I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a baseball fan. Even though I’m a Cubs fan–which brings along its own set of sizable baggage–the first time I saw a Major League game it was the Chicago White Sox at the old Comiskey Park. I think I was 7 or 8.
I played baseball as a kid and have coached my kids. One aspect of the game I appreciate as a busy adult is the lack of a clock. The nine innings might really be only the beginning. And when it ends after that, who knows? There isn’t a rushed or forced outcome.
What has been far from appealing in recent years are all the allegations and admission of steroid use in the game. The latest to be exposed is New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s steroid use revealed in a Sports Illustrated story eliminates many plans. Rodriguez was supposed to be the “clean” successor to Barry Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron’s home run record while under federal investigation. Bonds is going to court next month to face perjury charges he lied on the stand about his drug use.
Rodriguez was also supposed to be one of the driving forces behind a Yankee resurgence in the new Yankee Stadium which opens this spring. In the ideal world for the legion of Yankee fans, Rodriguez would lead the team to another string of World Series wins and ultimately break Bonds’ record without a drop of steroids ever entering his system.
This is an extreme case, but a helpful reminder, to choose wisely those whom you idolize or put your hopes in (1 Kings 18:24-26). The lesson is most poignant for teen and young adult athletes who are most likely to consider success by any means regardless of consequences.
I will always enjoy baseball as a game. The pacing, the strategy, the enjoyment of sitting in the warm sun enjoying part of an afternoon still hold an allure. But holding up professional players as idols? I’ll leave that in the distant past with that first trip to Comiskey Park.
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The Bible reminds us again and again not to worship worldly things, and that includes professional athletes. Admire them…yes, when they set worthy examples. Enjoy their exploits…yes, when they play clean. Anything and anyone of the world can let you down. God won’t.