Sometimes the road back home is a long and arduous one.
Mike Dunn was born in Farmington, New Mexico. He spent the first 17 years of his life there, where he attended Piedra Vista High School. His journey away from home began in 2003 when he moved to Nevada for his senior year of high school; a move designed to get him in front of professional scouts while playing for Cimarron-Memorial High School in Las Vegas. The moved worked! In 2003, he was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 14th round of the draft.
He didn’t sign.
Instead, he enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada in Henderson. In 2004, he was drafted again, this time by the New York Yankees in the 33rd round. He was the 999th player selected. He signed with the Yankees, making his debut in the Gulf Coast league in Florida and was promoted to the Staten Island Yankees. In 2007, he pitched in Charleston, South Carolina and in 2008 he played minor league ball in both Tampa and Trenton, New Jersey. In 2009, he was promoted to AAA, bringing him to Scranton, PA, and finally, in September, he made it all the way up to New York to make his major league debut for the Yankees. After the 2010 season, Dunn was traded to the Marlins, whom he played for through the 2016 season.
Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. 5 states; none of them home. As his baseball career moved him across the country, to Dunn, the Southwest would always be home. He told the Farmington Daily Times; “I come back all the time. Of course, I lived there my whole life, so I had a lot of friends there. I come back to Farmington at least two, maybe three times every off-season.”
In 2016, that would all change. Dunn signed a 3-year deal with the Colorado Rockies, who play about 380 miles from Farmington. Colorado is rarely the top destination for pitchers, and Coors Field is famous for inflating pitcher’s statistics, due largely to the high altitude. For Dunn, though, Colorado was the top choice. He explained; “It was probably the one destination spot I wanted to go, based on the team they had, but also close to home. Once Colorado got involved, I told my agent ‘let’s really try to push this,’ and if not, we were gonna go back to the other guys.”
It was a long road, but the game of baseball finally brought Dunn back home.
In the Bible, Jesus talks about another road that leads us home. The Greek word “odos,” means road, though it is often translated as way. Jesus says that He is the road; the only path that one can take to make it to our heavenly home. Jesus says in John 14:6; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
This is one of Mike Dunn’s favorite Bible verse. He told Rob Maadi in the book “Baseball Faith:” “In one little sentence, Jesus tells you there’s no other way to heaven except through Him. No one can boast. No one is better than anyone else. Everyone is made the same in God’s eyes. Everyone is equal, no matter your race, gender, or anything. It’s about doing what you can for the Lord while you’re here on earth. Jesus will get you to heaven. The road to hell is wide. It’s an interstate, fifteen lanes wide. The road to heaven is one way… It’s right there in the Bible. You can’t earn your way to heaven. The only way is to go through Jesus. He took the punishment for us. We’re all sinners. It’s our nature. Repent, ask for forgiveness, and you will be saved.”
Jesus truly is the only way to heaven. We can’t earn our way into eternal paradise through our good works or by being a good person. It’s only by admitting that we are sinners and relying on the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross on our behalf that can take away our sins. Faith in Him is the only way to heaven and the only road home.