Having just spent the Easter weekend soothing a vomiting child at the in-laws, I had some time to consider the state of small market baseball. Things get dark at 2:00 AM with your hand on the back of a 4-year old heaving her guts out into the toilet. There’s not a lot of joy; not a ton of hope; and not a lot of optimists declaring this particular situation half full.
Those bathroom moments are not for the faint of heart. Throughout life, real men face their fragile mortality in those early morning hours by the john. In our 20’s we were making the deposits. But now as we approach mid-life, the pain is deeper when we witness the agony of our innocent children’s bulging eyes and quivering chins resting on the edge of the cold, porcelain bowl. This past weekend I faced that reality. And on Saturday of all days. In the Christian tradition it is the one day of the year that God is truly dead. Jesus was killed on the cross on a Friday, cold in a tomb on Saturday, and rose from the grave on Sunday. That Saturday must’ve been bleak. Think about it. The Messiah, the Savior, the One – just killed like any old bandit. Nailed to a cross and left to die.
20 years of losing kind of feels like death. (So I’ve heard…) And a Sports Illustrated 4th-place prediction doesn’t offer a lot of hope. There’s a lot of pessimism on the ol’ Tweeter these days and I can only imagine some of the bleacher conversations at PNC after Rizzo’s 1st inning home run. So what’s a fan to do?
Occasionally I watch Tony Campolo videos on YouTube. Do you know Tony Campolo? He’s a Christian preacher and professor of sociology. Christian or not, sociologist or not – he’s very entertaining. He has this story about preaching in a black church (he’s white) and participating in a ‘preach-off’. Take a listen if you have 3 or 4 minutes. The gist of it is about the death and resurrection of Christ. He talks about (or rather, tells how someone else preached about) the darkness of Friday. The hopelessness and loneliness of Friday. The emptiness and weight of Friday. But don’t fret. It’s only Friday… Sunday’s comin’… He says, ‘Friday. People are saying – as things have been so they shall be; you can’t change things in this world.’ But I’m here to give you the good news – it’s only Friday! Sunday’s comin’…’
In other words, the new reality is coming. That reality where the meek inherit the Earth and the peacemakers are blessed. And yes – that reality where the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Did we not just have an off-season in which Buster Olney picked the Yankees to finish 5th and Clint Hurdle called 95 wins for the Pirates?! Did we not just witness a season in which the mighty Red Sox finished with 69 wins and the lowly Expos won their division?!
The new reality is upon us!
So what if our Buccos lost today. They only scratched out 3 hits and would’ve been shut out if not for the bumbling incompetence of a failing closer on a failing team. They’re 0-1. Our ace got beat. Barmes still can’t hit. And the line-up looked like Hurdle lost a bet with a hockey fan. But you know what?!
It’s only Friday… Sunday’s comin’!