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Looper believes faith can strengthen him under N.Y. spotlight

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (BP)–After winning a World Series as a member of the Florida Marlins last year, Braden Looper finds himself with a new team for a new season.

Looper, who was the closer for much of last season, signed as a free agent with the New York Mets in January. The move to New York will mean much more exposure and scrutiny in the media for Looper, but he’s up to the task.

“I’m still going to be myself, and my faith is obviously something that can help me in that situation,” Looper said at spring training in Florida. “It’s something that I lean on and through tough times — through good and bad — I have my faith and a prayer life I can lean on. I think by having that it’s definitely going to help in those situations.”

A native of Oklahoma, Looper was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1996 amateur draft. He and his family recently moved from south Florida to Palos Heights, Ill., which is his wife’s hometown.

He is actively involved with Honoring the Father Ministries, an organization of professional athletes who spread the Gospel through mission trips, baseball clinics and crusades. When Texas Rangers pitcher R.A. Dickey went on a mission trip to Cuba in January, Looper collected a supply of baseball equipment from the Marlins to send with Dickey for underprivileged children on the island.

Looper will be the Mets’ closer this year, although some have questioned whether he can keep the job. Despite 28 saves and a 3.68 ERA last year, Looper lost the same role in Florida to Ugueth Urbina at the end of the year.

Looper, however, is confident in his ability and is expectant about a larger platform in New York — and the possibilities that platform will provide.

“There’s not a lot I can do about what people say or think,” he said. “I have a very simple outlook on it. I feel like it’s a huge opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for me and my career. The better it is for my career, I feel like it’s a better platform and there will be more people to hear parts of my story.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BRADEN LOOPER.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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