Friday, April 2, 2010




Interview Conducted by Sean Dodds - AngelsWin.com Contributor

Tuesday evening on March 30th, I had the chance to talk with Angels outfield prospect Terry Evans. Evans is hoping to make the Angels roster this spring and with a late surge over the last few games, he may have earned a spot on the 25-man roster. 

While we talked about Baseball and his path to the big leagues, the focus was heavily on his Christian faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Read along with me to get to know the talented outfielder on a much closer and personal level.

AngelsWin: Thank you on behalf of AngelsWin.com for giving us your time and your thoughts.

Evans: No problem.

AngelsWin: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Evans:  I grew up in a small town in Georgia.  I went to a public school all my life, then I transferred to a small private school my freshman year.  It was a Christian school and that is where I first learned about Christ.  I got the knowledge of who Christ was and what He did for me because growing up we were in and out of church.  My parents did horse shows, we trained horses so we went on trips every weekend all over the South.  So anyway, I transferred to a Christian school my freshman year and graduated with 22 people, that's how small we're talking about.  So it was fun, obviously you know everybody and they know you, so it's a close, intimate atmosphere.  We were really good in sports, we won state in football, baseball and runner-up in basketball our senior year.  Then I went to junior college, Middle Georgia Junior College, which was probably 45 minutes from my hometown.  Got drafted by the Cardinals after my first year, didn't sign with them.  Played my second year of college and then signed with the Cardinals after my second year.  I was in the Cardinals organization until 2006 when I was traded to the Angels for Jeff Weaver.

AngelsWin:  Just a follow up, what affect did going to a Christian high school have on your faith?

Evans:  Yeah, I think that's where the foundation was laid.  Yeah, I know for a fact that is where the foundation was laid.  Because like I said, being in and out of church growing up kind of kept me not interested.  So I didn't know much about the Bible, I guess I kind of knew a broad overview, but I didn't understand the sacrifice of Christ or what it meant for me and how it affects my life.  We had Bible class every day.  Then we had chapel on Wednesday and we had some really good speakers.  So that is definitely where I gained the knowledge and understanding of who Christ is and what He did for me.  Sadly I would have to say it wasn't until 6 years later when I realized that it's not enough to just know about Christ and have all that knowledge, it's totally different to know Him intimately and I think actual transformation was later down the road but definitely the foundation was laid at Christian high school.

AngelsWin:  You said that in high school you played many different sports.  When did you single out baseball as your sport?

Evans:  Pretty early, because I actually gave up football completely my senior year of high school and really worked on baseball in the fall.  Dedicated most of my time year-round, I mean, I played basketball still but even during basketball season I was working on baseball because I knew pretty early on that baseball was what I wanted to do.  I still played all the other sports, but most of my time and energy and focus was on baseball. 

AngelsWin:  Is that something that you and your Dad did when you were kids, did you have brothers and sisters that you played with?

Evans:  Certainly; I have one younger sister and we played everything together.  We got along really well.  She's probably a better athlete than I am.  She played soccer in college and she played every sport in high school.  She probably could have played just about any sport in college, but she chose soccer.  But yeah, definitely my Dad was huge in my life as far as there was never a time when he would say no to a game of catch or go throw me some balls and I'd hit.  He was always open to helping me get better and practicing and putting in the time and energy to help me achieve my goals and achieve my dreams basically of playing professional baseball.  I definitely have to give a lot of credit to him.

AngelsWin:  Growing up in Georgia, am I to assume you were a Braves fan?

Evans:  Certainly, of course I was.  I was a huge Braves fan growing up.  I grew up loving, I mean, my first baseball hero was Dale Murphy.  So yeah, huge Braves fan.

AngelsWin: Dale Murphy was a great example to follow.

Evans:  Yeah, I actually got an opportunity to meet him in Salt Lake City in 2008.  He was doing a camp early in the morning and I was working that camp too.  I finally got to meet him and take a picture with him and stuff.  So that was pretty cool.

AngelsWin:  That is cool.  So you had talked about your Dad helping you achieve your dream of becoming a professional baseball player.  Do you remember the moment or a time when you thought to yourself, "You know, I can do this."

Evans:  Strangely enough, and I say strangely enough because I had a lot going against me, I kind of always believed this was what I was going to do.  I didn't see any other thing I was going to do.  I just knew I was going to.  The reason I say strangely is in middle school I was the one that got hit for - they had a DH hit for me in middle school.  I was the only one who didn't get to hit.  I just played second base and they'd hit for me.  Then I was really small, my freshman year I was really small.  But transferring to that private school, since it was a smaller school, there was a lot more opportunity to play there, so I did alright.  Finally I had a really good year my senior year and I went to junior college.  I didn't start my first year there but I still got drafted so I wasn't expecting to get drafted.  Then my eyes opened a little more like "Hey, this could actually happen".  Then I had a really good year my sophomore year in junior college.   And I said, "I think I'm ready to do this".  So I signed and I had a good first year with the Cardinals and that's why I slowly, I always thought I could do it, but then slowly things started happening where my eyes would get wider and wider until I realized you know what, I can do this.

AngelsWin: That's neat.  Many of our readers want to know what life is like in the minor leagues. 

Evans: It would be so hard to sum that up.  There's so many things that come into play in life in the minor leagues.  Obviously the lower you are the harder it is because you are barely making enough money to even pay rent.  Because you aren't making any money in the minor leagues for awhile.  You eat fast food all the time and traveling in hotels that aren't as nice and then as you get higher up in AA and AAA, in AAA we're flying everywhere and staying in nicer hotels.  If you've been on the major leagues roster a little bit you're making enough money to make a good living.  But there's so much that goes into play, I mean even my situation right now, where I'm a player who's out of options so if I don't make this Angels club this year then I can get picked up by any other team.  Then when they pick me up I can end up going to AAA with them.  Just look at me for an example.  In a week I could have me and my entire family packed up and have to move just about anywhere in the country.  And I have to be ready to do that in the next week.  So just the little stuff like that, being on the move, going up and down between the major leagues and AAA, constantly moving your family around, trying to find housing, actually living with other people.  Me and my wife and newborn baby were living with another couple and another guy last year in AAA.  It is definitely interesting.  But one thing all that does is, and the Bible is a prime example of this, the Bible talks about suffering together, minor league life isn't too much suffering but it is alot harder and you grow closer, there are a lot closer relationships throughout the minor leagues because you go through so much together.  It's a little tight knit group when you're on a minor league team.  It's a close family oriented group, you feel like one big family.

AngelsWin: That does make sense.  Speaking of this challenge of making the major leagues, how do you feel your spring training is going so far?

Evans: To be honest with you, I feel like I'm having, this is the best I've felt in spring training probably in my career.  I've never really had a good spring training, I guess I start slow every year.  Spring training's where you're supposed to get a feel for everything.  This is the best I've felt in spring training.  The numbers wouldn't really say that; I think I'm hitting right at .200 right now, but the way I feel at the plate and the at bats - I'm having good at bats.  I'm hitting some balls good, I'm actually very excited about the way I feel at the plate.  I'm very optimistic about how things are going to go this year. 

* Terry Evans is now hitting .289, after hitting .381 in his last 10 games, including a 5-5 performance on March 31st, the day after this interview.

AngelsWin:  Many of us have been following your at bats and hoping you'll do really well.

Evans:  Well good!  Sometimes the marks don't do justice to how good I feel like I'm doing this year.  I feel like I'm working counts well, I'm hitting the ball well, I'm hitting the ball right at people a lot this spring and I think I have 30 something at bats, it's definitely tough to get a feel for how a guys doing if you're only getting judged by 30 at bats.  So I feel very comfortable and like I said very optimistic about how this season's going to go.

AngelsWin:  Those of us that like the stats call that a small sample size. 

Evans:  Yeah exactly. I was telling someone the other day it wouldn't do much justice to look at the 30 at bats I've had at spring training compared to the 1500 at bats I've had in the last three years.  I think I would look at the 1500 at bats instead of the 30.

AngelsWin:  Has the organization been pretty clear about what your chances are of making the team?

Evans:  They've been clear in the fact that they've said  I have a chance.  That's about it.  I feel like I know just as much about where I'm going to end up this year now as I did right before I came into spring training.  I really don't feel like I'm competing with any one person on the team for a spot.  I feel like it just kind of comes down to if they want an extra outfielder, if they want an extra infielder, or possibly an extra catcher, or possibly an extra pitcher.  It just kind of depends on what the team wants at the beginning of the season.  So, hopefully I have enough to offer that they'll want to keep me around.  I definitely think they like me and they like the type of player I am.  I think they know that I can succeed at the big league level and I can definitely contribute to the ball club.  So we'll see.  We will definitely find out something within the next week.

AngelsWin:  You've mentioned spring training is a time to get yourself back in the game, work some things out, and yet at the same time for you and some other guys it's almost in a sense you don't have that time because you are fighting for a spot.  Does that put some extra pressure on you or can you not let that happen.

Evans:  One, I don't think you can let that happen.  Two, I haven't felt any pressure on me.  Like I said, I feel like by now this organization has a pretty good idea of the type of player I am and what I've done since I've been traded over here.  I think it does me more justice to look at what I've done over the past three or four years as opposed to what I've done in 30 or 40 at bats in spring training.  To give them credit, I don't think they are looking at my stats so much as they're looking at my at bats.  They know baseball and they know if a player looks good up there or is scuffling up there and they know sometimes that the ball isn't going to fall your way and that it's tough to judge a player statistically on spring training.  I feel like if I'm putting together some good at bats, I know they've been pleased with the at bats I've had, the way I look up there and I really think they've liked what they've seen.  The pressure hasn't been there.  If I didn't feel good at the plate perhaps there'd be more pressure but I feel good enough up there and I have the confidence that this is going to be a good year.  I'm right where I want to be right now.

AngelsWin:  Great.  So you've been getting some good feedback from the staff?

Evans:  Yes, definitely, good feedback.  I really think they like the player I am and what I have to offer to a ball club.  I just think sometimes it's the business, the cards don't fall your way.  Sometimes there's a need somewhere else.  Sometimes the team's going to need that extra pitcher and they have to sacrifice the extra outfielder to protect your pitching.  If that's the scenario I find myself in here, that's how it works out.  I don't think the statistics for spring training is what their going with.  It's basically what position they need to fill when they make their roster.

AngelsWin: A lot of us just read your blog on E-Fellowship.  We were really impressed!  You're a really good writer, Terry.

Evans: (Laughs).  Well, thanks.  I don't really know what to credit that to if I'm a good writer or not.  I have written a lot through that blog, through e-mails with guys and I'm sure that helps.  I have read a lot of books over the last couple of years.  I've read a lot of C.S. Lewis too and he's a pretty decent writer, so maybe I've picked up from his writing.

AngelsWin:  (Laughs).  Yeah, he might be classified as a pretty decent writer.

Evans:  Yeah, he's pretty decent.  (Laughs)

AngelsWin:  Other than C.S. Lewis, who are some of your other favorite Christian authors?

Evans:  C.S. Lewis would have to be my favorite.  I've actually read recently a couple G.K. Chesterton books and I have another one I'm going to read.  I've read a little bit of "Designing God" by John Piper; I want to finish reading that. 

AngelsWin: I love John Piper.

Evans:  Yeah, I'm a huge John Piper fan.  I listen to his podcast all the time.  Love that guy.  Actually, did you hear he's going to take a leave of absence for the rest of the year from preaching and writing.  He had some stuff he wanted to work out at home.  Francis Chan, "Crazy Love", I think that's a great book.  I loved reading that.  I've read a lot of John MacArthur's stuff.  He's very thorough with the Word.  I haven't read any of his lately.  I've definitely read a lot of his stuff in the past.

AngelsWin:  Other than the blog, are there any other ministries you are involved in?

Evans:  Well, we have the blog, but then we reached out further.  I think five of us, there's five of us that did this outreach where we basically gathered every single contact that we knew that we had access to as far as e-mail addresses.  We all send out this mass e-mail explaining what we're going to do.  We are going to give them a message once a week, to the entire e-mail list that we all composed, the five of us composed, basically not preaching or teaching anything, just sharing what Christ is doing in our lives.  We're going to take turns each week, so this was my week, next week is another guy's.   We just send out these e-mails to however many people are on the list.  We told people off the bat, if you don't want these e-mails then please reply that you don't want them and we'll take your name off the list.  We've been doing that for a year now and there's a pretty big e-mail list.  They get an e-mail from one of these five guys every week.  We've had really good feedback from it.  It kind of stems from the whole blog thing.  We feel like God has a plan for us, some kind of ministry, we're just not sure what it is yet.  This whole thing started with just three guys just trying to keep in touch through e-mail and encouraging each other and it's grown pretty significantly.  So we feel like there's something there.  God's timing is better than our timing.  So who knows what it'll be in the future.  But right now the blog and that mass e-mail that we call E-fellowship Outreach, is pretty much the main ministry stuff we've got going.

AngelsWin:  I imagine moving around so much it is pretty hard to get tied into a church.

Evans:  That's one reason this works so well and appeals to the baseball players because we do move around so much so the blog basically became our small group.  We're gone for so long it's tough to get plugged into a church.  Because right about the time you get plugged in in the off season and you get plugged into a small group, you have to leave.  So this was basically our small group.  We use the internet to keep in touch, keep it going, to talk about different topics.  Sometimes the topics get no comments, sometimes they get 20 comments.  So it's been a really helpful tool for all of us to hold each other accountable, to encourage one another, strengthen one another, help grow in our faith, help arm each other with tools to witness to others, share Christ with others.  It's definitely hard to get plugged into a church, but it's nice to use the Internet for all the right reasons.

AngelsWin:  My wife wants to know, with the kind of travel schedule you have, how do you stay grounded as a Christian and as a husband and father?

Evans:  One, it takes a special women to be able to handle the schedule well.  My wife just goes right in stride with the life of a professional baseball player.  Especially the life of someone who bounces around, up and down, from AAA to the big leagues and she carries it right in stride.  She's my accountability partner, she's strong in her faith, she encourages me and strengthens me. She's not scared to let me know, she's not scared to ground me herself I guess is what I'm saying.  She's not scared to hold me accountable, to bring me back, when I start kind of wandering off or start to get anxious and worried about stuff and not trusting and having enough faith.  She'll call me out on it.  Which is huge for me.  I think in a marriage it is really key to have that third member, to have Christ at the center, and both of you looking to Christ to fulfill you and Christ to lead you in that marriage.  I think that's what helps make it work.

AngelsWin:  Are there any other players or coaches in the Angels organization that you disciple, get discipled by or just fellowship with?

Evans:  I wouldn't say I'm discipline anybody, we've definitely just done a lot of Bible studies together.  I've spent a lot of time with some guys.  Brandon Wood and his fiancĂ© recently got baptized, last Sunday, which was awesome because I've known him ever since I've come over to this organization.  Me and him kind of hit it off - roommates, best friends.  Just to be able to share with him what I've been through in my life and share with him how Christ has transformed my life.  To see that transformation take place in him and his fiancĂ© has been a pretty amazing thing to sit here and watch and witness.  So he's one of the guys, watching him has been really encouraging to me just to watch his faith grow and watch Christ work in him.  Reggie Willits has grown a lot.  When I met him obviously he was a Christian but I feel like since the time we met we've encouraged each other, shaped one another, challenged one another and both have grown tremendously in our faith and trust.  Those two would be my strongest guys that I go to.  Freddy Sandoval is a Christian, a new believer last year.  It's been really exciting to watch the transformation take place in his life.  There's some solid guys on the team that I haven't gotten to fellowship with.  These guys more so because they've been in AAA with me.  Like I said, there's something about AAA that makes things a bit closer, more intimate, more personable.  So I feel like those are the deeper relationships that I have.  There's some solid Christian guys on the Angels big league team.  I'm hoping that I get the opportunity to fellowship more with those guys as well.

AngelsWin:  Sounds to me like you are discipling some people and you have a real cool ministry there.  That's awesome.

Evans:  Yeah, it's been really great.  I remember Brandon asking me, I think it was last year, we were laying in our room, getting ready to go to sleep because we were sharing a room,  "Do you ever wonder if your situation would have been better if you would have never been traded; that there might have been more opportunities somewhere else"?  And I said, "No.  That thought has crossed my mind before but then I remember that God has me right where He wants me.  There's a reason that I've spent three years in AAA with you, Brandon, because look how much you've grown in your faith.  Look how much you've encouraged me in my faith.  We are right where we are supposed to be."  Just to see that and know that and understand that.  It's no more about the big leagues or AAA, minor leagues or major leagues.  You go where God wants you to go and then you glorify Him in that situation, regardless of where it is.  That's kind of where I'm at right now. I don't know where in the country I'm going to be this time next week but I know that I'm going to be right where God wants me to be and I know there's going to be a reason that He placed me there and that reason is to glorify Him in every way I can.  So there's a lot of peace that comes from that because the mission's laid out.  I know what I'm supposed to do.

AngelsWin:  How can the Christians from AngelsWin.com pray for you?

Evans:  First off, basically what I just told you, understanding God's plan, God's sovereignty in a situation like this that I would trust and have faith that wherever I do end up this year, whether in Anaheim or anywhere else that I am there for God's plan and purposes and that I would understand that and I will glorify Him in that.  I will glorify Him regardless if I am succeeding or failing in whatever I'm doing.  For so long I lived under this assumption playing this game as a Christian that I could bring so much glory to God if I'm succeeding and had this high platform.  The more I've grown in my faith I've realized you glorify God a lot through success, but you can glorify God all the more through failure and suffering.  Just basically that, that I would keep the right perspective and that I know God's in control and that God is sovereign.  That I would glorify Him through whatever He has in store for me this season.

AngelsWin:  Right on, you got it.  I promise to do that. 

Evans:  Thanks, I appreciate it.

AngelsWin:  Is there anything else you'd like Angels fans to know about you?

Evans:  Right off the bat I can't think of anything.  I'm sure we'll get off the phone and I'll be thinking of this 20 minutes from now or an hour from now, man I should have said that or I should have said this.  But, one, if anybody wants to be part of the e-mail each week, that would be a good way to get to know more about me because once every five weeks I'm sharing what Christ is doing in my life and sharing what I'm going through.  That's easy access right there.  I don't know how you want to go about doing that, if you want to do that, people are welcome to be a part of that e-mail list that we've composed.  I just have to get e-mails.

AngelsWin:  Yeah, we will definitely put the link to your blog and that opportunity in the article.  Definitely.

Evans: Yeah, I guess that would be the best way to learn more about me and what's going on with me.  None of us are preachers or pastors or anything, we're just five guys who are very passionate about Christ and just want to share with everyone what we go through and we keep it pretty open in general.  If we're struggling or something, we're not scared to admit it.  We'll tell you what we struggle with, how we deal with it, how we go to Christ with it, how Christ fixes it.  I think that's the reason we've had such positive feedback because people like how real it is and people can relate to it very well.

AngelsWin:  Terry, thank you so much for your time.  I really, really appreciate it.  I really do.  I'm not going to say best of luck, but I will say God's will for your life, my brother.

Evans:  Thanks, man.  I really appreciate that.  I'm glad we did this.  Thank you.

You can visit Terry Evans Blog and sign up for email newsletters at E-Fellowship-Daily Bread Blog

If you'd like to become a member of our private AngelsWin.God Christian forum, please register on our message board and send an email to Chuck Richter or Sean Dodds for access. You will have the opportunity fellowship with other Christian Angels fans, post prayer requests and praise reports.
Love to hear what you think!

2 comments:

Louis said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing your faith and putting it out there for all of us to see.

Rick said...

Hey thanks for sharing this interview. I am the Headmaster at Trinity Christian School where Terry graduated and it is exciting to see the Lord working in his life...We keep up with Terry and post articles like this on our school website at www.tcsweb.org

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