The All-Star rosters have been named and barring injury or opting out, those will be the guys we see in the Mid-Summer classic. This year, for the first time in several years, home field advantage in the World Series is not riding on this game. I know that it was not a very popular with fans that the winner of this exhibition game be given the significant advantage for the World Series, but I like that it gave the game some meaning and some reason to keep it competitive. So with that, gone, this year, I will simply be focussing on the All-Stars themselves, especially those whose story I have shared or plan to share on these pages. I will start with the starting third baseman for the National League – Nolan Arenado. He is one of 2 Rockies in the starting lineup, joining Charlie Blackmon (whom I blogged about at All-Star time a few years ago)
Arenado is definitely is a star. Only 26 years old, he has been an All Star twice before, he is on a streak of 4 Gold Gloves (in 4 major league seasons), 2 Silver Sluggers, 2 N.L. Home Run and Rbi crowns. And a couple weeks ago, on Father’s Day, he hit for the cycle, finishing the feat off with dramatic flare by hitting a walk-off home run to win the game. Check out the video below. That is a pretty solid return for the Rockies second round pick in the 2009 MLB draft.
So Offense? Check. How about defense. Got that covered, too. Check out this gem from earlier this week also against the Giants.
And on July 11, Arenado will play in his 3rd All-Star game. As you can read in this article from Mile High Sports, Arenado, despite the accolades, is still looking to improve. He says “I’m still learning. I’m still learning who I am as a ball player and how I am handling this game. I feel like I’m getting better every day. Hopefully I have a few more years in this league.” He goes on to share that it is easy to overthink the game of baseball. He says “I wish when I was younger I would have heard just go play,- Enjoy this and go play.” Further in the article, we read about a tattoo that Arenado has on his left forearm. It reads “Matthew 19.26” That verse says “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Why this passage? Arenado explains “When it comes to baseball I start to become a different animal. I start to just focus on the game. But my faith keeps me level headed. It makes me know that I have someone to rely on.“
Here are my takeaways from Arenado’s story:
1- Just Play – Last Sunday, I heard a message at church about Trust. Trusting God when life gets hard, trusting Him at all times. It is so easy to get distracted, to try and deal with things in our own strength and to allow ourselves to doubt or hesitate when it comes to following God and going where He leads us. Arenado talks about how in earlier in his career, he wished he had been told to “just play”. I see these as similar things. He implied that the game can get in your head, you can have doubt in your abilities or try to tweak your game and end up overthinking it and making it worse. I feel like that is how it is with Trusting God. An analogy used in the message on Sunday, and one that I have used myself from time to time in teaching Bible to kids is that of a chair. 99.9 percent of the time, we sit in a chair without giving it a second thought. We don’t inspect the chair, the back, the legs to make sure that it isn’t going to fall apart or cause us to fall, we don’t ask someone else to try it first and make sure it is OK, we don’t ask our friends to think about us and pray for us before we park our butt on the chair, – we just sit and expect that the chair will hold. Why are we so trusting? Because the chair has always held us before. But a chair is an inanimate object, made by imperfect people and we are still so trusting. Why don’t we have this same trust in the God who created the universe and promises to have plans to give us hope and a future? He has also always held us before. He has our best interests in mind and is able to do things that we see as impossible (see point #2). Yet, we don’t blindly trust God’s plan or path for our lives. We hesitate, we seek second opinions, we see what others are doing and try to follow them instead. Arenado wished he heard people telling him not to overthink baseball, and “just play”. We also need to not overthink life and all that could go wrong or distract us. Just Trust! He is more reliable than a chair, trust Him and put your all into following His plan!
2- With God All Things are Possible – So am I saying that following God will eliminate our pain, discomfort and embarrassment? Not even a little. Jesus promised that in this world we will have trouble. But He is by our side and He has overcome the world (John 16.33). So even when pain, discomfort, embarrassment and hardship comes our way, keep trusting in Him, Keep going all out for Him. And when the unimaginable heartbreak that life has a way of confronting us with shows up, only complete dependence on Him will carry us through. How can we trust Him when doing so seems to lead to hard things? Well, we can remember that hard things come to everyone – Pain and sorrow are never far away in this life. But again, I am reminded of one of the great promises the Bible tells us. Philippians 4.13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. That phrase “all things” covers more than we think. It means God can lead us to peaks of amazing accomplishments, AND he can lead us out of deep valleys of pain and despair. Let’s remember both sides and that God is there with us through it ALL!! He can help us. He wants to help us. and with Him on our side, all things are possible.