"It's a Lousy Night to be an Atheist"

Last night Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton lived out an actual dream, a scene that undoubtedly earned a standing applause in Heaven and simultaneously shook the gates of hell.

In the winter of 2006 Josh had a dream – the kind Joseph of the Bible had. Keep in mind at the time of his dream Josh was still banned from Major League Baseball because of drug abuse and had no knowledge of which team would be hosting the 2008 All-Star festivities and Home Run Derby.

Josh dreamed that he was taking part in a Home Run Derby, in Yankee Stadium.

"I was at the plate, I saw all the guys sitting around and then I was at the plate walking toward them and actually a lady came up and interviewed me," Josh said. "I was able to show everybody how I was there, why I was there and that was because of God's grace."

All of that happened last night – and a lot more.

“It’s a lousy night to be an atheist,” said famous sports journalist Rick Reilly during the broadcast of the Home Run Derby on ESPN.

Josh Hamilton indeed participated in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium – the last one that will ever be held there as the Yankees will move into a new stadium next year. He hit 28 home runs in the first round – 28! He hit home runs on 13 consecutive, 16-of-17, 20-of-22 and 22-of-25 swings. The next closest competitor hit eight in the first round. Josh’s home runs weren’t cheap either. They were the upper-deck, 500-foot monster variety that traveled a combined two-and-a-half miles.

At the conclusion of the Home Run Derby, Erin Andrews, a female reporter for ESPN, pulled Josh aside for an interview.

"It's amazing in the past few years what God has done in my life and how quickly he has done it," Josh told Andrews. ““I just really want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all of this. I just want to glorify him.”

“In my dream I didn’t know how many home runs I hit or if I won or anything like that and you know why, it’s because God don’t care about all that stuff,” said Josh as he spoke with former Seattle Mariners All-Star second baseman Harold Reynolds. “All he cares about is me being here. In my dream I got to share Christ with people and tonight that’s exactly what I did.”

Josh’s story is a blockbuster movie waiting to happen. If you’ve seen The Natural, Josh is a real life Roy Hobbs. Drafted #1 overall in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Rays, Josh got a $4 million signing bonus and was labeled a can’t-miss prospect. He started hanging around a tattoo parlor in Bradenton, Florida and everything went downhill from there. His life centered on alcohol and cocaine. In 2004 he was banished from baseball. Here’s a couple of links that do a pretty good job of telling his story:

Sports Illustrated Cover Story from June 2008

ESPN.com - Hope is Never Lost

I met Josh and his wife Katie last year in Cincinnati when Josh was playing for the Reds. They shared their story as part of our Faith Day event with the Cincinnati Reds. Lord willing, they’ll have the opportunity to share their story again this year before our event with the Texas Rangers and MercyMe on August 2 in Dallas.

Almost there,

Brent High, Executive Director
Third Coast Sports Foundation

Third Coast Sports Foundation is a non-profit ministry based in Nashville, Tennessee that organizes "Faith Day" events with professional sports teams. These Christian outreach events feature full concerts by nationally-recorded music artists including MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman and Jeremy Camp as well as testimonies from professional athletes like Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros, John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves and Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. The events are made possible through donations and sponsorships by individuals and businesses.

2008 Remaining Events

7/24 Ft. Wayne Wizards featuring Hawk Nelson
7/25 South Bend Silver Hawks featuring Hawk Nelson
7/26 Akron Aeros featuring Hawk Nelson
7/27 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers featuring Hawk Nelson
7/28 West Michigan White Caps featuring Hawk Nelson
7/30 Mississippi Braves featuring Hawk Nelson
8/2 Atlanta Braves featuring Steven Curtis Chapman
8/2 Texas Rangers featuring MercyMe
8/10 Colorado Rockies featuring Steven Curtis Chapman
8/14 Frisco RoughRiders featuring Hawk Nelson
8/16 Houston Astros featuring Steven Curtis Chapman
8/16 Tucson Sidewinders featuring Hawk Nelson
8/17 Cincinnati Reds featuring MercyMe
8/20 Fresno Grizzlies featuring Hawk Nelson
8/22 High Desert Mavericks featuring Hawk Nelson
8/23 Kansas City Royals feat. Natalie Grant & Chris Sligh
8/27 Modesto Nuts featuring Hawk Nelson
9/6 Minnesota Twins artist TBA

For more information on any of these events visit www.thirdcoastsports.org or call 1-888-456-0451.

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