October 16, 2017

A World Series Of Biblical Proportions

And then there were two.

The 2010 baseball season has come down to two remaining teams. Don’t be surprised when you read headlines about this being a David (Murphy) vs. the Giant(s) series. The Giants are a team with biblical implications. They have been called a group of misfits and outcasts, bringing to mind those who gathered around David in the wilderness. They have been in a drought, not having won it all since they moved from New York more than 50 years ago. (But not as long of a drought as that experienced by Chaplain Mike’s Cubbies.) They are a group of scrappy veterans with a few young pups mixed in. They play the game the “right way,” meaning they sacrifice their own statistics for the good of the team. I can see how some would think that this makes them the more “godly” team.

Then there are the Texas Rangers. A team that demonstrates just what the Church, the Body of Christ, should be doing. Or at least what local churches should and could be doing.

During the 2009 season, Texas manager Ron Washington took a drug test. It came back positive for cocaine. Even before the results of the test were known, Washington sat down with his general manager, Jon Daniels, and the president of the club, Nolan Ryan, and told them that the results most likely would be positive. Then he called the commissioner’s office and told them the same thing. He said it was a one-time mistake and offered no other excuse than he did wrong.

Daniels and Ryan told Washington they wanted to help him. They said they wanted him to continue to be their manager. We don’t know what kind of accountability procedures they put in place, but certainly they did if they really wanted to help him. The team rallied around Washington, encouraging him and helping him.

Then there is All Star center fielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was a high draft pick back in 1999, but ended up out of baseball a few years later because of addictions to alcohol and cocaine. He drifted aimlessly for several years before his grandma intervened. Hamilton credits her tough attitude and tender prayers with bringing him to where he came face-to-face with God and a change occurred. Now he is living as a recovering addict, one who knows that it will be a battle every day. And his teammates know that as well. When they beat the Yankees last week to win the American League pennant, they did not spray champaign and beer around the clubhouse lest it be too much for Hamilton. Instead, they sprayed ginger ale.

We are told by the Apostle Paul not to make our freedom a stumbling block for weaker brothers and sisters. Do we do this in the church today? Or in our attempts to be “hipper than thou” do we use our freedom as stumbling blocks? What do we do as the Body of Christ to help those who have fallen? Could you see your church responding to Josh Hamilton in a caring way, or would we do as we do so often: Slay our own wounded?

So here we have a team made up of misfits and outcasts, a team suffering a severe drought, a team who knows the meaning of sacrifice. On the other side we have a team who knows how to act as the Church should act. This is going to be a very tough Series. No, I don’t mean which team will win. I am calling it the Rangers in six games.

The tough thing is this: Who is God going to root for?

Bonus coverage: See if you can tell which pitcher below is tonight’s starter for San Fran, Tim Lincecum, and which is your friendly Chaplain Mike. Hmmm … separated at birth?

Comments

  1. Ouch. Biblically the purpose of discipline is reconciliation, and the Texas Rangers are certainly demonstrating that effectively. But in my mind I’m contrasting that with how K-LOVE handled things with their premiere D.J., Jon Rivers. Rather than dealing with his addiction to prescription painkillers (publicly acknowledged – I’m not telling out of class) in a manner conducive to reconciliation they simply threw him under the bus, even to the point that when they broadcast his 20-the-countdown magazine someone else has to read his lines.

    It’s no wonder we’re known as the only army that shoots its own wounded.

    • And Jon Rivers’ home base … Denton, Texas, not 20 miles due north of Rangers Ballpark. You can’t make this stuff up.

    • “It’s no wonder we’re known as the only army that shoots its own wounded.”

      Not the only. Just a very prominent one that has a few dozen creeds that say we don’t.

  2. Oh man, is this a stretch. I’ve heard of allegorizing, but this takes the cake. We all know the Giants are going to win. As for God caring…He’s probably watching the Saints get prepared for their game on Sunday.

  3. A good king knows to rejoice with his subjects and to carefully remain neutral where he can so as to not cause unnecessary offense. While our God may have a sound reason for having one team win over the others, it may very well be that, like a good king, he is carefully remaining neutral, and ready to congratulate the winner while showing good cheer and encouragement for next year to those who will lose.

  4. Easy to tell which picture is which. Lincecum is the right-hander.

    Nothing but love for the Ginger Ale Gang in Arlington. However … I have a very short Bucket List when it comes to baseball. Before I die, I wanted to see:
    1) A postseason no-hitter
    2) A San Francisco Giants world championship.
    3) Bert Blyleven elected to the Hall of Fame.

    Got #1 a couple of weeks ago (sorry, Reds fans), and #3 is close (Brother Bly only missed by five votes last time). So … Giants in six, and by January when the HOF voting is announced, I’m playing with the house’s money, life-wise. Good times.

  5. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says:

    My favorite thing about this World Series is asking my friends who are hard-core Yankees fans “How ’bout them Rangers?” 😀

  6. Well it appears you’re not a part of the “just suck it up” crowd. Thank goodness.

    Also got to root for the local boy. Josh went to Athens Drive High School. About 10 miles from here. They seem to turn out baseball players. Everyone from there who was in the local rec league teams was a top 10% of the team player.

  7. It seems in the Southern United States evangelical world, everyone talks about college football, but in the post evangelical wilderness, baseball is the game 🙂

    • That’s because baseball players love to play in the dirt.

    • It’s true. The Ancient/Future crowd like the game’s sense of history and the reminder of America’s more pastoral origins. The Emergent bunch loves the celebration of youth and the outdoors, and how the game lends itself to deep meditation. And the Neo-Calvinists use the predetermined statistics for their Strat-o-Matic and fantasy teams.

      • Naw, it’s really just because we like to play in the dirt.

        • People who aren’t baseball fans just don’t get it.

          My back yard was the neighborhood baseball field for a while when growing up. But by about the 4th or 5th grade we outgrew it. Too may broken windows across the street even with our triple lot sized yard. We lived on the edge of a rural area and there was about a 10 acre field behind some of the houses that had about 20 cows in it. So we started mowing a ball field in the cow pasture. Drove our parents nuts. We’d haul our lawn mowers over the fence and mow the cow pasture but they’d have to chase us down to mow our yards. 🙂

          And when I see parents today not wanting their kids to take part in un-organized play…. We played games with only 5 people total. Old piece of plywood behind home plate so no catchers needed and general agreement about strikes with no walks. Still not sure how we did it. It did work better when we had at least 8 guys to divide up into teams.

          And on rain days we play monopoly, Rook, canasta, etc… in my garage.

          A very different life then. This was in the 60s.

  8. Richard Hershberger says:

    “The tough thing is this: Who is God going to root for?”

    Do you mean this seriously? If so, the question makes a boatload of very questionable assumptions.

    • Richard, of course I do not mean this seriously.

      Perhaps I should have tagged this “Laugh Or Else.”

    • Donalbain says:

      God would not bother himself with the nonsense that is Baseball. We know from the BIble that God takes his time over things. He made the universe over a span of six days rather than poof it into existence in just an evening. Obviously, God likes cricket. Not baseball.

  9. I can’t really comment, because (a) I know nothing about baseball (b) I am too busy quietly whimpering to myself over the Liverpool situation; joke recently heard on local radio station “I’m looking forward to next year’s Merseyside darby – Liverpool versus Tranmere Rovers!”

    Ouch!

    🙁

    • Keep in mind, the new Liverpool owner helped bring the Boston Red Sox two titles after they hadn’t had any since the end of the Great War. He might be the guy to get you past Man U. and Chelski.

      (Yes, folks, we just had a Premier League convo on iMonk! Tomorrow the world …)

      • I would welcome information on this, so baseball people; the Boston Red Sox – good, bad, indifferent? Spawn of Satan, one of the teams everyone loves to hate, or the kind of team that has a history that makes everyone misty-eyed about ‘ah, that’s how the game is supposed to be played’?

        Ray, I love Roy Hodgson, but I don’t think he’s right for us after Rafa. Don’t ask me who we should have, though; I haven’t a clue. As for the former owners, I think their little stunt court case in Dallas was just a spoiler tactic, and that basically they’re setting the ground for “pay us $$$$$ or we’ll tie you up in litigation.”

        Looking forward to the match versus Napoli – we’ll see how we progress from there! If our form (and luck) holds true, we’ll win away to Bolton Wanderers but lose at home to Napoli – unless it’s vice versa.

        😉

        • Red Sox are evil except when they are playing the antichrist of baseball, the Yankees. The best baseball city in America, where you find the most knowledgeable and truest fans of the sport, is most likely St. Louis.

          And Martha, what sport are you talking about? Of is this another of your Irish pub drinking games?

          • Association Football, known to you Americans as “soccer”. The travails of the English Premier League and the club Liverpool F.C., living on a glorious past as champions and now facing relegation to a lower division.

            Meanwhile, the Red Devils (Manchester United) continue on their unstoppable path. And on that note, I think Alex Ferguson was trying to offload Wayne Rooney, and I think he was probably right; Alex has always been able to judge to a nicety when a player is just cresting their peak and it would have done the coffers no harm to sell him on for a good price to a Continental club. Well, we’ll see what happens!

            So the Red Sox are a team everyone loves to hate, hmmm? And now their owner has bought Liverpool. I’m not feeling full of confidence, here (knowing how the club always manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory).

            🙂

        • Donalbain says:

          Grandad Roy is a great manager to take a team from the middle of the table upwards, to go beyond their expectations. But scousers, like the Geordies, expect that they should win every trophy every season. They take it as a personal insult that they are not allowed to compete in the World Cup. Grandad simply can’t meet that sort of expectation.

          • In the bottom three, Donalbain. Looking at relegation.

            I agree, we’re living on our history and our expectations are unreasonable (that being said, that night in Istanbul was glorious).

            But we need someone to do something drastic to haul us out of where we are. I do think that mid-table is about as good as we can hope for, but I’m not certain Roy can manage that – no blame to him, what with all the goings-on in the background.

            I don’t know who could help, though; anyone know what Martin O’Neill is doing these days?

            🙂

  10. Great post! Washington and Hamilton are enough to appreciate the organization and players, and yes, the Giants play the game right.

    Wonder how that Rangers in 6 forecast will work now that the Great Lee was humbled. Still could happen and hope it does (I’m an American Leauger), but still like the Giants.

    Baseball rules! Football is for cretins!