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Kent Bottenfield - 'Take Me Back'

Kent Bottenfield - 'Take Me Back' - The Background Info

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Kent Bottenfield - Take Me Back

Kent Bottenfield - Take Me Back

Before Kent Bottenfield started his music ministry, he was an All Star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who spent 16 years as a pro baseball player. Eight of those 16 years were in the majors with the Cardinals, Cubs, Expos, San Francisco Giants, Angels, Phillies, Astros, and the Colorado Rockies. Kent had to retire in 2001 after a career ending rotator cuff (shoulder) injury.

Kent Bottenfield - 'Take Me Back' - Not Just Chasing After His Glory Days

Some people hear the name Kent Bottenfield and they immediately think "ex-professional All-Star pitcher with a contract for millions," never looking deeper to the years he spent moving around minor league teams trying to catch his big break. After all, our heroes are supposed to have lives that are as near perfect as they can get. Some cynics hear that the very same Kent Bottenfield, who had a career ending injury in 2001, has turned to music, releasing a Christian CD last year, and they automatically think that he is just another former somebody, chasing after the spot-light again. Those people are wrong - dead wrong. Kent Bottenfield has much more substance than just someone who is chasing after fame. All you have to do to come to that conclusion is listen to the lyrics in his music. This is a guy who looks, at first glance, like he had it all ... but you have to look deeper.

The title track on his release, "Take Me Back," paints a very different picture from that of a man with everything. That song looks into the life of a man who had all of the trappings and went through all of the right motions, but on the inside he felt a loss of something that all of the fans, the cheers and ESPN couldn't fill.

Sharing His Soul

    "Where have I gone to, where have I run? Who is this person, that I have become?" ... "At times the truth seems faded, from black and white to gray. Clouded by a circumstance, at times the truth seems to get in the way."

"How Long," "Come to Me" and "Wash Over Me" each add more brush strokes to that picture, to clearly show a man with a God-sized hole inside of his soul. Kent acknowledges that he did feel like he had lost some of his connection to God during that time - when his baseball career was at its peak. "I'm not making excuses - but when you get into that kind of world you can become reliant on yourself. It can be very easy to think that you are something ... that you really are somebody. That can hit some of the strongest Christian people that I've seen. I've seen that happen in the game where they can tend to feel really self-important. I don't think I was characterized by that, but there were certainly times where I felt that. The game feeds it. People always wanting a piece of you, a piece of your time. 'Everybody wants to be around me. Everybody wants to talk to me.' They make you feel important because of what you do, not because of who you are," Kent explained.

The End of an Era and the Beginning of a New Journey

During his recovery from shoulder surgery (not a fun place to be - this I can report from personal experience) the big change came. Months of physical rehabilitation weren't enough to get Kent back into the game. While still in his early 30's he had to decide where he wanted to go with the rest of his life. "I Remember" tells me the story of a man in transition, a man who realized that he had been so busy living his life that the simple truths of childhood had gotten lost in the bustle of the day.

    "It made me think when I was young, I learned You gave Your only Son to set me free. I let my life get in the way..."

That revelation brought back the promises that God has made to all of us ... and Kent expounds on that hope in "Rain" and "Trusting in Love." "A Prayer Away" is the cincher ... from your feet to on your knees. He moves into the grand finale of a man who has truly come home in "Great is Thy Faithfulness," "Amazing Grace" and "You're There."

Easy to Relate

Kent's story isn't all that unique. While there aren't that many people that can say they played on the All-Star team, there are more than a few thousand of us who can say that somehow we lost sight of God in the midst of life. Plenty of us can admit that at some point we stopped looking up and we let circumstances fade our own truths from black and white to gray.

Listen to this album and you'll find yourself able to relate in some way or another to what Kent Bottenfield is talking about. And if you haven't hit your own point of realization of being just "A Prayer Away," maybe this album will be what helps move you to that direction.

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