Additional "Sac Fly" Articles


Sac Fly: An Introduction
Published: 6/27/2014 5:03:15 PM


You have stumbled upon a baseball blog. You can come here a few times a month to read some of my thoughts on the most current MLB news and events, on weird plays throughout the league, on incredible statistics, and on all the joys and pains from which no die hard baseball fan is able to separate themselves.
I often describe myself as belonging to two churches. The first church is the body of Christ, in which I participate as a member of an LC-MS congregation. The second church is the church of the St. Louis Cardinals, a vine into which I was grafted very quickly after moving to St. Louis in 1994. And I’ve come to realize that, in many ways, my experience as a member of the body of Christ is very similar to my experience as a member of the church of the St. Louis Cardinals. It is an interesting realization and it is one that I will explore more deeply through the posts here on Sac Fly.
Before I go much further, I’ll say that this is not a blog directed at baseball fans who wish to understand more their participation in the body of MLB. Rather, it is directed toward Christians who, like me, often have to intentionally remind myself to ask the question: "What am I doing? What is the point of the Christian life?” Sanctification? Vocation? Good works? I don’t know. I’m just asking a question.
And hopefully through this blog I’ll stumble upon some interesting and valuable answers that will help any Christian person—baseball fan or not—to appreciate our own role in the body of Christ and as tools of the Holy Spirit’s work in the world
Before I go much further, I’ll say that this blog is not a St. Louis Cardinals fan blog. I live and die with the Cardinals, sure. 2006 and 2011 were some of the best times in my life, and 2004 and 2013 were some of the most heartbreaking. (I wasn’t yet alive in 1987, though I’m sure it would have been terribly heartbreaking.) Generally, though, baseball is a great sport and I love to follow the game as a whole. Further, not only do I think that the events of baseball games offer great opportunities to consider through analogy the Christian life, but so do the philosophy, history, and purpose of baseball, as well.
Let me provide an example of what I mean. We all know what it is like to show up at a designated holy space at a prearranged time in order to witness and participate in the completion of a series of actions by representatives of a community on behalf of that community. That’s baseball, right? Before I sat down to write this blog post on Saturday, May 3, I watched a television broadcast of a game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. (L 3-0) 37,874 people packed Wrigley Field for the 12:05 p.m. first pitch in order to watch the game and cheer their team on to victory. How different is this from gathering in a sanctuary for the 10 a.m. Sunday morning divine liturgy with 200 or so fellow worshippers?
At face value these experiences are very similar. As members of either a church or baseball congregation you know when to sit or when to stand, when to sing songs or what words to say as a community in a call-and-response manner, when it is time to receive food and drink, when it is time to share in a certain emotion, when it is time to leave, and when it is time to come back again. As Christians we can respond quickly saying "Well, yes, but the purpose and effects of a divine liturgy are so much greater and more important than what happens at any baseball game.”
And I’d respond by telling you that the closest thing that I’ve ever had to what some might call a "spiritual experience” was late in the evening on Thursday, October 27, 2011 when I watched David Freese smash a solo homerun off of Texas Rangers pitcher Mark Lowe in the 11th inning to complete a miraculous comeback win for the Cardinals and to send the 107th World Series to game 7, which the Cardinals ultimately won. #11in11 (Just thinking about that moment still gives me goosebumps! I will never forget hearing fellow St. Louisan Joe Buck triumphantly announce "We will see you…tomorrow night!”)
As a baseball fan I will never have any trouble remembering what is the point of my baseball life or how that impacts the things that I do. I will always know that my job is to share in the communal life of the game, cheer my team toward a World Series championship, and spread the love of the game to all corners of the planet. So why is it that for so many Christians it is all too easy to forget the value and meaning of life in the church, what we have been called to do as God’s workmanship, and how that impacts the decisions that we make and the things that we do?
So that is a glimpse of what I hope to do here on Sac Fly. Hopefully through playing with this analogy some good nuggets will be uncovered that will engender for you some of the same passion and excitement for Christian living that baseball provided for me during game 6. Check back regularly and frequently as I hope to be able to have timely posts related to events throughout the baseball season. And I invite you to leave comments that describe how you play around with these same ideas.
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
Go Cardinals.

Contributed by Ben Parviz