Jeremy Affeldt's father was career Air Force, which meant a lot of moving around. When Jeremy was in second grade, the Affeldts were living in Guam. On a vacation to Thailand, Affeldt was walking ahead of his father when a man grabbed his arm and tried to pull him into a building. Only years later did the Giants left-hander understand what was happening. He believes he was being kidnapped to be sold into sex slavery. Affeldt uses that anecdote as the entree to his book, "To Stir a Movement," a rare writing by an active athlete who felt compelled to explain who he is and how he got there, and why he leaped into the fights against human trafficking and slavery, and world hunger. "To Stir a Movement" is not Affeldt's paean to himself or a bid for sainthood. To the contrary, the soon-to-be 34-year-old devotes much of this quick read to listing all the ways he was a horrible human being. It sometimes reads like part of a behavioral 12-step recovery program. Affeldt struggled for acceptance in high school. He once tried to punch one of his big-league managers, only to be saved by a teammate. He blamed others for his struggles. Mostly, he judged people harshly, including friends, relatives, teammates, street people and gays. It took guts for a San Francisco athlete to admit, as Affeldt does in the book, that he disliked gays, a feeling he now looks upon with great regret. Affeldt endured many trials as a baseball player, too, and fans might find those stories to be the most interesting part of the book. He provides a clear window into the rocky journey through the minors and even the majors. "I wanted to show that part of baseball because the pain that I went through in baseball allowed me to be successful," Affeldt said in an interview. "When you fail, you learn so much on how to succeed. Now you respect the game differently. You respect where you're at differently. In the process of that game, I was taught how to be a good human being. "I wanted to show how baseball wasn't always as glamorous as it looks for some people. I also wanted to show how baseball truly showed me how to love my neighbor as I love myself, that succeeding in baseball itself would not give me joy as some might think it would. "My joy comes from the things I get to do because I have the platform of baseball. The things I do because of that platform is why I continue to want to play this game." Affeldt writes that he found happiness only when he learned not to judge. Those pages contain a lot of references to God and Jesus, which will cause some to roll their eyes. But the book is not preachy.
How baseball helped Affeldt grow in life
San Francisco Chronicle | May 25