Lending a Helping Hand

By Mike Crocker

The following story ran in the Aug. 17-22 issue of D-backs Insider

It’s Sunday morning and Brian Hommel is preparing for the first of his three services of the day. It’s 10:25 a.m. and his congregation starts to enter the conference room. Fifty
minutes later he closes the service with prayer and heads down the hall to lead two more services in two more different rooms before his day is over. There are no pews or stained glass windows for Hommel; he is the D-backs’ chaplain and his sanctuary is spread throughout the lower level of Chase Field.

The same scene takes place around the professional baseball landscape.

“What happens on a Sunday with Baseball Chapel is every Major and minor league team has a chaplain for their team,” Hommel said. “I’ll do a message for the
home team, visiting team and then I will go and meet with the umpires. It’s like doing three services for a small and unique group of people.”

He also teaches a midweek Bible study during homestands and performs other pastoral duties such as marriage counseling, discipleship and any other issues that come up in life.
A former left-handed pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers’ system from 1995-99, Hommel is employed by the baseball ministry Unlimited Potential, Inc. (UPI). He explained his transition
from being in uniform to his post-playing career.

“When I was playing, UPI took three to four baseball players on mission’s trips,” Hommel said. “We worked with missionaries and put on baseball clinics and used that to share about
Jesus. So in 1996 I went on a trip with UPI to Ireland. I loved it, so when I got done playing I told them that I would really like to come on staff with them and they hired me in 2001.”

Being a former player he can relate with the challenges of the game.

“It’s a game based on failure and whoever fails the least is the most successful but it is still failure,” he said. “There is a grind on that and I try to prepare
them mentally and try to give them a biblical approach on how to play the game. I try to help the guys to put the game in perspective because this is just a season in their
life. My job is to equip these guys with positive attitude and grow in the faith.”

One player that carries that attitude is relief pitcher Blaine Boyer, who spent 14 days in Triple-A Reno earlier this season.

“I came to the conclusion that I was taking a lot of things for granted,” Boyer said. “On the track of learning to pitch better, it was more of a God time for me. I came back rejuvenated not
only as a pitcher but as a man of Jesus.”

Although Hommel never recorded any official wins or saves in the Majors he is making a valuable contribution to the D-backs.

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