Michael Chavis ready for challenge of balancing baseball, beliefs


It was one of Michael Chavis' welcome to the big leagues moments.

The rookie already had his first major league hit -- managed one day before at Tropicana Field -- when the spotlight of being a member of the Red Sox hit home in a completely different manner. 

Chavis' religious beliefs and approach toward discussing them on social media had started a buzz on social media. It was the kind of conversation that jumps up a level once a player hits the top level of their craft, as the 23-year-old found out.

“Real talk” I’ll use my platform and opportunity however I please. Why is it required to respect other religions but not Christianity? If I can respect your personal ignorance then you can respect my religious beliefs. I’ll say a prayer for you and your internal battles.God bless https://t.co/8dmBY8OVPn

— Chief Chavis™ (@MichaelChavis11) April 22, 2019

My comment wasn’t “not Christian” it was a personal opinion which luckily us Christians are also allowed to have. I love God, my family, and baseball. If my number one interrupts number three for you then that’s not something I can help you with unfortunately https://t.co/R02IXJ5JFV

— Chief Chavis™ (@MichaelChavis11) April 22, 2019

While Chavis clearly just wanted to fit into the Red Sox' clubhouse, while contributing on the field for his new team (which he did once again with a solo homer in the Sox' Game 2 loss to the Tigers Tuesday night), he wasn't about to back off his approach and beliefs he feels built his foundation for success.

That much was clear when talking about his balance of living life as a rookie big leaguer and Christian with WEEI.com Tuesday morning.

"It can upset some people which personally I don’t really understand," Chavis said. "I think somebody’s faith is their personal thing, obviously. Given the platform that I have been given, this opportunity, I think it would be a waste if I didn’t use it to try and spread the word. I’m not going to be some kind of missionary where I’m pushing it on everybody and shoving it in their face. But I think the way I carry myself and the way I go about my business in praising the Lord I think I just focus on it. It’s not something that I’m trying to push. Like I said, I’m not trying to force it on people. I think it’s something I try and show in how I do my stuff. I’m not trying to be John the Baptist or anything like that. I just want to show that if I’m in this position if I can bring one or two people to Christ and show there is a different light in me I think that would be a big difference."

Chavis' approach to spreading the world of Christianity isn't anything new, as is evident by the tweet he has pinned on the top of his account since March 1, 2015.

The phrase "do not be afraid" is written in The Bible 365 times. That's a daily reminder from God to live every day fearless.

— Chief Chavis™ (@MichaelChavis11) March 2, 2015

But considering the delicate balance that is a baseball clubhouse, and all the personalities and background that inhabit it, Chavis understands this won't all be simply about what he wants. 

While there are other players on the Red Sox deeply rooted in faith - such as Sandy Leon, Nathan Eovaldi and Jackie Bradley Jr. - the Major League Baseball environment isn't always conducive to prioritizing religious beliefs. (For an excellent article on that dynamic, click here.) It's a balance, one which Chavis is ready to embrace.

"It’s kind of a tough area for me right now being the new guy and trying to find my spot in the clubhouse. I don’t want to be a distraction for anybody," Chavis said. "I’m still going to use my platform to praise God and it’s going to be part of my life. That’s not going to change. I just have to make sure this doesn’t become a distraction that shows up in the clubhouse. Obviously, there are other Christian guys in the organization and in the clubhouse as well. I think the focus should be on baseball and winning ballgames."

There are, of course, Christian athletes who have come before Chavis who the infielder can lean on. Most notably, Tim Tebow.

Chavis was barely a teenager when Tebow was winning a National Championship as the quarterback for the Florida Gators. He was well aware of Tebow's faith, which was routinely surfaced due to the "3:16" he was putting on his eye black (the Bible verse was subsequently searched for on the internet more than ever before) and Tebow's propensity to kneel in prayer after each touchdown.

So when Chavis got a chance to meet Tebow this year while their respective Triple-A clubs were playing it only buoyed the Red Sox' prospects beliefs.

"He’s a role model of mine," Chavis said. "It's kind of cool I got a chance to play against him. I know there are some people who aren’t fans of him but I’m a fan of him, I’m not going to lie. I think the way he handles himself, it’s not only professional but is a great example of a Christian man. A lot of people hear about him they don’t want to believe or say it’s fake, but while I won’t say he’s my best friend being around him I think he’s a pretty genuine person.

"(Meeting Tebow) was honestly a big moment for me. He’s a role model for me as a Christian. He handles his business and he goes about it the right way. He praises God in everything he does and he doesn’t let anything else deter him."

Now Chavis views it as his turn.