Baseball and other things

I am a Mariners fan. 

A serious one. I have been a Mariners fan for as long as I can remember talking. In the early 90’s, names like Griffey, Martinez (both of them), Buhner, and Randy Johnson were household names. I could barely assemble sentences and I was swinging a bat at a tee, pretending I was one of those guys. Then ’95 happened. If you’re an M’s fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t, I’ll help you:

Oh, and this:

Speaking of household names, Dave Niehaus is right up there. Many years followed of exciting Mariners baseball, coming to a climax in 2001 when they hit the world record for wins in a season. After that, things kinda digressed. The bandwagon got much, much lighter. Nevertheless, they’ve maintained a steady following, slowly picking up stragglers along the way, to where they are now. They hold the longest playoff drought of any team in the five major pro sports in the US. They recently acquired this prestigious honor, when the Buffalo Bills made it to the playoffs (?!?!) this past winter. 
And yet, year after year, I get giddy as baseball season approaches. I literally can’t wait. You see, I grew up in a baseball house. We ALL played baseball (or fastpitch, in the case of my sisters), both in Little League and in High School (Go Seahawks). Like my brother, I played shortstop most of the time, and I like to think I did pretty well, up until High School. But unlike all my siblings… it stopped. While my siblings all had acquired MVP honors by their sophomore years, I was done after my freshman year. I had fun playing, but to put it bluntly, I wasn’t very good. I did well at tryouts. Well enough to make the team. But my hand-eye coordination did not keep up with my fellow players, and I fell behind. Something new had come into my life: guitar. And more importantly, worship. I had found a new identity. As a socially awkward dorky teen, I had trouble fitting in here and there, and more or less followed where my friends went, which wasn’t always what I actually wanted to do. By mid sophomore year, I joined the chamber choir, and baseball became a thing of the past. I was playing guitar at youth group, and found closeness with the friends there, like I never had before. Jesus had taken over that spot, and I was along for the ride. 
But baseball certainly never actually left my life. It was always there, like a faithful friend. Occasionally I’d catch a Mariners game here and there. But I was growing. Learning. And oddly enough, missing it. About six years ago or so, I came back. I don’t know if the Mariners needed me, but they weren’t doing very well. Frankly, they haven’t done well much at all. They’ve shown promise here and there, but anyone who is a ‘bandwagon’ fan would be foolish to jump on that one. But I came back. Rick Rizz was still calling games on 710 AM, as if nothing had ever changed. The excitement was still there. I’d bought in wholesale, and let the Mariners toss my emotions too and fro. Yes, the season would always end with disappointment, but I have learned something valuable that I will take with me my entire life.
I decided early on that the highs were worth it. That every game represented potential. Even if the odds were bad. I began to see glimmers here and there that my pessimistic fellow Washingtonians did not see. Felix’s perfect game, Kyle Seager making legendary stops at 3rd base. I changed my expectations. Instead of holding on to a flimsy expectation that they go get a World Series trophy, finally, I just asked them for one thing: exciting baseball. And my oh my, have they delivered. It’s FUN. There is THRILL. 
Give every day a chance. 24 hours each. We all get it. It’s almost the only thing in life that is actually fair. How do you look at those hours? I’m not just talking about a simple pessimism vs optimism situation. I mean actually going for it. Life is a marathon, just like a baseball season. It’s long. But with each day, comes the potential for something amazing to happen. How would you know if you didn’t try? In baseball, no matter how bad the season is going, any game could give a no-hitter, or a hit for the cycle, or a grand slam. It’s a game of potential. Like life. We all want to see fruit in our lives. We want that amazing thing to happen, but we need that heavenly perspective. We need to look up expectantly, but not as if to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen the way we expect, but to see through HIS eyes. He has chosen us to be a part of His story. And you’ll only know what potential each day truly has, if you lace up your cleats, put on your glove, and get ready. It could happen today.
John 15:16
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
Entering this Mariners season, there is once again, promise, hope, and buzz. And expectations. There are new faces, like Dee Gordon, and old ones too… like Ichiro. I’ll go to, watch, or listen to every game that I can. And every time I hear that intro music before a game… I’ll be 7 years old again, watching Edgar step up to the plate…