America Needs More Baseball (part 2)

 
 

As football and baseball compete for America’s heart as its national pastime, so too are the values reflected in those sports competing for America’s soul. The combative, warrior-aggression of football and all the impatience that goes with it versus the calculated collective effort of baseball with its seemingly slow pace. In part one of this two-part post I proposed that maybe we ought to take another look at the values we’re reinforcing, and I suggested that, as much as I absolutely love football, baseball might be perfect for America.

That’s right, baseball is perfect.

There is no need for time in baseball. There is no need to rush to score with a two-minute, no-huddle offense in baseball. There are 27 outs, and each team gets the same amount of them. There’s really no home field advantage because baseball stadiums never get too noisy (unless you’re Kansas City realizing a nearly 30-year old dream). There’s barely any need for instant replay, and it is used very seldomly. The game is focused around a diamond, which, when you think about this, is the perfect shape to illustrate man and the Trinity. You start at home, and you have to hit to advance. The only way home again is to advance to all of the bases. Each base is a person of the Trinity. Salvation is had for each person who takes a round of the bases of life. Knowing the Trinity is the way to home plate, the way to Heaven. It’s a diamond at the center of this sport and so, in a sense, it is God and His relationship with man at the center of it also. Baseball is symbolic of perfect unity of man and God. Baseball is symbolic for life. There’s just the field, a game, time to pass, hot dogs to eat and the rounding of the bases. The rounding of life. Baseball is the perfect sport to pass the time of life, and all you need is patience to enjoy the show. And like life, baseball endures. It endures strikes, performance-enhancing drugs, home-run-hitting obsessions and a gambling fiasco. It will also endure ebola. Don’t worry, we all will. Baseball is here to stay. It always has been.

You’ve heard the phrase before that “baseball is America’s pastime” and that can not be any more true. Since baseball’s inception in the 1800s, through numerous wars, economic downturns and civil rights movements, the majority of Americans played, discussed and watched one sport—baseball. Baseball was what connected us, much like God used to. And since baseball was a sport of order, perfection and patience, those values also connected us. Emphasis on past tense. What connects us today? Sadly, if you were to ask any American you would get different answers. But the real answer to what connects us today is social media. Social media literally connects us. Goodbye, God. Sadly it creates for us and speaks for us. Want to “talk?” Text it. Text it now! No need to wait. No need for patience. Just do the two-minute offense. No need to round the bases. We are a culture that has lost connection to our history, to our faith and to an ability to have a conversation. Baseball makes us have a conversation to pass the time. Baseball makes us slow down. America needs baseball.

To say “America needs baseball” basically means America needs God. We need to slow down and find our roots. We need a seventh inning to stretch. (Interesting that we stop to stretch in the seventh inning and that God rested on the seventh day. Coincidence?) We need to really connect and not connect in a rush. We need a conversation. God is not a two-minute offense, but He is a conversation in the ball park. God is the perfect game that does not need time or instant reply. All God wants is your patience and to talk. You see, with God there is no rush. We can’t hurry His timing. We can’t audible out of His will. And we can’t make His will happen in two minutes or less with perfect clock management and play calling. There is only the surrender to Him. We surrender to Him for the nine-plus innings of our lives and enjoy every moment with a conversation and a hotdog.

I love football. The sport is amazing. The aggression. The brutality. The creativity. The short half times. The rush. The ADD. The proverbial advancing to the end zones of life, land and conquest. But in the end, there will be no more land to claim. There will be no more natives to push around. America has taken it all that was once the frontier. The West has been won. We need to move on. We need to remember the sport that was played from the beginning and that endures on. We need baseball. We need to remember what connects us. We need to connect to God.

In Eternity there will be the perfect game played all day, forever. All we will do is enjoy the beautiful everlasting day on the diamond under the Son’s rays with the breeze of the wind, and we will continually round the bases with joy, forever. “Take me out to the ball game. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks. I don’t care if I ever get back …” Let’s get lost again. Let’s get lost and find a baseball game. Let’s get lost and find God. May He restore America back to what we once were—our pastime. Jeremiah 29:13-14 says:

  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.

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