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Baseball’s back!  Yes, I know the first game was last night, but Texas at Houston? Doesn’t feel right.  That seems more like an old Southwest Conference game than it does the first game of the MLB season.  For me, today feels like the first day.

I’ll be watching my beloved Cardinals tonight, unless I’m in the ER after playing in my first softball game in 20 years.  I guess I’m trying to reach back and find my youth. Not sure I can reach that far.

A couple of my favorite baseball quotes:

“It took me 17 years to get 3000 hits in baseball.  I did it one afternoon on the golf course.”  Hank Aaron

“If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out.”  George Brett (That doesn’t feel right either.)

There are lots of lessons to be learned from baseball. Here are a few:

Lesson 1:  Errors will occur. Over the course of the long season, every player makes errors -a misjudged fly, a bobbled grounder, a wild throw.  We all commit moral and spiritual errors.  Suppose our errors were counted and published every day? For Bill Bucker, his was more than just an error in the record book.

When baseball fans think of Bill Buckner they think of the  6th game of 1986 World Series, the Red Sox vs. Mets.  Mookie Wilson of the Mets grounds to first.  Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner hobbles over, bends down, but not far enough.  The ball goes through his legs.  This brought in Ray Knight from 2nd base and the Mets won Game 6. Of course, they went on to win the 7th game and the World Championship.  The error is now part of October.  Like fall foliage.  Everyone has forgotten about Buckner’s career:  22 seasons, 2700 plus hits, .289 avg.  All they remember is this error.  Red Sox fans won’t let him forget it.  The butt of jokes.  The topic of songs.  One sports jockey told this one: “Bill Buckner tried to commit suicide today. He jumped in front of the train. But it went through his legs.”  Buckner moved his family to Idaho.  Running away. It’s hard though to run away from your own memory.

Identified by his past.  Known by his error.  That’s the way of accusers. Have you been accused?  Accusers just won’t let up?  Maybe you’re an accuser?  You just won’t let up.  That’s not the way of Jesus. Hebrews 10:17; Hebrews 8:12; Jeremiah 31:34

Lesson 2: Comebacks are possible. Opening day, at Fenway, April 8, 2008.  The World Champion Boston Red Sox welcomed the exiled Bill Buckner back to Boston. With the crowd giving him a standing ovation, Buckner stood on the pitchers mound and with tears running down his cheeks, he threw out the first pitch.  Yeah, there is crying in baseball. We can come home.  Luke 15:20

Lesson 3: Team is necessary.  One of a ballplayer’s statistics is assists. The player who is directly involved in a play where another player gets a “put-out” is credited with an assist. On a larger scale, the nine players on a team have to depend on each other and work together in order to win. When the Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez was asked the secret of his success, he replied: “Clean living and a fast outfield.” As a pitcher, he needed his outfielders.

We need each other.

When we hear the cry, “Play ball!” we can remember that baseball is more than a game to like, to love, or, for some, to turn off.  If we look hard enough, we will see in baseball, like all of life, lessons for living.

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