Take The Bat Off Your Shoulder

Truth neither hidden nor denied: I am a baseball fan. As a child, the Portland Beavers were an AAA professional baseball or team. No television then. But, their games were on a Portland radio station. Bob Blackburn and Rollie Truitt detailed the game, were especially creative in the away games for the Beavers, mainly Pacific Coast games—why called the Pacific Coast League—they didn’t have a name the conference contest.

I didn’t follow my parents time to close down the day, that is go to sleep and that’s all.

Instead, I learned how to keep listening to the Beavers’ game, holding the radio to my ear, and at times, between me and the pillow.

I did catch [good baseball verb, right?] the road games were very creative—lots of dashes and jumps.

What I didn’t know, Blackburn and Company had no idea. They made up the play/play part of the game. Because they weren’t in Sacramento or San Francisco or Seattle or Oakland. They got the inning summary by ticker tape, or something very pre-computer. All they were told was what the count on the batter was and where the ball was hit or not hit.

They made up everything, but the final score! Sometimes what was probably a routine ground ball had the second baseman dive into right field, grab the ball, jump and spin and OUT!

It’s a good thing I didn’t know all the real stuff, because the animation was engaging.

They could have made mistakes, but they never got the final score wrong.

And, I remember…more than once…when it was the most critical moment of the game, the Beavers down a run in the last inning, the bases loaded for them, the count three balls and two strikes and the pitch…

I would turn off the radio!

My confession…pure and simple…or maybe not. Truth for sure.

Why all this?

Because of an article I read this morning about last night’s Major League All-Star game.

Read on:

Loser: Scoreboard operator has a rough night
This series of bloopers didn’t come through to the people on TV, but the fans in Cleveland were treated to a number of errors.
Colorado Rockies All-Star David Dahl was called “Davis Dahl” and Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was “Wilson Contreras.” Fortunately, New York Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil had his name spelled correctly. Unfortunately, the picture used was Jacob deGrom.
One option is that this person is trying to get canned by pulling a George Costanza. More likely, however, is that whoever was in charge of the scoreboard graphics has had better days.

Ah, a slice of life, for sure. Perfection is not as important as we might declare. No less, being called a loser tends to tarnish the soul and quell the spirit.

All I think…is I love baseball. I strategize before the next pitch…but at the deepest level, I know being a winner or loser honestly comes in second.

What comes in first, is to take the bat off our shoulder, give the best effort we can and know for better or worse we are HUMAN and IMPERFECT and in and through it all, ARE ALWAYS LOVED BY GOD.

That’s more than preachy on this Wednesday morning. It’s essential as the day is experienced.

Because not unlike Bob Blackburn, in my life…and I believe in yours, the final score will be God’s Love…for whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord. [The Apostle Paul, who in life always took the bat off his shoulder!]

About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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