The Author

Baseball

My family has something of a long history as fans of baseball. It began with my grandmother who, as a lifelong Baptist, was somewhat cautious about worldly possessions. But, she freely admitted that she loved her television set because it brought the game of the week into her house every Saturday afternoon. She would sit in her rocking chair in front of the set, yell at the umpire, and urge her “boys” on. You were welcome to visit, but you weren’t to expect much conversation.

One of her sons-in-law had his closest brush with fame in New York City when visiting there as a young man. As the story goes, while crossing a street one day, if he had not quickly jumped back on the curb, he would have been run down by a roadster with Babe Ruth at the wheel. He always claimed that a jury would have figured out a way to blame him before convicting the Babe.

Growing up, I idolized Mickey Mantle. I now know that he led less than a sterling life, but when I was a kid, I didn’t know. I just knew that he was an amazing ballplayer. I saw him once in the parking lot of a golf course. I stood there, frozen, watching him put his clubs in the trunk of his Lincoln. He didn’t see me and I didn’t approach him. Sometimes, heroes look better at a distance.

I once shook hands with Gaylord Perry at the old baseball field in Arlington. His hands were the size of Easter hams. Famous as a pitcher always suspected of anointing balls with oil, grease, spit, or anything else that would make the pitch do a dance on the way to the plate, his huge mitt swallowed my normal-sized one. I figured that, if he could make my hand disappear, he wouldn’t have a problem hiding a little ointment.

I write all this because several of our church members are also baseball fans. I know this because they have told me. I also write these pleasant words because, whether God is a baseball fan or not, sometimes we need to be reminded, as Paul writes to Timothy about “God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment,” (I Tim. 6:17). It’s okay if you don’t enjoy baseball, or even these stories. Just remember to enjoy some things in life. After all, God gave them to us so that we would.

Blessings, Sam