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THE RED SOX BEAT THE DODGERS: BASEBALL MEETS THE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTION (2)

     I know what you’re thinking. This guy thinks the World Series has something to do with the upcoming election. Well, stranger things have happened. 

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           I explained it all in the previous post. If you have not read it you can find it here.

        The gist was that the Red team, the Boston Red Sox, represented the Republican Party. The Blue team, the Dodgers, represented the Democrat Party. Some prophetic voices have said there will be a great Republican victory in the 2018 Midterm Election. Since the Red Sox won, and won decidedly, it appears to be yet another sign confirming the prophecies.

         There was supposed to be a Blue Wave, meaning a great Democrat victory. As we grew closer to the election everyone began to understand that was not going to happen. That fact alone is a Republican victory. But as it was in the Presidential Election two years ago, when most of the experts predicted the very opposite of what eventually happened, it could be the case that the tide will continue turning until next Tuesday.

         According to a prophecy made many months ago by Mark Taylor, who I introduced to some of you in the last post, this tide will turn into a Red Tsunami, meaning a great Republican victory. This can only mean they will win against all odds and retain both the House and the Senate. It already looks like they will keep the Senate, something unforeseen only a matter of weeks ago. Very few, at this writing, think they have much of a chance keeping the House.

         Boston won a decisive victory. In the playoffs, they won the first round against the Yankees three games to one, winning the series in New York. The Yankees were an excellent team. They then beat last year’s champions, the Houston Astros, four games to one, again winning the series on the road in Houston. The Astros were an even better team and the choice of most to repeat. Then Boston beat the Dodgers in the World Series, also four to one, in Los Angeles. Some are calling them the best Red Sox team in history. While some experts thought they would do well, I don’t think any of them thought they would do that well.

           This sounds familiar…

           © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

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BLUE WAVE OR RED TSUNAMI? BASEBALL MEETS THE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTION (1)

Blog Pic 10.23.18

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       The 2018 Midterm Election is two weeks away. This first in a series of articles will delve into several high-impact subjects touching on prophecy that have been brewing for a while. Read on.

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RED SOX RED AND DODGER BLUE

        The Baseball World Series starts tonight. In a very strange twist of fate, an extremely interesting coincidence, or a shocking harbinger of the coming election, the stage is set for a Red team and a Blue team. The Boston Red Sox will host the LA Dodgers of Dodger Blue fame. I know there are several Red teams and Blue teams and maybe this is not so unusual. But these two teams, both of which have very long histories in the game, have only met each other in a World Series once before, in 1916. It was the first World Series for the Dodgers. Boston beat them four games to one.

         Now here we are again over a century later. The Dodgers were known as the Robins back then and hailed from Brooklyn. The Brooklyn franchise began in 1883 and was known by several names until becoming fully established as the Dodgers in 1932. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved west to Los Angeles and played their first season there in 1958. The current Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. It might seem strange, but that ballpark is now the third-oldest park in major league baseball. As near as I can tell without going into deep research the Dodgers have worn blue since at least 1910.

         The Red Sox have the oldest park. Fenway Park opened in 1912. The team has done a great job, first, of keeping the park instead of tearing it down and building a new one, which they were close to doing several years ago, and second, of revamping and modernizing the park while retaining its early feel and dimensions. The Boston franchise was formed in 1901. In the first seven seasons they actually wore dark blue socks and had no official nickname. Their unofficial name was the Americans. It was not until the 1908 season when the team officially became the Boston Red Sox and wore red stockings.

REPUBLICAN RED AND DEMOCRAT BLUE

         I’m not going to study this subject regarding origin, but at some point the two major parties became associated with these two primary colors. Regarding the upcoming midterm election, the political party not holding the White House traditionally does very well. This is why several months ago we began hearing the term “Blue Wave” in that the Democrats would have great success. But in addition to this there have been a few voices saying not so fast. One voice in particular has been prophesying of not just Republican success but a “Red Tsunami.” Such an occurrence would be highly unlikely, of course. But this same man prophesied that Donald Trump would become the next President of The United States. But he prophesied this in April of 2011, over four years before Donald Trump announced.

         The man’s name is Mark Taylor. I’m sure many of you have heard of him. He continues to insist that these words he is receiving are prophetic and that he is not predicting anything by his own power or ability. And he has never wavered from this prophecy even though he first received it, from what I can presently ascertain, at least several months ago. Maybe some of you know the exact date. The point, however, is that he is saying that something will happen that is not supposed to happen and has not happened in probably a very long time. This time around, the midterms are supposed to belong to the Democrats. But he says the opposite will happen.

         We can all recall the many experts, including the former president, who all pretty much said that Donald Trump would never be elected President. Snowballs had a better chance in hell.

         They all said this very arrogantly and condescendingly. Of course, the big boys have been selecting their presidents for many decades in the guise of Americans electing them. If you control both parties and own both parties then whoever gets elected doesn’t matter. Both are mere puppets.

         Until President Trump. So maybe what will transpire in two weeks really will be a Red Tsunami. Even Bernie Sanders said yesterday that there will be no Blue Wave and that it will be very close. The same thing happened two years ago. A definite sure fire victory would happen for Clinton but as we got closer to Election Day it began to tighten up. That did not stop many ongoing crazy predictions that never came true.

         So now we have the added twist with the Baseball World Series. If there is to be a Red Tsunami I would assume that means the Red Sox will beat the Dodgers again as they did 102 years ago. We’ll see.

          By the way, 102 is a multiple of 17. The 17th letter of the alphabet is Q.

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


LINK: Exactly eight years ago, in late August of 2010, the Lord spoke to me very clearly: “WE ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF A NATIONAL GREAT AWAKENING.”

LIFE IS BASEBALL, Not Tennis

tonyconigliaro - Copy         “There’s a few guys whose sparkling baseball careers were curtailed early. Tony Conigliaro, a young star for the Boston Red Sox in August of 1967, took a fastball to the face and was never the same. He said he heard the ball—a hiss—but didn’t see it.”

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         I played many seasons of men’s softball over several years. Had a lot of fun. I built teams and coached. I also ran youth baseball leagues and coached teams for a few seasons and often took my teams to batting cages. Sometimes, after being egged on, I stepped into a cage and took some hacks. The other coaches there were impressed. I was a good hitter. But I was never within a million miles of real baseball.

         I remember I once put my young son in an 80 mile-an-hour cage and he was doing well. 80 miles an hour is pretty fast for a kid. He was a good ballplayer, and tough. Then the silly machine threw one inside. My son didn’t flinch. Couldn’t get out of the way in time. Nobody expects a consistent machine to suddenly go that wild. The ball smashed off his hand and did a pretty good number on one of his fingers, drawing blood. He stood his ground. I knew it must of hurt pretty bad but he took it like a man.

         On another occasion at an indoor facility, I had my players at a batting cage taking their turns. These were thirteen and fourteen year-old kids who, in real games, were facing about 70 mile-an-hour pitches on average at best, so I probably had them in a cage at about that speed. While there, I noticed another cage set up with a much better machine. No one was using it. I asked around. There was a guy there who I think had played some minor league ball. I asked him how fast the machine was slinging it. We were about to find out. While standing outside the net to the side, close by the plate, someone put a ball in and the other guy, standing right beside me, put a gun on it. The ball was hard to see. Just a blur. Slam. It thudded loudly against the tarp backdrop. The guy squinted a little looking at the radar gun readout and said, “94.” Hmm, I thought. It looked a lot faster. “Would it be okay if I stepped in?”

         It had been a long time since I saw anything that fast. I was older and wanted to see what would happen. I got a helmet and a bat and planned to let the first pitch go by to see what it looked like. I’m standing there in the box in my stance ready for some serious heat, watching the machine, the ball, the release… Slam!

         I didn’t see it. That’s what I told someone later. Actually though, maybe I kinda did. Just barely, maybe. Maybe it was sort of a blurry elongated whooshing white bullet. Or a fuzzy aspirin tablet. Or maybe I was imagining things. It only takes four tenths of a second for a good fastball to reach the plate, but reaction time is only a little over a tenth of a second. It was more like seeing the release of the ball and then immediately hearing it slam into the tarp. I thought, as I’m standing there just getting buzzed, “There’s no way that’s only 94.” It was pretty quick. Maybe if I took a few more pitches and adjusted to the speed, and… I stepped up again, even more ready this time with a heightened sense of awareness. Machine… ball… Slam! Tarp.

         No chance. I walked out. That was that.

MAJOR LEAGUE SPEED

         At that time, an average major league fastball was probably just barely 90 miles-an-hour. By 2008 it was 91. Three years ago it was 92. That’s really fast for normal humans. Speed continues increasing. Fastball speed denotes limited effectiveness for hitters.

NolanRyan - Copy         Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan was the first guy clocked at 100 miles-an-hour forty-two years ago. Using sophisticated radar equipment set up by Rockwell International during a game, he actually hit 100.8 on that occasion but many have said he threw harder in his career, at least 103. Very few can throw that hard. He kept throwing in the high 90s even in his forties. There’s a guy playing now that can throw 105, but he’s only a reliever and he averages much less. Randy Johnson, also a first ballot Hall of Famer, could throw 100. A 6’10” southpaw, Johnson could scare the heck out of you. So could Nolan Ryan. Nolan Ryan was throwing so hard in high school he once broke a kid’s arm. There were kids who were scared to death to step up to the plate. When major leaguers, as good as they are, have the same apprehensions, it speaks loud and clear about the ramifications of blazing baseballs and what they can do to a man.

         There have always been a lot of guys who could throw really, really hard. But most were wild. One thing about the major leagues that a lot of people don’t know about is that pitchers are expected to have relatively good control. Everyone uncorks one from time to time or misses badly. But rookies who are somewhat consistently wild in a clueless sort of way, in that there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to their wildness, make veteran ball players angry. I mean, they get pretty upset. They can tell the difference right off. Major league pitchers are expected to stay in the zone. It’s hard enough for a batter to hit 100 mph pitches as it is without having to worry about one hitting you in the head. You have to trust the pitchers to keep their pitches in a relatively tight zone around the plate if they throw that hard because there is often no way to get out of the way if a ball comes at you. Getting hit always hurts but getting hit by a pitch that fast can do serious damage.

RayChapman - Copy         Baseball careers have been ruined by hitters getting hit by pitched balls. One player back in 1920, in a game between the Yankees and Cleveland at the old Polo Grounds in New York, got hit in the head by a fastball. A shortstop for the Indians, his name was Ray Chapman. They rushed him to a hospital and did all they could but he died the next day. He is the only player in major league history to lose his life playing the game. Two years ago, Giancarlo Stanton, a star player for Miami, got hit directly in the face. He couldn’t get out of the way in time. The ball smashed flush into his face causing multiple fractures. Regarding speed, the ball was “only” 88 mph.

         There’s a few guys whose sparkling baseball careers were curtailed early. Tony Conigliaro, a young star for the Boston Red Sox in August of 1967, took a fastball to the face and was never the same. He said he heard the ball—a hiss—but didn’t see it. He was out the rest of the year and the entire 1968 season. He made it back in 1969, winning Comeback Player of the Year honors, and also had a great 1970 season when he had many career highs. He was done, though, after half a season in ’71 and a brief return attempt in 1975, his eyesight being permanently damaged.

Dickie Thon - Copy         Back in the early 1980s the Astros had a very good young player destined for stardom named Dickie Thon. Then one day he got hit in the face, the ball breaking the orbital bone of his left eye and damaging his eyesight. After a long recovery and ongoing vision problems, he played several more years but was never again the same player. He was, however, a major leaguer, and that says a lot. These baseball players have to be commended for getting back on the horse, especially after such gruesome injuries. Facing barely visible baseballs that can potentially kill you is a gutty thing, but even more so when perfect health and eyesight is long gone.

BASEBALL AND LIFE

         Like these guys, many people have been almost destroyed by life, coming about as close to total disaster as possible, but somehow saving themselves on the brink. They fight. They overcome. Many very courageous people come into this life seriously behind the eight ball and yet still manage to make life work. Life is hard enough as it is, but to have to face it with disabilities, or poverty, or some other almost impossible circumstance makes life almost not worth living. It is hard to even try. But humans have a secret weapon: We are made in God’s image. And the Lord is not a quitter. We all have the ability to win regardless of circumstances or setbacks.

         No one understands more than the Lord Jesus how hard life can be. He never did anything wrong but was attacked often. There were multiple death threats. So many people hated Him and still do. This proves another thing about humans: Humans can hate, often for no legitimate reason. Haters can destroy people. So, as I said, living life is hard enough as it is but when good people sometimes have to wade through dirty floodwaters in the process, it makes for a challenge. But it can still be accomplished. One can get up each morning and make up one’s mind to be victorious and get the job done.

         Understand, though, that I am not referring to the routine. I am not talking about excellent ball players who work less than their teammates and still do well because they are so loaded with talent and have always been supported. I’m talking about guys who have to fight with everything they have for many years when no when one gives them the time of day or any chance, and they know if they stop it’s all over. There are men who played long careers in major league baseball when pretty much no one thought they were worth the effort in their youth. What they lacked in exceptional natural ability and pure talent, and often greatly lacked, they made up for with very hard work and hard training and by never giving up.

         Other players with incredible talent were initially barred from the major leagues simply because of their skin color. But because of their work ethic, perseverance, and love and respect for the game, many became solid major leaguers, some became Hall of Famers, and a few became the greatest of all time.  They HAD to believe in themselves early on because next to no one else did. It is the same with perhaps millions of Christians with no outlet or support for their callings, though churches are ubiquitous.

Willie Mays Hank Aaron Roberto Clemente - Copy

Future Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron in 1961

         Some players quit too soon. They believe the naysayers and never make it. They walk away before giving it their all. This brings me to something so many Christians just don’t get. Multiple congregations have been taught incorrectly by quack ministers that making it to heaven is a cinch. They really believe that. For them, everything is rainbows and butterflies. Christians are getting killed for their faith and they’re out there like Julie Andrews singing and traipsing their way through mountain meadows—spiritual flower children living in a daydream world. Living for the Lord is NOT easy. Heaven is NOT guaranteed. Membership in the Lord’s community is NOT a right. Salvation is NOT to be taken for granted. It never has been. It’s not supposed to be. If it is than I can assure you it isn’t, if you get my drift.

         “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” [1Peter 4:18 NKJV]

         Living for God can be done, of course, and must be done, but it can be the hardest thing one can ever do. To understand this is to consider the opposition. Why is there so much opposition? If there was no wolf hounding a believer’s every step and no devil tempting us and lying his fool head off and no hater humans trashing Christians at every opportunity and no sinful flesh always reminding us of our weakness then, yeah, maybe living for the Lord wouldn’t be so tough. But that’s not reality.

         Maybe this is why I love baseball so much. The sport is basically impossible, and it’s certainly impossible to master. If it was easy anyone could play it. Those with any sports brains at all knows there is nothing harder to do in all sports—baseball, football, wingsuit flying, noodling giant catfish, whatever—than successfully hitting baseballs. There is no greater skill required for anything else. It is in part why so many millions of good baseball players never come within a million miles of making a career in the major leagues.

         It is even hard for the very best. The masters can’t master it. Even the very best of the best can be humiliated right out there in front of everybody and often are. A player can step up to the plate one day doing nothing discernibly different and suddenly see the ridiculous-to-hit blazing aspirin tablet transformed into a big old bouncy beach ball and start smacking it all over the field like it’s the easiest thing he’s ever done. Then suddenly that same player can’t buy a hit. His ability vanishes. He becomes a total baseball moron. His teammates quit talking to him. They figure he’s jinxed enough and they don’t want to be jinxed. Coaches keep trying to help him, looking for flaws. Sometimes players figure it out and make adjustments. But a lot of the time they just suddenly start playing well again. They move out of the slump as if it never existed. Out of the blue. “I’m back…” Teammates lighten up. All is well.

         If you’re a real Christian struggling right now, this is what you HAVE to remember: It’s temporary. Unless you quit. Don’t quit. Don’t ever, ever quit. There is always hope. Things will turn around. Things will definitely get better. Though we may get hit with a hundred mile-an-hour fastball right in the noggin we can get back up and play again. Baseball careers can be ruined by injury but there is no injury or disability that can stop a real Christian from completing the course. Again, all people, Christian or not, are made in the image of God. That image is sometimes hard to see but the Lord knows how to clean us up and get us right and anoint us and help us. He wants us to know that whatever happens is not the end until it is the end, and until then all things remain possible.

IT HAPPENS TO THE BEST

TedWilliams - Copy         I want to tell just one more baseball story. Ted Williams was among the three best baseball players in the history of the game. He had a goal early in his career to become the greatest hitter who ever lived. I believe he achieved it. Umpires would sometimes call a pitch a ball only because Williams didn’t swing at it. They knew he had much better vision than they did. It is said that Ted Williams probably had the best eyes in major league baseball history. To be the greatest you have to have great eyes. You also have to be intelligent. You have to know what’s coming at you as soon as possible and make split-second adjustments.

         In the late 1950s before a spring training game, there was a minor league kid phenom in the Baltimore Orioles organization with a legendary reputation pitching to his team in batting practice. His name was Steve Dalkowski. Ted Williams was watching him from behind the batting cage. The kid was known to be incredibly fast. I mean really, really fast. But he was also wild, as most kids that fast are. It’s very difficult to control a baseball thrown that hard. In later years, many people thought this kid threw harder than anyone ever had. Cal Ripkin Sr., a well-respected longtime player and coach, caught Dalkowski in the minors and reportedly said his pitches would easily clock out at 110. This was before radar guns. Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver said the kid threw harder than Nolan Ryan or Sandy Koufax or anyone he had ever seen. Umpires said the same.

         Ted Williams was intrigued. He had heard of the guy but never saw him before. He decided to step in and face the kid. See what he had. So the greatest hitter who ever lived stepped up to the plate. Several baseball writers standing around the cage suddenly grew quiet and gathered around, knowing something really cool was about to happen. In proverbial hushed tones, hard to do at batting practice, the reporters and other players watched as Williams took a few practice swings and indicated to the kid pitcher steve-dalkowski - Copyto bring it. Dalkowski, solemn and serious in this special one-time historical moment, moved slowly through his weird windup and uncorked a laser, a sonic fastball. It came in high and tight and disappeared into the catcher’s mitt after passing inches from Ted’s face. He never flinched. Whoa. What was that? As you’re watching the long ago scene play out in your mind—the ball in the catcher’s mitt, Ted Williams standing there, frozen—we’ll take up the story from Pat Jordan in The Suitors of Spring:

         “The catcher holds the ball for a few seconds. It is just a few inches under Williams’ chin. Williams looks back at the ball, then out at Dalkowski, who is squinting at him. Then he drops the bat and steps out of the cage. The writers immediately ask Williams how fast Steve Dalkowski really is. Williams, whose eyes were said to be so sharp that he could count the stitches on a baseball as it rotated toward the plate, says that he did not see the pitch, and that Steve Dalkowski is the fastest pitcher he ever faced and probably who ever lived, and that he would be damned if he would ever face him again if he could help it.” [1]

         He made the right choice. Ted Williams, the man with the greatest baseball eyes of all, didn’t even see the ball.

         He was lucky. Whizzing baseballs close to the head happen all the time but players usually see them and can react. Dalkowski’s pitch was so fast that Ted Williams was completely defenseless. He could have easily gotten beaned and suffered a major, career-ending injury. He could even have lost his life. It is said that Dave Chapman, back in 1920, got his cleats caught in the dirt and this contributed somewhat to why he couldn’t get out of the way in time before that baseball busted his skull and did end his life. It didn’t help that the pitcher who hit him had a reputation for being a headhunter. Steve Dalkowski wasn’t a headhunter. He was just hopelessly wild. He was a good guy who was always concerned about hitting people. He was too dangerous. As a result, the man with the fastest pitch in history never made it to the majors.

         Tony Conigliaro didn’t see the ball either in the end, and thus never saw it change course toward his head. Same thing happened to Dickie Thon, except he saw it but with not enough time to react. The ball sailed in and unexpectedly kept sailing in. It happens sometimes. These baseballs did what experienced players didn’t think they would do. The pitches acted out of character according to the players’ experience. The baseballs escaped the customary zone. While cognizant of the risks and fully alert, these players really had no chance, but unlike Williams and Conigliaro, Thon, Stanton, and Chapman at least saw the ball at some point.

FROM OUT OF NOWHERE

Herb Score - Copy         The worst thing life can throw at you is what you never expect or see coming. There is absolutely no defense against it. But know this: Even though the world is somewhat random, God is not the author of chaos. Human beings can learn through proper teaching and experience what to guard against, be careful of, and when or when not to take calculated risks. There is an unknown element we must deal with, however. It is the only element that certainly is completely random. You can’t really plan for it. You can only defend against it in part, and then only generally. It can act as a 100 mile-an-hour baseball coming right at your head like a heat-seeking missile reacting to your reaction and chasing you down until it pounds you. If you can see it you have a slight chance. Otherwise, forget it.

         What is the one unknown element? The element is human choice. If human choice is in the power of evil it can get you. Knowing one’s enemy, then, is one’s only defense. Therefore, you better identify the evil as evil or you will have no chance. You will be blind to the threat. Evil works best when it disguises itself as being harmless or good. This is why two-faced people are the bane of society. They pretend to be something they are not to improperly gain something they want. In short, they cheat. They lie, they deceive, they manipulate, and they connive—with a false front and a smile. They are masters of the Judas kiss.

         Many Christians decide, therefore, as a way to protect themselves, to simply reject their spiritual responsibilities. They abscond from their duty. They refuse to go to war. They know there is an enemy and that the spiritual fight will cost them. They don’t want to be a target. So they decide to never get in the game. They would rather watch the game at a distance, safely tucked away in the stands. They decline to engage.

         What’s worse, they believe they will go to heaven anyway. This is why some baseball fans make huge emotional investments in their chosen teams. They want to be part of the game and a member of the team but the only way to achieve it is to merely identify with the players and watch from afar. The actual players are working. They’re having fun. They’re getting paid. If they win a World Series they have even more fun and get paid more. Super fans don’t get paid. They don’t even play. They only convince themselves they are part of the team though they make no contribution whatsoever except going to the game and finding their place in the crowd, or following religiously on television. Sound familiar? 

         Real believers, unlike the unreal variety, don’t do this. They obey their Lord and engage the enemy. Attending to their callings make them subject to attack. As a result, many have taken a sock to the head. Or got a broken arm (this just happened again in a major league game a few weeks ago). Tony Conigliaro suffered a broken arm from another errant pitch earlier in his career. It happens more often than you think. What else explains so many real Christians suffering so many attacks and injuries? Why do so many real Christians get killed? Why do many have their lives destroyed or almost destroyed? It is not because they deserve it. It is not necessarily because they were not prepared, though it could be they trusted the wrong people. It mainly happens because they answer the call to war.

         “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name.” [Luke 21:16-17] [2]

THAT’S GONNA LEAVE A MARK

         If you’re gonna play baseball you’re gonna get hit. Even on defense. A ball can make a bad hop and hit you right in the mouth. I got smashed below the knee on a bullet from left field while sliding into second one time. Had that injury for a while. Blew up like a balloon. While pitching one time a guy hit a rocket line drive right back at me that was hit so hard I couldn’t dodge it and took it right in the thigh. Lucky for me. Even the umpire winced, stopped the game, and asked me if I wanted to come out. I said hell no and kept pitching. That injury to my quad was pretty bad and lasted months. I got hit in the back a few times going in to third base. One time I did it on purpose, moving over with my back to the ball (I didn’t see it but knew it was coming) so I wouldn’t get thrown out. That didn’t feel so good. But I was safe.

         I saw a runner coming into second on a double play once who didn’t get down in time and took a rifle shot from the shortstop directly to his forehead. It was pretty loud. He went down in a heap. I saw a pitcher get hit in the head on a line drive and the ball shot straight up into the air after beaning him. That was reallyAP SCHILLING BLOODY SOCK BASEBALL S FILE BBO USA MA loud. I saw a man right in front of me severely break his ankle sliding into third. Heard the crunch. Not good. Then there’s all the many destroyed knees, pulled and torn muscles, infinite hand injuries, broken fingers, and etc that players suffer every day playing the game they love. Anyone who has ever played for a while has seen these things. Injuries are simply part of the game. The only way to avoid them is to stay off the field.

         For those followers of the Lord reading this who have suffered some bad stuff due to the evil choices of others, remember first that the Lord warned us. He said it would happen. The devil and his people are wicked. There’s your explanation. The Lord suffered a little bit too. They even killed Him but He got back at them by not staying dead. So remember, with the Lord, the impossible is always possible. Putting our trust in the real Man, the best of all time, allows Him to work wonders in our lives. Whatever the challenge, whatever the struggle, whatever the impossibility, whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’re going through, whatever your goals are and the mountains you face, the Lord can open your eyes to answers. There are always incredible promised lands awaiting us all, sometimes just around the corner.

         So here’s my advice: The Lord Jesus will always do His part in your life if you let Him, and because He doesn’t want to mess up your objective by getting in the way, or treating you like a kid, or doing everything for you, or disallowing you from achieving great things according to His will on your own, or ruining the sheer fun of playing the game—

         Step up to the plate and dig in.

         Life is baseball, not tennis.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] The Suitors of Spring © 1970 by Pat Jordan

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Baseball Hall of Fame Election: Rewarding Steroid Users?

         The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the 2016 voting results for new member inductions later today.

         If you’re wondering what this has to do with Real Christianity, I would like to point out that Hall of Fame electability has a morals clause.

         That’s right. The Hall of Fame has always had written into its rules the fact that a player must show a certain level of morality during his career as part of his overall resume, otherwise thought to be based purely on one’s career record and statistics.

         According to the BWAA, the Baseball Writers Association of America that does the actual voting and decides who gets in, the official rule for deciding a player’s induction is the following:

         Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

         Here are the qualifications in list form:

(1) Player’s Record

(2) Playing Ability

(3) Integrity

(4) Sportsmanship

(5) Character

(6) Contributions to the Team

         Three of the above are purely about morals and good conduct: Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Character. The last says a player must be a team player which must also be included on the morals list. This means that each player elected is supposed to be elected based primarily on his morals and character, though he must obviously have great statistics and demonstrate a high desire to achieve and win.

         But in these days of anti-Christianity and no morals in which people get away with so much immoral behavior, the morals clause no longer applies in the way it was intended. At present, secular non-Christians have created their own morals rule book and it diverts greatly from the original written by the Creator. According to the new rule book, morals have either been redefined or eliminated, and some moral failings, such as gambling, have been pushed to the top, while so many other moral failures are not even considered. There is no need to go into specific moral failures because all readers know what I’m referring to, as do the players themselves and everyone who sees baseball from the inside.

         So, since we are talking about the Hall of Fame, the institution which showcases the very few and very greatest players of all time, many of whom are not considered moral stalwarts, I will limit myself for the purposes of this article to the one immoral act that has divided baseball and the election process itself over the last several years—the use of Steroids.

         It has been argued that steroids and associated chemical substances do not give a player any actual advantage. This is a lie of the highest magnitude. When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were racing to the home run title in 1998 reaching totals no two players had ever reached before in the same season, long-term fans knew something was up.

         For the sake of historical reference, here is how one man set and then continued to set the season home run record without steroids:

BABE RUTH

         In 1919, Babe Ruth set a new record by smashing 29 home runs. The next year he absolutely destroyed his former record by hitting 54! But he wasn’t done. In 1921 Babe Ruth hit an astounding and incredible 59 home runs. He then set a record that stood for 34 years when he hit 60 in 1927.

         Keep in mind that there were some big home run hitters that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s but none of them broke his record of 60.

         In Babe Ruth’s time each team played 154 games. In 1961 teams played 162 games. And it was in 1961 that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s record by hitting 61. He needed the extra eight games to do it, but it was still an amazing feat. If Roger Maris had played only 154 games as did Ruth, Babe Ruth’s record would have stood.

         It would have stood for 71 years! Until 1998. That was when Mark McGwire hit 70. It had also been revealed that year that McGwire had been taking a steroid supplement. The supplement was not illegal. It was not even illegal at that time in major league baseball. Hence, McGwire didn’t break any rules. But in my opinion, he certainly violated the morals clause.

         It was not seen that way at the time near as much as it was later. Steroids became a giant issue. Again, did steroids make a statistical difference? The obvious answer is YES. When steroids were first introduced to the game in the 1980s their use eventually spread like wild fire. When Barry Bonds saw what McGwire and Sosa were achieving he apparently decided to go all out on a steroid regimen which eventually helped him break McGwire’s record of 70 by hitting 73 home runs three years later in 2001.

         Of course, he beat the rap legally, but everyone knows what he did.

         If you don’t think steroids played a decisive role in breaking the home run record, here are Barry Bonds’ season home run totals leading up to his record-breaking year and afterwards:

1996: 42

1997: 40

1998: 37

1999: 34

2000: 49

2001: 73

2002: 46

2003: 45

2004: 45

         In 2005 his body apparently broke down and he only played 14 games, hitting 5 home runs. He played two more years, hitting 26 and then 28 homers to close out his career. In his last season he set a new career home record with 762 by breaking Hank Aaron’s 755.

         Barry Bonds has not done so well on the Hall of Fame ballot so far for only one reason: Steroids. Mark McGwire will never get elected. If I had the vote I would never vote for known steroid users with inflated records. It’s a no brainer. Barry Bonds broke the morals clause, in my opinion, as did many, many others. By bulking up with the apparent express intention of setting new all time records with the help of chemical substances, he violated the Hall of Fame’s electability moral standards:

         Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

         According to the above, he made a mockery of former time-tested statistics through unfair advantage and has lessened the accomplishments of many great players who played the right way and respected the game.

         The ironic thing about what he did is that he would have easily made the Hall of Fame if he had never done steroids. He was obviously one of the all time great players.

         I don’t know who will gain enshrinement later today. Bonds probably won’t make it this year. But I do know that America’s moral standards in general have long since descended into a pit and most do not even consider morals to be an issue. Name the gross sin and people are committing it every day in this country and getting away with it.

         Shoeless Joe Jackson, the man with the third best career batting average of all time, was banished from baseball over what has proven to be a relatively minor issue compared to what so many of the steroid cheats have done and gotten away with.     

         Barry Bonds is currently trying to rehabilitate his name by coaching a major league team this season. Again, he won all the legal cases against him. It could even be argued that he broke no actual rules. In my opinion, he will eventually get in the Hall of Fame and that tells one all one needs to know about the moral direction baseball has taken. Instead of being called out for an obvious wrong and instead of repenting for an obvious wrong, the wrong has been eliminated as a wrong.

         And Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Character have also been eliminated.

         For-e-ver. For-e-ver. For-e-ver.

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Sacrificial Love: A Shining Witness

abortion crosses

Image by reallyboring via Flickr

         In light of the article I posted last Saturday concerning abortion, let’s look at the other side of the equation. Real Christians do not kill their children. But for those who do, isn’t that their right? It is perfectly legal in this country to kill unborn babies, so those who choose to do so have every right to do so. It is the politically correct thing to do, whether to kill said babies or support their killing.

         There is yet another politically correct move underway at present in trying to banish the use of all tobacco products by Major League baseball players. When I first saw this, I thought, “What? Someone is trying to ban the use of legal products because it sets a bad example?” I don’t use tobacco products of any kind, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight. But as an American, I do not appreciate someone telling another American he or she cannot do something there is no law against. If it’s a moral issue, so be it. But until tobacco use is made illegal through legislation, where to some people get off in attempting to restrict its use?

         Now, it has already been proven that secondary tobacco smoke can kill and cause disease just as it can with the primary user. I don’t want anyone blowing smoke in my face. Therefore, I personally think it’s a good idea to ban tobacco smoke in public places. But snuff and chaw is a different issue. Besides, baseball players are way out there on the field. It is not possible that their disease is catching.

         But kids look up to them! They’re role models! I say that’s a lot of garbage. I’ve been following Major League baseball since the sixties and I have never once dipped snuff or chewed tobacco. I did try my Dad’s unfiltered Pall Mall’s on for size way back then and was cured of smoking very quickly. Baseball never made me a tobacco user. If someone becomes a tobacco user, it is their own personal decision, and the vast majority of kids learn it from their parents. And again, it is legal.

         So what happens if parents want to kill their children? Isn’t that their choice as Americans? The reason the Pro-Life Movement can never gain real steam is because it keeps running into the sad little fact that abortion is legal. No matter what one does, it seems, the powers that be cannot be convinced that they must end the practice. The reason is because Americans in general don’t want to end the practice. Abortion could be made illegal again very quickly if the majority of Americans got on the bandwagon and got after it. But they don’t. The nation in general just doesn’t care.

         Why then, should Christians care? Americans (and many professed Christians) love abortion, fornication, adultery, drugs, pornography, greed, excessive alcohol use, foul language, lying, materialism, disrespect of their fellow man, blatant idolatry, and murder. And the great vast majority of all people murdered in this country are tiny, innocent babies. These are just facts. They can’t be denied. It may make some people very uncomfortable, but that’s just the way it is. It is what America has become. This is how Americans use their free will, and almost all of it is perfectly legal. You wanna sleep around? No one’s gonna stop you. Kill your unborn kid? Legal. Use tobacco and alcohol excessively? Legal. Just don’t drive under the influence. Tell lies to your heart’s content? Deceive like there’s no tomorrow? Legal. Treat others like garbage as long as you don’t break any laws? No problem.

         But what about:

         “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40] [1]

         Well, these only apply to those real disciples who have committed their lives to the Lord Jesus. They don’t apply to anyone else. We still have about a billion laws in this country that are there for various reasons, but God’s laws only apply to those who have submitted to God. You can’t force people to obey God. The great thing about this country is that it is still a place of great personal freedom, though it is not anywhere close to being as free as it used to be. If people want to thumb their nose at God, He’s not going to drop everything and get ‘em. At the end of the day we each have the right to sin up a storm, do whatever the heck we want, and let the chips fall where they may.

         We also have the right to serve God. In this light, things would probably go better for us Christians if we would get our own lives together and quit trying to force non-disciples or faux Christians to toe the mark. One’s Christian witness, whether okay, kind of good, pretty good, or real good, is what others will see first. Though it is definitely a process, and there is always room for improvement, the love of the Lord is the answer as demonstrated through our lives. The Lord loved sacrificially. We must do the same.

         Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. [Ephesians 5:1-5]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.