Saturday, August 02, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

So we're now officially in the playoff race with the passing of the trading deadline. Just a couple no-name players got moved. I mean, who's this Manny Ramirez guy anyway? And Ken Griffey Jr? Who does he think he is, Ken Griffey Sr? Of course I'm kidding. But in the spirit of trying to get away from my obsession with politics, I want to instead focus on my greatest passion here on earth, baseball. And of course, I'll make it relevant.

In college, I was given the opportunity to lead a small group Bible study. I was filling in for the brother who would usually lead and he left me with this valuable advice, "do whatever you want." Of course, as a young Christian that was intimidating since all I knew was what we've done before. But I was tempted to think outside of the box. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes had Dave Dravecky as a speaker that same night. Besides the "pitch heard 'round the world," he was a well known inspirational speaker and was very open about his faith. In 2004 he wrote the book Called Up, which I still need to get around to reading. But like I said, all I knew was what we've always done before. So I regret to this day not going, and instead offered a re-hashed discussion on one of Jesus' parables which everyone had heard before.

There's another book that's recently been released that I want to get my hands on too, called Free Byrd by Paul Byrd and John Smoltz. Smoltzie you've probably heard of but if the name Paul Byrd doesn't sound familiar, do a Google search of Paul Byrd and HGH. That's right, you could lump him in with "roid heads" like Barry Bonds. But instead of being all surly to the public and press following getting busted, he's instead been openly repentant and just as open about how his faith has seen him through.

But this isn't just a book review either. Kathy Orton, over at her Praying Fields blog at the On Faith online community has several blog posts related to baseball including an interview with Luke Scott, pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.

And if that doesn't inspire you to follow the pennant races, let me finish with a couple of songs. No, not Take Me Out to the Ballgame, written by a couple of guys who hadn't ever seen a game. But a couple more heartfelt and spiritual.

The First Ballgame
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, 1947

My sermon today
Said the Reverend Jones
Is baseball and whence it came
If you take the Good Book And you take a good look
You will find the first baseball game

It says Eve stole first
And Adam second
Solomon umpired the game
Rebecca went to the well with the pitcher
And Ruth in the field made a name

Goliath was struck out by David
A base hit made on Abel by Cain
And the Prodigal Son made a great home run
Brother Noah gave checks out for rain

Now ole St Pete was checking errors
Also had charge of the gate
Salome sacrificed Big John the Baptist
Who wound up ahead on the plate

Delilah was pitching to Samson
When he brought down the house with a clout
And the Angels that day made a double play
That’s when Adam and Eve were thrown out

Now Jonah wailed and went down swinging
Later her popped up again
A line drive by old Nebuchadnezzar
Made Daniel warm up in the pen

Satan was pitching that apple
It looked as though he might fan them all
But then Joshua let go with a mighty
And he blasted one right at the wall
Shoutin come along and let’s play ball

Life is a Ballgame
Sister Wynona Carr © 1952

Life is a ballgame
Bein' played each day
Life is a ballgame
Everybody can play
Jesus is standin' at home plate
Waitin' for you there
Life is a ballgame, but
You've got to play it fair.

First base is temptation,
The second base is sin
Third base tribulation
If you pass you can make it in
Ol' man Solomon is the umpire
And Satan is pitchin the game
He'll do his best to strike you out
Keep playin' just the same.

Daniel was the first to bat
You know he prayed three times a day
When Satan threw him a fast ball
You know he hit it anyway
Job came in the next inning
Satan struck him in every way,
But Job he hit a home run
And came on in that day.

Prayer will be your strong bat
To hit at Satan's ball
And when you start to swing it
You've got to give it your all in all
Faith will be your catcher
On him you can depend
And Jesus is standing at Home Plate
Just waitin for you to come in.

Moses is standin' on the side lines
Just waitin to be called
And when he parted the Red Sea
He gave Christ is all-in-all
John came in the ninth inning
When the game was almost done
Then God gave John a vision
And he knew he'd all ready won.

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