Carlos Baerga: The High Price of Baseball Fame
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CBN.com “I was doing things that nobody knows. But God says that everything you do is going to come out one day...”
Carlos Baerga has an exhilerating career in major league baseball. This Puerto Rican native blazed his way into the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1990. He became their most reliable pinch hitter, which enabled him to make it to three all star games. He’s currently the only second baseman to hit two home runs in one inning from both sides of the plate. From the start Carlos had rapid success in baseball, but it quickly lead to his undoing.
“In ‘92, ‘93, and ‘94, I was in the all star games,” he says. “My career was going way up, and that was the moment that I really forgot about God -- the God who gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues. I used to be a super star. Everthing was so good for me that I wanted to keep living that life.”
Life in the big leagues was extremely lavish, and Carlos wanted more of it. But he got more than he bargined for.
“Your friends [are] going to invite you to do a lot of things like go to discos, drink alcohol, and be with women,” Carlos says. “You know the lives that we live in baseball -- there’s so many things that go to you for free.”
Little did Carlos know that all the free partying, drinking, and women would almost cost him everything.
He says, “I almost lost my family. I didn’t know the damage I was doing to myself. When you walk without God, you can be hurt at anytime.”
Carlos’ game went south. Management felt he had a lackadaisical attitdue and traded him to the New York Mets.
“In ‘96 after I got traded to the Mets I realized that my life was going down,” Carlos says. “I thought that I was never going to be traded. We just came back from the World Series with the Cleveland Indians.”
Before he left for New York, Carlos had a long heart-to-heart talk with long time friend Julio Franco.
“I know that God put Julio there for me,” he says. “I know it because Julio was talking to me, ‘Carlos, why are you doing this? You’re born in church; you know the words of God; you know what can happen to you.’ I wasn’t listening to him.”
So off to New York he went. There, Carlos suffered a rib injury that limited his playing time. He quickly became desperate and realized that there was something he needed to do.
“A year after all the stuff happen to me, I went to Julio and apologized to him because I knew God sent him to talk to me. Julio Franco’s been an inspiration to me. He’s 47 years old and still playing baseball. A lot of people say, ‘How does he do it?’ I say, ‘God’s the only one that can do it.’”
After another heartfelt conversation with Julio, Carlos understood that there was no place else to turn and rededicated his life to the Lord.
“We’re human. We go through those moments in life that we forget about God,” he explains. “We think that we are Superman, that we can do things without Him. We have to realize that we cannot do anything without Him.
“He’s the best feeling that you can have in life. When you put everything in God’s hands, there is nothing that you can not do. He gives you the life, He gives you everything. Thank God I still have my family with me.”
Setting a Godly example is extremely important to the Nationals’ Carlos Baerga. Prospected by the league at the early age of sixteen has certainly earned him the respect of his teammtes. But he told me it’s not about respect. He plays for something else.
“I don’t just play for me. I play for my teammates too, because those are the things that God teaches,” Carols says. “They’re the ones that need to know the words of God. Right now what I’m trying to do is to talk to the guys more about God. You know, that’s the second chance God gave me. We are here for a reason: to spread the words of God.”
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