Review of Intentional Walk, a book about the Christian faith of St. Louis Cardinals

Rob Rains, Intentional Walk: An Inside Look at the Faith that Drives the St. Louis Cardinals (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013).

Intentional Walk describes the role of the Christian faith in the lives of several Cardinal players and staff members. The book covers the Cardinals through the 2012 season, Mike Matheny’s first year as manager.

The Prologue gives insight into Matheny’s philosophy of managing by quoting a letter to wrote to parents of a little league team he coached.

Each chapter is devoted to a person showing how his faith has influenced his baseball life and personal life. Current Cardinals profiled include Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal, Jason Motte, and Matt Holliday. Chapters cover Manager Mike Matheny, Announcer Rick Horton, and Equipment Manager Rip Rowan. Chapters also cover persons no longer with the Cardinals including David Freese, Lance Berkman, Barret Browning, Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs, Jake Westbrook, and Carlos Bertran.

Chapel, Bible studies, and discussions about eternal matters occur regularly with the Cardinals. The commitment to Christ surpasses the commitment to baseball for these men. Their Christianity does not make them weak or uncompetitive. It makes them committed to excellence and doing their best as players. Their faith enables them to cope with victories and successes as well as with failures, losses, injuries, and disappointments.

The players make clear in their testimonies that, though they have a special fellowship with other Christians, they respect players who do not share their faith. Matheny said, “I don’t want to be anybody’s excuse to not find Christ.” He told his players of his commitment to Christ but he assured them he would never force his faith on others. He stated that he wanted to manage the team in a way that glorifies God.

The 204-page book inspires as the reader sees how these prominent sports figures seek to live their Christian faith as baseball players and in everyday life.

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