OF THE CUBS*
Special Edition of
From the Bullpen
Guest Editor: Shamu
Edition No. 10
May 6, 2003
Greetings, my fellow
baseball brethren! It is indeed an honor for me to share a few random
(rambling) thoughts with you about baseball and life. When I
volunteered for this task I didn’t realize how tough the competition would
be. Johnny and Bob, you guys were as witty and funny as ever.
Mouse, you are an extremely tough act to follow. Ted, I didn’t
actually get through all of your Bullpen but I learned a few things along
the way. Dave and Linda, thanks again for all the hard work over the
In our beloved HSL, is it better to be lucky
or good? One needs to look at Johnny when discussing the topic of
luck. Last year, Johnny cherry picked Vincente Padilla by finishing
last the first week. A fortunate move for our lucky friend but one
in which I had no control over. This year, being behind Johnny in
the standings a few weeks ago, I chose Tanyon Sturtze ahead of Esteban
Loaiza, as it just seemed to be the right play. Once again, things
worked out very well for our lucky friend and very poorly for Shamu.
Shouldn’t these moves tend to average out over the course of 20 years?
What is up with the Red Sox listening to Bill
James and going with the “bullpen by committee”? As the proud owner
of Pedro, I could not possibly be less happy about this development.
Why do the past Senator closers (Foulke, et al.) excel the following year and his current closers (Benitez & Koch) stink? I have no explanation. I merely wanted to point this fact out. Dave, I actually love your team. If Brown can discover why he has no energy (I may have that same “disease”), I think you can make a run at the title. NOTE TO OTHERS: Never disrespect Skipper’s team in the Bullpen. This is a battle that you cannot possibly win.
When will the bubble burst for Blongo’s beloved Royals? While HSL history has demonstrated that I am certainly no baseball genius, I truly believe the Royals are for real. Although I have yet to understand a single word uttered by their manager, I also believe he is the real deal.
Who will win the coveted 2003 HSL crown? I would love for Bob, Denny or Mouse to win it all and even though Mitch, Blongo and Jim seem to have drafted the best teams, I cast my vote for the luckiest man on the face of the earth, Johnny. It is a given that he will squeeze 800 points out of Loaiza and with the other “career years” his squad will again muster, in my humble opinion, Johnny is the team to beat. Gee, I hope this doesn’t jinx your squad.
Now that another April has come and gone without the West Des Moines Cubs cherry picking some hot free agent, I have reached the inevitable conclusion that I hate my team. Admittedly I am a little slow to pull the trigger on making too many free agent transactions, as in my opinion there is nothing worse than cutting a player loose only to see him excelling for another HSL team two weeks later. I am a simple guy, all I need is a couple of homeruns and about a dozen runs/ribis per night to put a smile on my face. It just seemed a lot more fun when I was looking at the names of Sandberg, Murray, Ripken and Henderson rather than my current crew of Huff, Nixon, Matsui and Pierre. However, I cannot officially wave the white flag for at least one more week, as the tradition of the guest author having a good week continues.
Enough about baseball.
I now want to focus on life. In the past two years I have undergone
an incredible spiritual rebirth. I struggled with wondering if this
is the proper forum to discuss my faith. After much deliberation I
felt a giant leap of faith is warranted. I love you guys and decided
now is the time to “step out of the boat.” Besides, if not now,
when, and if not me, who? I have come to the peaceful and joyful
recognition that JESUS is Life!
Please allow me to share my favorite Bible verse and my personal Lenten Devotional:
“Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all that you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers.
If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
The presence of the Holy Spirit is an overwhelming experience for me. When God’s peace floods my heart, tears of joy well up and I cannot speak or sing (which is probably not a bad thing for those sitting around me in Church). From the above reading, it seems like a simple recipe to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit, but at least for me, it is anything but simple. I just cannot seem to relinquish control of my life for any extended period of time. Whenever I temporarily lose sight of God’s love for us in the chaotic pace of our society and I attempt to take control of my life again, I handle adversity very poorly and worse yet, I lose sight of my priorities.
The one thing I have learned and try to focus on is this: God has bestowed incredible blessings on us and we need to continually thank Him for these blessings. This humbling experience seems to draw me closer to God and I again experience the wonderful fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I know that I am not capable or worthy to experience these gifts on my own. It is only possible through the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, help us to remember that everything we have comes from you and you alone. Please fill our hearts with your Holy Spirit so that we can become more like your Son, Jesus Christ, who demonstrated the ultimate act of love. Although completely sinless and innocent, He took our numerous sins to the cross with Him. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Guys, God has changed my heart! Do I still fall short and sin? Absolutely, everyday, but knowing that God forgives me has made my life much more joyful and peaceful. Plus, God has graciously removed many negative and evil desires from my heart and replaced them with His peace.
I know there are some possible ramifications for sharing my faith in the Bullpen: 1) Not being allowed to guest author future Bullpens. I think I can live with this consequence. 2) Being ridiculed by some of you. Over the years, I have come to expect and somewhat appreciate this consequence. While my eating habits are extraordinary, this will give some of you new ammunition. I say to you “please bring it on.” Besides, while I am certainly no biblical scholar, I believe one may receive blessings for being ridiculed for sharing one’s faith. Finally, I would be very, very careful about disrespecting someone for playing his faith card. 3) Having further discussions with anyone about JESUS being Life! I would love this consequence! In fact, I am somewhat ashamed for not sharing my faith with you sooner.
May God bless each of you and your families!
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