. Their mantra compels me to forget past mistakes and embrace the new mercies God gives daily (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

Being a part of the Nats championship run, strengthened my faith because it proves God has great plans for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).  

Have you attended a faith-based promotion at a sports event? I would love to hear about your experiences. Your comments are greatly appreciated!

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