Curtis Granderson: Anchored at the Plate
Since his major league debut in 2004, New York Mets’ Outfielder Curtis Granderson has been selected as a 3-time All-Star, received the Silver Slugger Award, and earned his way on the 20-20- 20-20 Club. that’s 20 home runs, 20 triples, 20 doubles, and 20 stolen bases in a single season. That’s despite the fact that every year he’s gotten off to a slow at the plate. He says although it’s frustrating, his faith in the lord helps him keep his cool.
"People go, how come you don’t slam your helmet, how come you don’t break your bat, how come you’re not, you know, yelling and cussing at everybody? That’s not going to change anything. You know, the results are what they are. They’ve happened, then move on and God will bless me with another opportunity to go out there with a chance to do something different," said Curtis.
Curtis has been a Christian since he was a kid growing up in Blue Island, Illinois.
“Christ has always been around my family. From my parents, to extended family members, it’s always been a part of our life. I remember, I think I was baptized probably at the age of 12 at my grandmother’s church, who I actually spoke with today. So it’s interesting, you know, that we’re doing an interview right now and I spoke with her today.”
Curtis began his career with the Detroit Tigers before going to the Yankees, and then eventually the Mets in 2014. He says he has to work on his game daily to perform at his best. But he depends on God to pull it all together.
Shawn at: What do you do to tweak what’s off?
You know, try not to worry too much about what’s happened. Understand the process of everything that’s happened before. You know, I’ve had the ability to be blessed with some great coaching staff, some great mentors and coaches, that have put me in situations so when –time for the ball to be hit to me, to be pitched to me, we’ve got the hours in, we’ve got the mechanics in. Now we just got to trust it, trust God to allow Him to –me to go out and do the things that He knows I’m capable of," said Curtis.
In a game where anything can happen, it’s also his faith that keeps him pressing forward through a rigorous 162 game regular season.
“Obviously you’re going to have ups and downs in the game. You’re going to have injuries. You’re going to not play to the capability that you think you can play to. And the way you respond and how people see that is all from Christ giving me this strength to go out there and understand that things will turn, He has a plan. Just lay it out for Him and the plan will take shape.”
Over the years, he’s established himself as one of the most generous guys in baseball. in fact, after he started landing endorsements, he asked the companies to give the money and equipment to his foundation, The Grandkids Foundation as well as inner-city baseball programs.
“The initial deals that those companies bring to you, you get paid in some cash, and then you also get paid in merchandise, which is great. So all my friends and family were outfitted in, you know, the best Nike gear and, you know, Louisville Slugger batting gloves, Rawling fielding gloves and this, that and the other. And after the second or third year I started realizing well, everybody’s got enough stuff, but all the different camps and facilities we go to, I’m constantly getting requests of hey, we need some gloves, we need shoes, we need this, we need that. So well let’s just take what we have and switch it over, don’t pay me monetarily, pay me in equipment, so we can do that. So it started with them. I’m now with New Balance on the shoe side of things, they’ve been able to take that, accept it, and run with it," said Curtis.
This season Curtis is on track to hit another 20 home runs, as the Mets try to battle their way back to the “Fall Classic”. He says he understands that none of the fame, awards, or money would have been possible without his relationship with Jesus Christ.
“The biggest thing, in terms of having a relationship with Christ is realizing that we are here because of Him. And we get to do these things all because of Him and through Him. And some people look at it and say well, you had more blessings than I did, and that’s not necessarily the case. There’s always going to be trials and tribulations that we always go through. And there’s ups and downs. And the path for you, although it’s going to look different on the outside, it’s still the same path that God has for all of us.”
Shawn: When people see Curtis Granderson on the field what is it you want them to see?
“I want them to see someone that is –has worked hard, didn’t take anything for granted, that was very blessed with the opportunities to do some amazing things and tried to take advantage of all the opportunities that were laid out in front of me. If things went one way to the side, tried my best to get back on track as soon as possible. And be a living example of what Christ can do for you and what Christ has in store for you," said Curtis.