Hope you’re having an awesome day! Hope it’s one of those days where your heart is gently opening up to whatever God has for you, just like the daffodils outside our door are gently opening up to this awesome spring sun!!
Speaking of opening…
Is it really only sixteen days (count 'em down!) till Opening Day for Major League Baseball?!
First game is the Pirates and the Cardinals in Busch Stadium at 1:00, Sunday, April 3! (If somebody I know can get his sermon over with on time, y’all might have a chance to watch the first pitch!)
Tina and I have been watching this ten episode documentary on PBS about the history of baseball and we’re learning tons!!
Did you know that Connie Mack, who was a catcher with the Pittsburg Pirates before he was a manager (longest managing career in history), could make a noise with his thumb and finger that sounded just like a ball lightly tipping a bat? When a batter was going to bunt, but saw that the pitch was outside the batter’s box and let it go by, Mack would make that sound when the ball crossed the plate and the ump would call it a tipped foul for a strike!
There was a player in the African American league named Josh Gibson who, during the ‘30’s and 40’s, hit almost 800 homers in 17 years! His lifetime average was over .350! Many called him “the black Babe Ruth”, although in the African American league, they called Babe Ruth, “the white Josh Gibson”! Once he hit a homer in Yankee Stadium that reached the wall above the center field bleachers...580 feet! They said another time, that he hit a homer in Baltimore that flew out of sight and never came down. The next night, he was playing in Washington, and a ball flew out of the sky into center field in the middle of the game. The fielder happened to see it and caught it. Gibson was called out...from the night before!
This documentary talked a lot about the single most controversial moment in the history of baseball...Babe’s “called shot” for a home run in the fifth inning of the third game of the ‘32 World Series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
‘Course, Babe wasn’t a stranger to controversies. In 1930, as the Depression gripped the nation, he signed a contract that paid him more than any player ever. And more than President Hoover made! Someone asked him, “Aren’t you uneasy about making more than the President?” “Nope.” the Bambino replied. “I had a better year than him.”
Anyway, with the Yanks up two games in the Series, and the game tied 4-4 in the fifth, Ruth was up The count was two balls, two strikes That’s when he yelled something at the pitcher and made a pointing gesture. Some say he pointed at the Chicago dugout. Some say it was toward pitcher’s mound. Most say it was toward the center field wall...as in, “There’s where this next pitch is going!” And it did! 480 feet over the flagpole! Across the nation, folks heard Tom Manning yell, "The ball is going…going…gooooiiiiiing….hiiiiiiiigh into the center field stands!…and it is a home run!!”
An unknown film of the 1932 “at bat” surfaced in the ‘80’s, but still it’s hard to tell if Babe was just pointing or predicting the impending home run. One reporter said that if all the people who said they were there and saw Babe call the shot, were put in one stadium, it’d have to hold 500,000 fans! Charlie Root, the one who threw the pitch, denied for the rest of his life that Babe pointed to center field. “If he’d pointed to center field like that, I woulda beaned him with that pitch in the ear!”
It would have been (or maybe it WAS) pretty outrageous for someone to be so confident in his abilities that he could predict what would happen to the next ball across the plate! But I read something yesterday that was a million times...even a kabillion times!...more certain! Check it...
“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus...He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 1.4, 8)
Wow! Paul’s saying, “I KNOW you’re gonna make it to the end! I know God will hit a homer with you!”
Y’ gotta remember that these believers were having problems! Couldn’t get along...some drinking too much...yucky sex messes going on...It wasn’t looking too promising!
But the apostle knew his Lord and King! He is able to change us! He is able to bring us back! He is able to make us grow! He is able to keep us strong and His! He is able…and He is going to…bring all those who love Jesus...home!
“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy...” (Jude 24)
“...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus...” (Phil 1.6)
“...You who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time...” (1 Peter 1. 5)
Before you ever were ever pitched His way, He knew He had a homer with you! He called that shot!
“ ...going…going…going…higher…hiiiiiigher...and it is a home run!"
That’s it for sports!