Red Wings pitcher strives to grow closer to God

By Bill Sorrell

Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

When Jake Reed is in hot water on the mound, his mind speeds like a fastball to his favorite place.

“If I am out there struggling, I think about being back at home and being in the ocean. It just reminds you of how small you are and how insignificant you are in this world,” said Reed, a right-handed pitcher for the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Growing up in San Diego and surfing since he was 7, Reed connects the practice-makes-perfect theme of baseball with surfing and correlates baseball with faith.

“The platform that sports in general gives us Christian athletes is pretty great. The fan base for professional baseball is through the roof, especially in the big leagues. Constantly being out there in front of all the people and representing something bigger than yourself is awesome.

“The opportunity to play with so many different guys and maybe changing a few of their lives and bringing them to Christ is very important to me. I know I am here for a reason.”

Reed was promoted to the Red Wings, which plays in the International League, from Chattanooga, the Twins’ Double-A team in the Southern League. He had a 1–1 record with a 1.69 ERA and eight strike outs in Rochester in nine games. He played 41 games in Chattanooga and was 3–3 with a 3.90 ERA and 64 strikeouts.

Strengthening relationships

Growing up in La Mesa, California, Reed was a 2011 graduate of Helix High School. He was baptized when he was young and now attends The Rock Church, San Diego.

While he has always believed in God, 2015 was the first time things “started clicking for me,” Reed said. “I started doing some digging and each day I was getting closer to God.”

A member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he was drafted in the fifth round (140th overall) by the Twins in 2014, Reed was involved in a group called CrossTraining led by chaplain Tony Overstake.

“He is one of the guys who shaped my faith as well,” Reed said.

“There have been a few key people in my life that have helped shaped my faith in a great way,” he said. “For me it’s been a mix of God putting certain people that have pointed me in that direction. There have been situations in my life that I have figured I can’t handle them on my own and I need God’s help.”

Last season was one of those times for Reed.

“I had a rough season. You get to the point where you can’t handle things by yourself anymore and I think it was God showing me, ‘Hey man, you have done it up to this point by yourself and it is not going to work like that anymore and you are going to need Me to get through those things.’”

Through it all Reed is maturing in his faith and relationship with God. “Jesus is the ultimate role model. The picture of Him and the description of Him in the Bible is everything that I want to be as a man, as a father, as a teammate, as a friend. That is the one person that we should look up to most.

“I am trying to get to that point and obviously I will never be perfect but the closer I can get to the point, the better.”

As in baseball, Reed has goals as a Christian.

“I try to get into Scripture as much as I can. That helps a lot,” he said. He reads the Bible an hour daily.

“It seems like God has been pointing me in the right direction of what to read, things that I am struggling with, and He has been putting things on my plate that have helped me through some situations.

“Hopefully I will have a family one day and get to raise my kids the way God intended for it to be and be with one woman the rest of my life.

“Without God there is no way to fully love somebody. A relationship with Him is going to make every relationship with somebody else that much stronger.”