Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson was recently named to the American League All-Star team for the upcoming MLB All-Star Game, which will be played Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City.
Masterson, a Pilot standout from 2003-2005, currently ranks in the top 10 in seven pitching categories, including 1st in all of the MLB in games started (20), decisions (17), and shutouts (3). He also ranks 2nd in complete games with 3, 4th in innings pitched with 135 and 5th in Strikeouts with 137. The All-Star rosters were announced on July 6th and Masterson was informed that day as they prepared for a game with their Central Division rival Detroit. "Terry Francona called me into the office acting as if he wanted to talk about the game the night before and then asked if I would feel better if I had made the All-Star team," said Masterson. "In my mind I was just preparing to head home for a couple days and get a little breather, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that I would be an All-Star."
Though Masterson's All-Star selection has surely taken his professional status to another level, he shines even more off the field where he continues to live out his faith in Christ in an active and open way – something that doesn't always bode well in the community of professional athletes. "We do have some other guys who are open and active in their faith and quite a few who are seeking, where you can tell that the Holy Spirit is working on their hearts," said Justin. "But there is always opposition to living out and speaking for Christ no matter what your profession. Usually in the professional athlete realm people will try and call you soft or accuse you of not trying hard enough because they think you are weak. For some reason, people like to mistake kindness for weakness. This takes place just as much anywhere, it's just that more people are able to see it in my profession."
As Masterson readies himself for his first All-Star appearance, he remains grounded in his faith and has fond memories of his Bethel days that began nearly a decade ago in the fall of 2003, a time where he not only dominated from the pitcher's mound but was also very active in the campus community. "I remember playing on some of the greatest baseball teams in Bethel history with some of the best players I have ever played with," said Masterson. "I enjoyed announcing during my freshman year for our baseball games when I wasn't pitching, but enjoyed even more doing announcing for the Lady Pilots basketball team – trying to do some of my best NBA JAM impressions while still being somewhat professional. I think the ladies enjoyed it just as much as I did," added Masterson. "One my greatest memories of my time at Bethel was the group of individuals I met who became my good friends. Many of those people are still some of my best friends today. Yet still, THE greatest would be meeting Meryl, my bride of 5 years."
Masterson and his wife Meryl have been very active in serving their immediate community through countless opportunities of outreach, including the Cleveland Indians Charities but are also sharing their faith in Christ and love of his people around the globe with recent missions trips to the Dominican Republic and an upcoming trip with Bright Hope to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. "Meryl and I have received many blessings in this life and strongly believe that to whom much is given much is expected," said Masterson.
Masterson recently shared his story of faith in a chapel service at Bethel with a message and challenge to the Bethel students. "Life is not easy nor is it promised to be easy. But we have one who comes alongside us and no matter what we do, what we did, or what we are going to do will always love us and comfort us. Let Christ define who you are, we are his children no matter how we look, feel, what our job is, or whatever people may say to us."
One of the key components of the Bethel College Athletics Mission Statement is to assist in producing and equipping student athletes for lifelong service, so that they may influence their teams, the campus and ultimately their world for Christ.
Justin Masterson is an All-Star – but we've all known that for quite a while.