I do love these comeback stories – Last time I blogged about C.J. Nitkowski and my hope that he would get back to the majors after 7 years and a journey around the world, playing in South Korea, Japan and independent league baseball. This time around, I’ll share the stories of a couple of Orioles who were not counted on at the start of the year, but have come to earn a spot on the roster at this key time of the schedule as the Orioles fight for the post-season for the first time since 1997.
Lew Ford, like Nitkowski, has played around the world. This article from New York Times tells the story of Ford’s career – from the draft (12th round by the Red Sox)through the Twins organization -culminating in a 24th place finish in the 2004 A.L. MVP voting. This year began with a hope of bringing his Atlantic Independent baseball league team – the Long Island Ducks to a league
championships. After a solid season there, and a mid-May contract offer from the Orioles, he moved back to AAA and continued to play well until, finally about 5 years after his last appearance, Lew Ford again took some big league swings. And how has he been doing? 14 games, .226 average and 2 home runs, helping the surprising Orioles keep within striking distance from the first place Yankees.
Now, I was not able to find any articles about the faith story of Lew Ford, who attended Dallas Baptist , but you can see here that he was a participant in Twins Faith Night a few years ago, and his wife, Corri, is an ordained minister, recording artist and kids book author. Check out her web site here.
And Nate McLouth also is excited for another chance. After a few successful years with an unsuccessful franchise in Pittsburgh – earning an invite to the 2008 all-star game (where he recorded an outfield assist in the 10th inning) and a 2008 gold glove. He spent parts of 3 years with the Atlanta Braves before signing a return contract to the Pirates last winter. He couldn’t make it work and was demoted, then released. Just 2 weeks later, the Orioles came calling with a minor league contract. He impressed enough to earn a call-up on August 5. In the month since his call up, he has come up with some key hits to help the Orioles drive for a post-season birth.
Here is McLouth sharing his story of Faith in God with CBN when he played with the Braves.
Here are a couple thoughts about these stories.
1-Ball players are just normal people – we do like to idolize our heroes. We put them on pedestals and cheer them on when they bring our team success. But off the field, they are no different than you or me. They try to be good dads, loving husbands, providers and upstanding citizens. Lew Ford’s wife wrote a book from the perspective of their oldest son called “My Daddy is just my Daddy to me”. This is a good reminder that our heroes are humans and in the grand scheme of things, just like us – faulted an in need of a Savior.
2- So important to teach out kids. McLouth, like so many others that I have come across talks about how at the age of 19, 20 when he first was out on his own, he knew that he had to choose to follow God with his life. This life is full of hardship – and when hard times come, it is really important to be equipped on how to deal with those hard times (where to turn). Faith in God grows when we see Him at work in hard times.
I love comeback stories and I love pennant races. The Orioles are offering both. I hope they continue to play well and stay in the hunt through September. And for these 2. I look forward to seeing them play a key role in the upstart Orioles drive for the post season.