Sometimes God Uses Baseball for His Glory
By Tom Rust
When Ryan Gennett was 4 years old, he tended to unhook his seat belt from his car
seat in the back of the car. One time after doing this, his frustrated mother drove to the
police station in hopes that a lecture from the man in blue would solve the problem.
When the officer asked young Ryan his name, he called himself Scooter, a name his
mother had never heard. He had named himself after one of the Muppet babies.
Today Scooter Gennett is making a name for himself again as the second baseman for
the Cincinnati Reds. When Scooter was 9 years old, his family made a life altering
move. The family moved from their home in Lebanon, Ohio, to Sarasota, Florida.
Scooter, a die-hard Reds fan along with his dad, was asked by his father if he was
serious about baseball. When he said that he was, his father said they would move to
Florida to, in Scooter’s words, “really embrace it, play every day, and learn how to play
the game.”
And the young man did not disappoint. Playing for Sarasota High School, he was an allstar
and earned a scholarship to Florida State University. However, the Milwaukee
Brewers also made an offer, and in 2009, he signed to play in their minor league system
Gennett got to the majors in 2013 and played well for the Brewers through the 2016
season. But at the end of that year, Gennett’s lifelong dream came true, when he was
picked up by the Cincinnati Reds. He began to flourish, especially in hitter friendly Great
American Ball Park, the Reds home. On June 6, 2017, he had a night every hitter
dreams about. Against the St. Louis Cardinals, he had five hits, four home runs and 10
RBI’s, becoming the first player in major league history to accomplish that feat.
But another event in 2013 was even more important. At a Pro Athlete’s Outreach
Conference, Scooter accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized. It wasn’t an easy
decision. He had grown up in the Catholic church, and had heard about Jesus, but
couldn’t “connect the dots.” A teammate offered to sponsor him for the conference, and
after running out of excuses, he reluctantly went. As he told me during an interview in
the Red’s dugout one afternoon, “It was a life changing experience. Getting baptized
and asking God to come into my life was huge. It was an amazing journey,” he told me,
” but it wasn’t easy at first. I learned that I needed to grow and to do that I need to stay
in the Word (the Bible)”
Since then, Scooter has become outspoken in his love for the Lord. He says a prayer
every time he steps into the batter’s box. He also draws the fish symbol in the dirt while
waiting to hit in the on-deck circle. This draws curious stares from fans and teammates
and opens the door to tell them about Jesus. He takes every opportunity to let people
know that Jesus controls every aspect of his life, including the four-home run night.
Even teammate Joey Votto mentioned there was something unusual about the way the
ball was hit and left the park. Scooter admits that sometimes God uses baseball for his
To emphasize Scooter’s permanent love for the Lord, he got his first tattoo on the day
he was picked up by the Reds. It is the scripture verse, II Timothy 1:7 which says, “For
God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and of self-control.” As he
says, “it’s always on my arm. I always have it with me. Having it on my arm every day is
a great reminder to always keep my eyes on Him.”