This summer FCA sat down with Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher and 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to talk about his faith and why he plays the game. The finished video is available at www.fca.org and below, but we also wanted to share more great insights from the hard-throwing southpaw that didn’t make the final cut in this unedited video transcript.
Los Angeles Dodger Clayton Kershaw – Unedited Video Transcript – 7.25.12
FCA: Walk us through your pre-pitch routine. What do you focus on?
KERSHAW: “My pre-pitch routine is pretty simple. I’m not trying to do too much. I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible. Trying to think about what pitch I want to execute and then looking at the glove and throwing the pitch with full intensity. I’m not trying to aim it or think about anything else other than the glove.”
FCA: What happens when you start to over-think your pitch?
KERSHAW: “When you start to over-think it, negative thoughts creep into your head. You don’t want to think about anything other than executing the pitch.”
FCA: You won the Cy Young award last year. Can you reflect on that? Has the reality of it set in?
KERSHAW: “Winning the Cy Young Award is obviously something I never thought I’d be able to do or to be in the same sentence with some of those guys that have won the Cy Young Award. It definitely caught me off guard, and I never thought it would be possible. It’s very humbling to be able to have that award. And I don’t know if it will ever set in. Maybe when I’m retired and can look back it will.”
FCA: What does it mean to you to be a member of the LA Dodgers?
KERSHAW: “To get to be a part of the Dodgers is special. Obviously the history there. And then when you start thinking about some of the other pitchers – even just left-handed pitchers – Sandy Koufax is obviously been a mentor to me. I have a lot of respect for what he did on the field. Fernando Valenzuela and Oral Hershiser… all these other guys that have pitched well for the Dodgers and taken them to World Series. It’s a special group to be a part of.”
FCA: What’s it like being a Christian in Los Angeles and living out your faith?
KERSHAW: “Living in LA as a Christian in awesome. LA is a great city. I love to be there. At the same time, it’s whatever you want it to be. I think you can make your own life there. There’s so many opportunities in LA. I think that’s part of the problem too. There are so many distractions that can take you away from Christ. You just have to keep your life centered and everything else will fall into place.”
FCA: How is your faith reflected on the field?
KERSHAW: “My faith on the field is reflected in my competitive nature. Off the field you can relax and be the same old guy. But you have to flip the switch when you’re on the field. But when you’re out there – working at it with all your heart. As working for God and not for men. It’s one of my favorite Bible verses and I think that resonates a lot with me when I’m out on the field. You got to work at it. God gave you the ability to do it, and the only thing that’s in your control is the work part. So that’s what I try and control.”
FCA: How does your faith allow you to be a leader on the team?
KERSHAW: “I think getting to play baseball and the blessing that it is to get to go play everyday is a platform to incorporate yourself with a lot of different people who think baseball’s cool. Fans of the game. If you tell them you’re a follower of Christ, a Christian, things like that …it can resonate with people a little more just because of the platform that you do have. For me, talking about it is one thing, but living it is the most important.”
FCA: How do you handle the pressure of performance and being a MLB pitcher?
KERSHAW: “There’s definitely pressure involved in this game. How you handle it is what makes you the player you are. Every player is dealing with it. We get paid to play the game. It’s part of it. It’s our job to succeed out there and it’s never easy to fail. But at the same time, how you handle it says a lot about your character. You really have to love to compete. You have to go out there and really love to compete and at the end of the day have no regrets. Whether you have a good game or bad game – you have to go out there and compete.”
FCA: How does your faith help you endure loss or defeat?
KERSHAW: “You’re always going to struggle. I got sent back down to the minor leagues after my first game up. There are always periods of your life where you’re going to struggle. Obviously baseball is just a small part of my life. In the grand scheme of things, people are going through a lot bigger things in their lives – you have to keep in perspective when things aren’t going well.
The other way you do it is you have no regrets. I think no excuses either. You go out there in the four days in between your starts and you prepare the best you possibly can for your start and if it doesn’t go your way the fifth day when you pitch at least you know everything you could to succeed. And it just didn’t work out that day.”
FCA: You and your wife are passionate about missions. Tell us about your heart for Zambia.
KERSHAW: “Zambia was something [my wife] Ellen was passionate about. She really felt the calling to get there. Really felt a calling for those kids once she got over there. I had always supported her through it I had never seen it with my own eyes. When I finally got to go over there, I got to understand what she was talking about. It’s just amazing the culture over there – they’re joyful.
In America we don’t feel like we need Christ because we have all these things provided for us. That’s what such a big difficulty in our world. But then you go over to a third-world country like Africa and they’re just so desperate for something to cling on to for their faith. So they hear about Jesus and it just clicks for them – just makes sense. It’s a really cool thing to see.”
FCA: How has FCA poured into your life?
KERSHAW: “FCA for me was awesome. It was a great way to have some fellowship with my buddies in high school and getting together everyday or every week in high school. Sitting down and talking about God. We had such an awesome group in high school – about 100 people cramming into houses. It’s cool to all come together and realize playing sports and being an athlete is a blessing that we didn’t do anything to deserve. God blessed us with that. It was cool thing to be able to do in high school and a big part of my faith.”
FCA: What do you think God is teaching you about YOURSELF?
KERSHAW: “What God is teaching me about my life is a lot. First and foremost is He is in control of it, which is sometimes hard for me to grasp at times. I can only try to live by His will. Sometimes I try to stray from that; sometimes I try and control things by myself instead of putting my trust in him. I think He’s teaching me to let go of the reigns a little bit – give Him complete access to my life. Definitely something I struggle with at times but I’m learning to trust him a little bit more.”
FCA: What’s God teaching you about HIMSELF?
KERSHAW: “He’s all powerful, He brings joy to my life, pain to my life, struggle to my life – all for a purpose. Instead of trying to figure all of that out on my own on my timing, He’s teaching me that I’m on His timing. It’s a blessing when you do figure it out. At the same time, it’s not always easy to figure out.”
FCA: What do you hope your legacy will be?
KERSHAW: “Well, my legacy… I hope it’s more than baseball. I hope I have a lasting impact. At the same time, I hope I get to play baseball for a long time. I love it. I hope I get to do a ton of different things with that. But I hope it opens up a lot of different avenues that wouldn’t be easily accessible without baseball.”
For more on Clayton Kershaw from FCA check out the following links:
Clayton Kershaw Video (Sept. 2012): http://fcaresources.com/video/fca-interview-los-angeles-dodger-clayton-kershaw
Clayton Kershaw Video Devotional (Sept. 2012): http://fcaresources.com/devotional/2012/09/06/all-his-heart
FCA Magazine Poster (May 2011): http://fcaresources.com/wallpaper/clayton-kershaw
FCA Magazine Story (July 2012): http://whyplay.org/clayton-kershaw/
2012 MLB All-Star Game FCA Why Play? Video (July 2012): http://youtu.be/kYKJnFbAaxk