Baseball and God

Guest post from Jin Bae Pak. If you want to have a guest post, please email me. 🙂 

We’re in the middle of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. My team, the Boston Red Sox, currently have the 3rd best record in the baseball. The Philadelphia Phillies have the best record in Major League Baseball. The Atlanta Braves are in the lead for a wild card berth. San Francisco and Detroit are both leading their divisions. What do these teams have in common? They all have dominant pitching (and in the Red Sox and Tigers case, great batting too). The Phillies have the best rotation in baseball. Atlanta has arguably the best complete pitching staff on baseball. The giants have the Freak, Cain, and Wilson along with a good supporting cast of pitchers. The Tigers have the hottest pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander. While the Red Sox trio of Beckett, Bucholtz, and Lester is spectacular (Now, if Lackey can just snap out of it). You need pitching to win in baseball. It’s essential. Pitching wins championships. A great pitching staff will stay consistent and will always give you a chance in a game. It’s the backbone to a winning culture. Great pitching will offset off hitting nights and help keep your team winning consistently.

But the casual observer would rather see a home run than a strikeout. They’d rather see great hitting over great pitching. Runs bring fans to ballparks. The “home run, steroid” era was the most popular time for baseball. Babe Ruth was an ace pitcher, but he gave that up so he can be a full time hitter. Hitting is just more exciting to watch. But even the greatest of hitters won’t hit more that 40% over a whole entire season. The last hitter to hit .400 was Ted Williams in 1941. So even the best hitter this year will not record a hit over 60% of the time he’s at bat.

Hitting is a very important aspect of the game. You need to score runs to win the game. But the Giants showed last year that dominant pitching and timely (not necessarily good) hitting could win you a World Series. Even this year, when Detroit and Boston were struggling at the plate, it was their pitching that helped keep them in the hunt. Then their bats picked up as well. So you do need hitting. Great hitting can carry you for a brief moment, but it’s unsustainable for an entire season and postseason. You need hitting to supplement your pitching, not the other way around.

Consistently reading the Bible and praying should be the foundation in our walk with God. It’s really similar to pitching. A strong devotional and prayer life will help keep your faith consistent throughout hard times. Getting fed and having a personal dialogue with God is essential for continual growth. Just like the winning the World Series is the goal for all the teams, isn’t growing closer to God each day out ultimate goal? When our life goes through slumps, our strong relationship with God will help us until we get back up. But we can’t have a strong relationship with Him unless we talk to Him and read what He’s written. We need a strong foundation in Him in our daily lives.

We can’t rely completely on church events to satisfy our spiritual hunger. If our only source of spiritual growth is when we attend church events, we are not going to win consistently. We will go through spiritual highs and spiritual lows. We will not have that consistent connection with God if that’s all we rely on. With reading the Bible and praying being our foundation, we can supplement that with timely events that will put us over the top. God wants us to fellowship with others. It’s important. But that should be added on top of our individual walk with God, not replacing it. We should use special events to help up get to another level, not to the level we should be at. That’s when our spiritual life takes off in the direction God has intended.

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