One of my favorite books growing up was Total Baseball. It was a massive encyclopedia of baseball statistics and included statistics from every player who recorded a relevant statistic in a major league game. For a baseball nerd like me, the character of "Moonlight" Graham from Field of Dreams provided an interesting point of dialogue - would a player like that have done enough to appear in Total Baseball? I remember looking to see if there was a Wahl who played in the big leagues. There was - a utility infielder from South Dakota named Kermit Wahl. I was sure that I would be able to unseat Kermit as the greatest Wahl who had ever graced a major league field one day. Needless to say, Kermit is still the greatest Wahl to play at that level.
As those dreams came to an end and I started coaching, my goal became to guide my players to college baseball and my dream transitioned into one day coaching a player who played in the MLB. Over the past couple of seasons, I've been able to watch one of my former players, Pittsburgh Pirate reliever A.J. Schugel, pitch at the big-league level. It's an interesting thing to get the same butterflies watching A.J. work now as I did when he was hitting for us up on the hill at Mountain Vista. My internal anxiety for his success still exists. I hope that's a sign of true love for one of my baseball brothers.
Over time, either through maturation or a check of eternal perspective, striving for those joys have lost their luster, to some extent. Don't misunderstand me, I will get jacked up watching A.J. pitch and traveling to watch our former players play at the next levels of the game. Those are cool things. However, there's more to the whole picture of life. It reminds me of a story I heard Ravi Zacharias tell this week about Deion Sanders. Sanders came to saving grace in Jesus Christ after winning the Super Bowl and asking himself, "Was that it?"
Colossians 3:1-4 discusses the idea of putting on the "New Self":
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
This "New Self" allows you to see baseball totally differently and with a total perspective. Ultimately, our goal will be to see as many people we knew in this life have their name written in the "Book of Life." As cool as it would have been to appear in Total Baseball or in a Major League game, I am secure in the knowledge that through Christ I have achieved a new life and a new self. May our goal now be to see as many people as possible join us in glory one day, even through the game of baseball.