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For those (like me) who could use some positive news, I bring your attention to The World Series. Specifically, the left fielder for the Texas Rangers – Evan Carter. What a great story.
He’s from our hometown of Elizabethton, Tennessee. He was a classmate of my youngest daughter in high school – they were the can’t miss athletes from their class. She signed for volleyball at Georgetown, he signed for baseball at Duke (when he was a sophomore in high school – Lordy). My kids had his father as a science teacher, and his Mom was the librarian at the junior high school. Evan married his longtime girlfriend (Kaylen) recently – they’ve been dating since the 6th grade. Kaylen was on my daughter’s basketball teams growing up. She was an outstanding point guard – she and my daughter won A LOT of games together, with Evan cheering on from the stands. He’s just a great kid.
He never went to Duke, and instead was drafted in the second round by the Rangers. No one had ever heard of him. He was on nobody’s “Top 500” lists. He is 6’4”, very fast, and an exceptional athlete. He’s famous for having a great eye at the plate (his nickname is “Full Count Carter”). But he was not the best player on his high school team. He has a higher batting average in the Major Leagues than he did in high school. Which makes no sense.
How did the Rangers figure this out when no one else did?
Well, one problem was that Evan’s senior baseball season was only 6 games, due to COVID. Next, the Rangers did have an advantage. Evan’s father was an exceptional athlete, and graduated from Elizabethton high school in 1988. His Elizabethton classmate Danny Clark was also a great athlete. They went to ETSU together, where Carter played defensive back for the football team (no wonder his son is fast), and Clark played baseball. Clark later went into baseball as a career. He is now a scout for the Texas Rangers.
So Clark’s high school buddy from the 80’s calls him up and says essentially, hey – my kid’s really good – you should check him out. And the Ranger scouts liked what they saw. Big athletic kid with freaky speed and great hands. He was also well grounded, extremely hard-working, mature, humble, and valedictorian of his high school class. He’s a devout Christian, and spends a lot of time on Christian charities. He planned to be an endodontist, so he spent his summers shadowing dentists at work, rather than playing in baseball leagues where the scouts were.
Elizabethton is in Carter County, Tennessee. Evan Carter is one of the Carter County Carters. So he’s related to absolutely everybody in the county. It’s hard to overstate just how bonkers Elizabethton is going over their new favorite son. Jason Witten (another Elizabethton High School graduate) is matching contributions to some of Evan’s Christian charities, and they’re raising incredible amounts of money. Everybody is buying Evan’s “Jesus Won” T-shirts, with all the proceeds going to charity.
Two months ago, Evan was playing AA ball for the Frisco Rough Riders. Now, he is one of the best players on a World Series team. His speed on the bases and in the outfield, his rocket arm, and his skill at the plate have led his team through the post season into the World Series. He has reached base safely in every game this post season, which is unheard of.
He turned 21 about 6 weeks ago. And he has somehow managed to stay humble, polite, and gracious to all who want a piece of his time now. I’ve never heard him brag. He deflects praise, credits his coaches and teammates for his successes, and gives thanks to God for his opportunities. In every single interview.
This is not typical behavior for young superstar athletes. I’m not sure how he’s maintained his humility under the bright lights. It’s a credit to how he was raised. He comes from a good family, a good church, and a good school. But still, his humility is remarkable.
So if you think the world is falling apart, and people are simply awful creatures, I suggest you tune into some baseball tonight. Of course, some professional athletes are narcissistic idiots. But not all of them. There are some good people out there. And one of them is playing in the World Series. He has earned our support.