Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Devoted to God, baseball

Lorne Korol brings the Word to the Goldeyes' dugout on weekends

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Biblically, Sunday is known as a day of rest. But not for the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who have played every Sunday since the middle of May.

For some players, playing the game they love can come at the expense of worshipping the God they love, as Sunday games are often scheduled for the early afternoon, and precede a lengthy bus trip.

That's where Lorne Korol steps in.

"The profile of these players poses a significant challenge for them to stay close to God," said Korol, who is serving in his eighth season as the Goldeyes' chaplain. "There's always people who want something from them, whether it's money, or whether it's a part of their fame, whether it's people who want to be in a relationship with them. There are tremendous struggles and pressures on professional athletes outside of the field. They're probably safest on that field."

The Goldeyes participate in the non-denominational, Christian-based Baseball Chapel organization, which has chapters in major- and minor-league organizations in eight countries. Each chapter receives the same set of English and Spanish study notes, so players can continue their studies if they move to different teams.

"If one of my players moves up to another level, (they keep) the patterns that we're studying," said Korol. "They'll get that theme continuity."

That continuity even extends to Canwest Park, as Korol holds chapel with both the Goldeyes and the visitors before Saturday games.

"(We do it) right in the dugout. We like to do it in their environment," said Korol, who said that attendance ranges from about five to eight Goldeyes. "Our motto with Athletes in Action is 'we bring church to the ballpark.'

"I've been welcomed to this club year in, year out, and I've never experienced guys who turn their back on me when I walk into the dressing room."

Korol said that his ministry extends beyond the Christian players, and his "core players" help extend the ministry's message.

"I instruct them not to hit them (other players) over the head with a Bible, but (teach) by their actions and by their love," said Korol. "Coming around a player when he's down, you don't have to quote any Scripture verses, but just come around and love him."

Goldeyes catcher Dustin Richardson is the chapter's player representative, and he appreciates the opportunity that the services afford him.

"You have certain needs that you want met, and it's important to grow spiritually," said Richardson. "That's what we're aiming to do when we hear the Word from Lorne."

Korol, who has been involved with Athletes in Action for the past 10 years, is no stranger to the ballpark, having been executive director of Baseball Manitoba from 1995-99.

"It's my second tour of duty in baseball," said Korol. "By far, this has been the most fulfilling experience I've had in baseball."

Korol is a full-time chaplain, and is in his second year with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He will also work with the Manitoba Moose beginning in the fall.

daniel.falloon@freepress.mb.ca

Flyers 7 Goldeyes 3

For the second straight night, early inning troubles sent the Winnipeg Goldeyes (45-28) to a loss at the hands of the Schaumburg Flyers (33-42).

The Fish gave up runs in the second and third innings Saturday to trail 4-1, a deficit from which they were unable to recover. In both of those innings, Goldeyes starter Andrew Cruse was unable to retire the first three Flyer batters.

Cruse escaped the second with only one run allowed, an RBI single off the bat of Felix Jose, but started the third with a pair of walks and a triple, leading to a trio of Schaumburg tallies.

On the other side, the only major blemish against Flyers starter Dustin Glant was a Brent Metheny solo shot in the fourth, after which Glant retired 12 Goldeyes in a row.

Down 7-2, the Goldeyes appeared ready to rally in the eighth, loading the bases with no outs. However, Winnipeg was only able to push across a single run, with Dustin Richardson plating on a Juan Diaz sacrifice fly.

The Goldeyes will try to avoid the sweep as they face the Flyers this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Winnipeg's Bill Pulsipher (1-0) is scheduled to face Schaumburg's Alain Quijano (3-4).

--Daniel Falloon

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2009 C3

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