With the Major League Baseball playoffs set to start tomorrow, sports nerds such as myself are giddy with excitement.
With the NFL and college football in full swing and the postseason for the America’s pastime about to start, October is arguably the best month on the annual sports calendar.
And for the first time in 11 years, the Texas Rangers will be a part of it as champions of the American League Western Division. Texas, when they have been in the playoffs, has a history of futility and quick exits. This year promises another tough road to hoe as the underdog against the young and pitching rich Tampa Bay Rays, champs of the AL East.
Regardless of the outcome, the Rangers have and inspiring stories to tell from the born-again Josh Hamilton, the perseverance of Michael Young and the power of redemption epitomized in manager Ron Washington.
For those unfamiliar with his tale, Washington admitted publicly to cocaine use during the 2009 season at this year’s Spring Training. Rangers management had known of the issue shortly after it happened the previous summer. The easy decision for Rangers brass would have been to let Washington go, saying he didn’t meet the club’s or the game’s standards and forged ahead with someone else.
A cynic would easily say the Rangers gave Washington a second chance out of convenience, not wanting to shake up the clubhouse. However, what the Rangers did is what God does so often for people everywhere and give them second, fourth, and so on, chances.
I’m not suggesting that there aren’t rules to follow and laws which should be enforced. Extending grace in many trying situations, while not the path of least resistance, may also provide the greatest dividends.