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Archive for the category “Baseball”

“…at a distance…”

With Good Friday less than 24 hours away, I started reading the 26th chapter of Matthew and its account of that fateful day.  In verse 58, three words hit me square between the eyes – “…at a distance…” 

As athletes, being “…at a distance…” whether mentally, physically or a combination of both will keep us from being sold out and fully engaged “in the game.”  Not only does it have an affect on our play, but on those around us.

The same is true in our walk with Christ.

The first part of verse 58 states, But Peter followed him at a distance…”  How often do we do the same? Christ has called us to “…take up our cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).  Now we can follow him “..at a distance…” but to truly follow, we must make the choice to be beside Him.

That cross isn’t going to carry itself. It cannot be carried from “a distance.” A batter cannot step into the batter’s box and expect to hit when the bat is still in the dugout.

Just as Jesus carried his cross upon his brutally beaten body, we (and I am speaking to me before anyone else) have to go pick up the cross first.  It cannot be done from a distance.

The second part of the verse said that Peter (it’s tough to be used as an example like this for thousands of years, but he made a great comeback!) “sat down with the guards to see the outcome.”

We are just like Peter…sitting down with the “world” to watch “the outcome.” We are believers but won’t proclaim it. We choose not to serve. We will not take the battle to the enemy in diligent prayer, in our own “War Room.”

We stay on the sidelines.

Thankfully, Jesus chose to meet the cross like two prize fighters do – nose to nose. He did not stay in his corner. He walked to the middle of the ring and courageously confronted the opponent – and won.

We can experience that too, but not “…at a distance.”

Role Players: Pete Rose greatest in baseball history? Really?

Last month, I wrote a post on Embracing your Role. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a pair of local Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle groups and a high school baseball team on the topic.

Roles are not just limited to those who come off the bench. Starters have a role to play but most don’t view it in that context. They are just viewed as starters. The best five, nine, or 11 players to begin the game on that specific day.

In researching for my baseball speech, I found the person who, arguably, could be considered as the best role player in baseball history – Pete Rose? Really? The maligned, all-time hits leader?  The shoe-in Hall of Famer, if not for his betting on baseball issues?

I was never a Rose fan growing up so this post is not an attempt to serve as his apologist. I did respect how hard he played the game and the passion he had for it.1964-Topps-Baseball-125-Pete-Rose-214x300

There are not many superstars, then or now, that would have done what Rose did. The former Macon Peaches standout entered the major leagues in 1963 and won Rookie of the Year honors at second base for Cincinnati. 10 years later, Rose captured his only National League MVP Award playing left field for the Reds.

Rose gave of himself for the team. During that decade between honors, he saw action at one position in a single season just four times (1964 and 1965 at 2B; 1972 and 1973 in LF).

The former Macon Peaches standout is the ONLY player in major league baseball history to play 500 or more games at five different positions (1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF), and according to Baseball-Reference.com, a total 18,337 men have played in the Big Leagues. Rose also played nearly 100 games in centerfield.

A 17-time All-Star, in his 24-year career, Rose earned that honor seven times as an outfielder, five at first base, four at third base and one at second base. RosePete

It is clear that no role was to big or to small for Rose. He did what he was asked to do and what he had to do.

Rose embraced the opportunity to play any position, and that attitude helped him become one of the greatest players in Major League baseball history.



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