As I sit here and watch the All-Star game enter the 8th inning, I am hoping that somehow Jason Grilli can get into the game. At 36, the former first round draft pick (#4 overall by the San Francisco Giants) has waited a long time to be on an All-Star roster. And he deserves it, leading the National League in saves and opportunities with 29 (in 30 attempts) which itself is amazing since Grilli had 7 career saves in his entire career before this season.
In 2002, Grilli had Tommy John surgery, which rebuilds the tendons in a pitching arm. It can mean the end of a career but it isn’t even the most serious surgery of his pitching career. In 2010, looking to make the Cleveland Indians opening day roster, Grilli injured his knee during a drill. It turned out that a bone fragment in his knee shredded his quadriceps muscle. There was some question as to whether he would walk normally again, let alone pitch. And a serious injury at the age of 33 is often the end of the road for a career. You can read about the account of his injury and more of his story in this article from the Post Gazette.
In the top of the ninth, Grilli takes the mound. He looks like he belongs in an All-Star Game despite Prince Fielder’s lucky triple. Grilli, the son of a former major league pitcher, knows that nothing has been or will be handed to him. He knew that he would have to work hard at every step, but especially to return from his knee injury. He drew his inspiration to come back from a 16 year old soccer player who lost a leg in an accident. You can read about her in this article.
Grilli also talked in this article from northjersey.com about putting in the work and letting God take care of the results. That is hard to do, but when you reach the point of understanding that you need God to guide everything in your life, you start to see that God is in charge of the results.
Here are my takeaways:
Jesus is our backbone. I have heard people refer to Jesus as a crutch, something to lean on in hard times. I heard a speaker agree that Jesus is a crutch, but when you are crippled, that’s not a bad thing. But even more than that. Jesus is the very backbone of our lives. In his testimony with baseball chapel, Grilli says as much – He talks about how God is the backbone, not just the crutch. What we come to understand is that there is little in our life that we can control on our own. He needs to be the backbone – the strength and central point of all that we do.
Being Significant – In this article from nj.com, Grilli talks about liking the closer role. He likes to be the one his team depends on. But at the same time, he knows that he is just a part of the team and that the pitchers that get the game to him with the lead to close is equally important to the success of the team. Likewise, we are all part of the body of Christ – 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that the roles are different and some roles may get more attention, but each role is important.
Well done All Star Jason Grilli – an great story of relying on God and seeing him write an incredible story!