BASEBALL IS LIFE IS BASEBALL!

baseball diamond

   Today, February 11, 2013, pitchers and catchers report to SPRING TRAINING!. So, you see, Spring is just around the corner, in spite of the 12+ inches of snow we see out our windows. In Fact, for New England Baseball Fans who make up RED SOX NATION, Spring has already sprung on February 5th, TRUCK DAY, when the equipment truck left FENWAY “PAUK” and headed for Fort Myers, Florida. Baseball is my “first love,” then comes football, hockey, and basketball. Baseball is very special to me, because it reminds me of life and life reminds me of baseball. To take it one step further, baseball reminds me of both my own personal journey with God and the Christian Church as a whole. In all three I see God’s grace demonstrated, and for that I am eternally grateful! I invite you to enter Lyd’s Look on Life, through the eyes of a follower of Christ and baseball fan and discover how Baseball is Life is Baseball (This would make a cool T-shirt). Enter at your own risk. See how many of these characteristics of the Baseball World ring true in your own Christian experience or your own life in general. In order to understand how I see it, you need to read in between the lines.

Baseball, Life, and the Christian journey all have the same kind of conglomeration of similarities and differences that somehow work together in the grand scheme of things. In one way or another baseball and the Christian Church (two perfect institutions that are both God‘s ideas, in my humble opinion) remain alive and well, even though both are made up of imperfect human beings. One of my friends describes it well, “Life [including baseball and the Church] would be perfect, if it weren’t for the people.” Here goes:

“PLAY BALL!” AND POSTPONEMENTS

STRIKEOUTS AND HOMERUNS

BUNTS AND BOMBS

BLOOP HITS AND LONG BALLS

BLOW-OUTS AND NO-HITTERS

FASTBALLS, CURVEBALLS, KNUCKLBALLS,  CHANGE-UPS, SPLITTERS AND SLIDERS

GROUNDOUTS AND SEEING-EYE SINGLES

WALKS AND RUNS

CATASTROPHIC ERRORS AND SPECTACULAR PLAYS

DOUBLEPLAYS AND DOUBLE-BAGGERS

STEROIDS, STEALS, AND SACRIFICES

SCANDALS, PLAYERS’ STRIKES, AND THE GAME THAT HEALS AND UNITES

(during WWII and after 9/11)

GAME-ENDING FLY BALLS AND WALK-OFF HOMERUNS

CURSES AND MIRACLES

SUPERSTITIONS, ROUTINES, REHAB, WARM-UPS AND PREPERATION

ABNER DOUBLEDAY AND THE MIGHTY CASEY AT THE BAT

MUDVILLE AND COOPERSTOWN

COOPERSTOWN, NY AND PITTSFIELD, MASS

S. WILLIAMSPORT, PA. AND LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES, FIELDS OF DREAMS

INFIELD DIRT AND BASEBALL DIAMONDS

BASE BAGS AND HOME PLATES

FOUL POLES AND FAIR BALLS

TOBACCO-SPIT-STAINED DUGOUTS AND PRESTINELY MANICURED OUTFIELDS

BASEBALL CATHEDRALS AND AMERICA’S MOST BELOVED BALLPARK

MOMUMENT PARK, GREEN MONSTAH AND IVY-COVERED WALLS

PINSTRIPES, RED SOCKS, AND PAJAMA UNIFORMS

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, GOD BLESS AMERICA, TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME, SWEET CAROLINE, AND I LOVE THAT DIRTY WATER

KATE SMITH AND DROP KICK MURPHYS

BLEACHER BUMS AND LUXURY SUITE BUSINESSMEN

RALLY CAPS, RALLY MONKEYS, WAVING FLAGS, AND SILENT PRAYERS

HOME PLATE UMPIRES, EVIL EMPIRES AND RED SOX NATION (AND THE CUBS)

PERENNIAL FAVORITES AND LOVABLE LOSERS

FEARCE RIVALRIES AND CLOSE COMRADERIES

WORTHY ADVERSARIES AND A TIGHT BROTHERHOOD

BABE RUTH AND JOSH GIBSON

(Negro League Homerun King)

SATCHEL PAIGE, YOGI BERRA, CASEY STENGEL, BILL “SPACEMAN” LEE

(Baseball “Philosophers”)

TY COBB AND JACKIE ROBINSON

(Ty Cobb was a great player for the Detroit Tigers and a quick-tempered racist. Jackie Robinson was a great player for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and a temper-controlled champion for racial equality.)

BARRY BONDS AND HANK AARON

TOMMY JON SURGERY AND CY YOUNG AWARD

ROGER CLEMONS AND JON LESTER

(Clemons was a great veteran pitcher and accused steroid user. Lester is a very good young pitcher and cancer survivor. Clemons played for the RED SOX early in his career. Lester is now pitching for the SOX.)

MITCHELL REPORT AND HALL OF FAME BALLOTS

OFFICIAL BASEBALL MANUAL, “GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT” AND UNSPOKEN PLAYER RULES OF RETALIATION

PREMADONAS AND DIRT DOGS

(Players who love the lime light and demand special treatment and players who love to play the game  and work hard at it)

DL AND MVP

(Disabled List and Most Valuable Player)

STARTERS, RELIEVERS, AND CLOSERS

LINE-UPS AND ROTATIONS

EVERYDAY PLAYERS, UTILITY MEN, AND BENCH WARMERS

COACHES, MANAGERS, TRAINERS, VETERANS AND ROOKIES

SENT DOWN TO THE MINORS AND CALLED UP TO THE BIGS

NEXT YEAR AND OCTOBER BASEBALL

SPRING TRAINING AND POST-SEASON PLAY

THE BIG INNING AND THE 7TH INNING STRETCH

HOT DOGS AND BEER, POPCORN, PEANUTS, AND CRACKERJACKS,

CHAMPAGNE SHOWERS AND CLUBHOUSE CELEBRATIONS

RAIN DELAYS AND RAIN-OUTS OR “I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I JUST SAW” AND “THE RED SOX ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! J

FAIR-WEATHER FANS AND DIE-HARD FANATICS

AGENTS, FREE AGENTS, PLAYERS COMING AND GOING, BROKEN HEARTS

THE BUSINESS OF BASEBALL AND THE GAME OF BASEBALL

These are some of the ways baseball mirrors life and life mirrors baseball, and especially the Christian life. The Christian life consists of many struggles and triumphs, sorrows and joys, failures and  successes, frailties and moments of greatness, times of want and times of plenty, two steps back and three steps forward, succumbing to the old nature and living the new life in Christ. The Christian Church is made up of many different types of people who have not always represented Christ perfectly to the world. They belong to more denominations than there are baseball teams and are from different backgrounds including, dare I say it, more than one political party. However, just as the game of baseball, in its purest form, belonging to the family of God is the greatest life ever lived by imperfect human beings. Despite our many faults, God is God and Jesus is the Savior of  the world made up of imperfect people who call themselves Christians. As the body of Christ, we are a conglomeration (“a mixed coherent mass“) chosen by God to be His messengers of joy, hope, and love. With this in mind, let’s dig deep in the batter’s box, make sure we follow through and hit that ball right on the sweet spot of the bat and way out of the “pauk.” The end result will be being called “safe at Home” and hearing the words we long to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

A passionate follower of Christ and “wicked big Sox fan,”

Lydia

P.S. Did you know that SPEED slows down the game of baseball. When a base runner known for his speed makes it to first base, the pitcher and catcher on the apposing team are preoccupied with keeping him from stealing second base. As a result, more pitches are thrown to first base than to the batter standing at home plate, resulting in a very long time at bat for that one batter. How many times do we slow down blessings and stifle our spiritual growth by trying to SPEEP UP things for God, instead of waiting for His perfect timing?J   (I got this analogy by watching the MLB Network.) Did you also know, even though the game does have an end, baseball has no time clock. It is not ruled by the tyranny of time, but ends when one team is ahead and the last out is made, after nine innings or however many innings it takes. Looking at our own lives, we do not know when our time on earth will come to an end. Only God knows when that will be. Whenever it comes, it’s so good to know that we are on the winning team J

P.P.S. I wrote “BASEBALL IS LIFE IS BASEBALL” several years ago and a dear brother in the Lord and his wife had a T-shirt made for me with “BASEBALL IS LIFE IS BASEBALL” on the front and all the  words above on the back. They also had a baseball cap made for me with “BASEBALL IS LIFE IS BASEBALL” on the front. Both T-shirt and cap have a baseball diamond in the background. That was such a wonderful surprise! Their kindness mad me cry. I may never write a book, BUT my words are on a T-shirt and baseball cap!