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All In at the Fall Classic

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All In at the Fall Classic


FCA Magazine’s 6 Questions

…with San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt

1. My favorite Bible passage is Romans 5:8-9. It really sums up the life a believer should live.

2. One way Jesus has had an impact on me is by showing how He loved people without judgment. That kind of love is what I strive for.

3. I intentionally bring Christ into my game by working hard at my skill and praying when I pitch.

4. One way God has shaped me throughout my career has been by allowing me to go through trials that have tested my faith and made me stronger.

5. Playing for the San Francisco Giants is great because I get to make an impact on a city of influence.

6. Outside of baseball, I am passionate about empowering young people. They are our leaders of tomorrow, and they could create a movement that would change the world.

A Royal Risk

Dayton Moore took a leap of faith when he signed on to become the Kansas City Royals general manager in 2006.

In the midst of their third consecutive 100-loss season in 2006, the Kansas City Royals needed a new voice in the front office. A true leader who would make personnel decisions aimed at reinvigorating and redirecting the once-proud franchise back to its glory days of the 1980s.

The Royals turned to Kansas native Dayton Moore, who initially declined the offer, but, being a man of faith, heard from and followed the Holy Spirit guiding him back to the Midwest. The rebuilding effort that lay before him was daunting, but he trusted the daily process and God’s timing to eventually reap what he began to sow.

In 2007, FCA sat down with Moore to talk about how his faith led him to Kansas City and what it would take to develop a culture of character and success.

FCA: You came to Kansas City from Atlanta, where you’d been part of a team that had won 14 straight division titles at that point. Did you feel any intimidation at the thought of coming to the Royals, who had struggled so much?

DM: It would have been very easy and very safe for us to stay in Atlanta. Our family was thriving, we had a great church home, [my wife] Marianne loved it, the weather was great, I knew all the players, I loved the people I worked with, we’d won 14 consecutive division titles, and the players there are in place to continue to win. In fact, toward the end of the process I told Marianne we were staying in Atlanta, that we were not going to Kansas City. But as the day unfolded, as we began to continue to give it to God and pray about the decision, it became, “You know what? Go try to do something special.”

It was risky, and “risk” is a scary word for me and, I think, for a lot of Christians. In many cases, you have a great support group around you. For us, it would have been very easy to stay right there and continue to do well in an environment with all the pieces in place to continue to be successful. We had all the resources necessary and the great players and a great group of guys who are strong believers in that clubhouse, and it is a great family.

FCA: What did you learn spiritually through that transition?

DM: Just to really depend on and sell out to Him, and know that He has a perfect plan for your life. As long as you are seeking His wisdom and His will, you are always going to be in His will no matter where He puts you, whether it is Kansas City, Atlanta, Boston, Arizona, Cincinnati, wherever. Truly, I don’t believe God cares as much that Dayton Moore is the General Manager of the Kansas City Royals. I think what He is most concerned about is how I use this platform to honor Him and how I use the gifts that I have been given.

FCA: You’ve spoken before about the power of a leader. What makes a good leader?

DM: To me, leadership is all about servanthood. I have always felt that people who are in leadership positions to gratify themselves and their egos are not good leaders. I’ve always tried to look at any leadership position I’ve been in as an opportunity to help encourage others and help people get where they want to be. And I feel that works out the best.

The actions you take day in and day out are crucial, and people are always watching. Not that you are living your life based on what you think others want you to do, but it is important to live a consistent life. And it is harder for me to do that in the home than it is in the baseball arena. The hardest challenge is being a husband and a father. The baseball stuff takes care of itself. We’ve got a lot of great people who have been in the game and are involved with the decision-making and who have been successful.

FCA: As a leader in the Royals organization, do you feel a spiritual responsibility for those on the field and in the front office?

DM: Absolutely, but there’s a certain way to do it. We reach out to our Baseball Chapel leaders and make sure they are a part of what we do.

One thing I’ve learned is that baseball players have been gifted to be athletes; but the only way they are able to use those gifts day in and day out and be successful is if they have the balance they need in their lives. This game beats you up terribly. It is a game of failure, and if you don’t learn to manage failure, you won’t be successful. And the only way to manage failure, in my opinion, is to have a relationship with Christ.

FCA: As a leader and as someone in charge of personnel decisions, what, for you, constitutes a good hire?

DM: Character is the most important thing when putting together a baseball team. The players are together for 162 games throughout the course of the year. And for nine months out of a year, they have to like being around each other. Every successful team, every successful organization, every successful situation I have been in, we’ve had a group of people who have had the ability to put others first, and put their own needs and wants and desires second.

FCA: How do men of character then lead to a culture of success?

DM: It is awesome, and it’s going to happen here—it is happening here. But you’ve got to grow it through your culture; and you start it in the minor leagues. So, there is an expectation level that every player understand what it is like to be a professional—the importance of being involved in your community, the importance of the characteristics that make up a great team. Then you graduate them to the major leagues, and the veteran players in your clubhouse bring those young players on board to see them living up to that expectation level; they make sure the young players understand that. Then players evolve, and that is how you breed a winning culture.