June 13, 2016
Why NOT the Cubs?
Now – I need you all to get those thinking caps in place… ready?
You’ve heard of the English nation and the German nation… well, this is the IMAGINE – nation! (OK – I stole that from “Miracle on 34th Street”, 1947)
Go back… BACK… to October 16, 2003…
You’re a Red Sox fan. You’ve just watched Yankee fans – after taunting your best pitcher with pictures of Babe Ruth, jeering at him “Whooooo’s your Daddy?”- celebrate yet another Yankee victory over your beloved Sox. It was, once again, too surreal to be true. With your team ahead by three runs, Grady Little – who will forever take the ultimate blame – left Pedro in there too long. The Yankees, incredibly, tied up Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS. You have just watched knuckleballer Tim Wakefield throw a pitch that Yankees’ third-baseman Aaron Boone has just deposited into the left field stands.
You’ve just had your guts kicked out – again.
Life just doesn’t seem fair – how could it be, with this devastating loss to your hated rivals – AGAIN! How come they keep on winning while YOUR team can’t cut a single break?
To get an unbiased description of the event, here’s what it says in Wikipedia: Boone hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning, off of Tim Wakefield during Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS which gave the New York Yankees a 6–5 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees won the game and the series on the home run, thus prolonging the Sox’ Curse of the Bambino for one more year. The New York Daily News dubbed the play the “Curse of the Boonebino”. This home run was rated the ninth-best home run of all time on Baseball Tonight,…
Look it up – you can finish reading it on your own.
If you’re that Red Sox fan, what would you pray for? You would probably pray, “Please, God! Let the Red Sox win the World Series! Next year, if that’s possible!”
So what happens the next year? Your beloved Sox beat the Angels and find themselves, face-to-face – again – with the New York Yankees. The guy your team brought in to get them over the top, Curt Schilling, tries to pitch Game One, but gets “Schillacked” – his injured ankle must be much worse than anybody knows. They lose Game One… Game Two… and get humiliated in Game Three, 19 – 8, at your own home ball park. Now – the Sox are down 3 games to none, a deficit that NO TEAM has EVER overcome in a 7-Game Series. It looks like another loss to those hated Yankees!
In Game Four, the Sox are down by a run in the bottom of the ninth – their last chance. The Greatest Relief Pitcher in MLB History is on the mound for the enemy – Mariano Rivera. He had come into the game an inning earlier than usual – the eighth – but the situation still looked hopeless. Kevin Millar gives them some hope – he’s able to work a walk. The Red Sox pinch-run for Millar with the speedy Dave Roberts [Yes, THAT Dave Roberts, now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers]. With Bill Mueller at the plate, Rivera throws over to first three times. As he throws the first pitch to the plate, Roberts takes an entire franchise on his back… a franchise that has had a long history of disappointments and disasters, as he tries to steal second base. It was much too close a play for the millions of fans in New England watching or listening – but he’s safe! And – more importantly – in scoring position!
Which is what he does! Bill Mueller singles him home to tie the game at 4… and to hang a blown save around the neck of Rivera. In the bottom of the twelfth… this time, it’s the Red Sox who walk off victoriously when “Big Papi” David Ortiz hits a two-run shot to win it.
In Game Five, the Red Sox and the Yankees this time go to the 14th, when Big Papi – the hero again – singles home Johnny Damon. The Sox faithful chant “Whooo’s your Papi?” with delirious joy!
Game Six will go down in history as “The Bloody Sock” Game (actually there are two – the second one happens in the World Series). Curt Schilling and the Red Sox medical staff do a procedure to Schilling’s ankle that apparently stabilizes it, allowing him to pitch at Yankee Stadium. And pitch he does – brilliantly! Schilling, on his reconstructed ankle, pitches seven strong innings, allowing only one run. During the game, the injured ankle starts to bleed, leaving a “Red Badge of Courage” spot on the pitcher’s ankle. The Red Sox win 4 – 2, and they’re now tied at three games apiece.
In Game Seven, Derek Lowe starts for the Red Sox. He pitchs very well, while the Sox hitters score a lot of runs. The initial blow is a two-run home run by Big Papi off of Yankee starter Kevin Brown. With the Sox ahead 8 – 1 in the 7th, Pedro Martinez is brought in to relieve. The Yankees’ fans start chanting “Whooooo’s Your Daddy?” again, especially when the Yankees score two runs. But – it’s too little, too late – Alan Embree gets the final out of Boston’s 10 – 3 victory. The Yankees are defeated! The Red Sox go on to the World Series…
Against the Cardinals, who might as well have not shown up. They are steam-rolled by what has to be the hottest team in MLB history – and the Boston Red Sox – for the first time in 86 years… since the 1918 World Series… 84 years since selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees – are Baseball Champions of the World!
This sounds so much like a storybook, but, as any real baseball fan knows: ALL OF THAT REALLY HAPPENED! God (Elohim) answered the prayer of you, that Red Sox fan, in 2004.
Do you see the gospel in the midst of that? That “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin”? That Jesus, the only sinless human being to ever live, had to die a bloody death by crucifixion – the “just for the unjust” (all of us) – so that our sins could be forgiven? I’ll spell it out for you, if you missed it: just like a blood sacrifice of the Son of God was required to break the Curse of Sin, just so, the bloody sock of Curt Schilling symbolized the need of a blood sacrifice to break the “Curse of the Bambino.” Or – just as Curt Schilling’s bloody sock symbolized the need for a blood sacrifice to break the Curse of the Bambino, so the actual blood of Jesus, the one and only God-man, the Sinless One, was required to pay the price so that the Curse of Sin could be broken for all of us who believe that. Either way, it works. The Red Sox of 2004 demonstrated that the curse of the Bambino was over by winning the World Series; Jesus the Messiah showed that Elohim had accepted His blood sacrifice by RISING FROM THE DEAD!
Yeah, I see that.
Alright: thinking caps on again . Suppose, two years ago, in 2014, you wanted to ask God to do a miracle to show that He was real. You won’t believe because the sun rose that morning… which allowed green plants to capture its light energy and use water (the most abundant substance on earth) and carbon dioxide (a waste product of all living cells!) to make food (to give us energy) and oxygen (so we can live!)! No – those things, and a thousand other daily miracles, aren’t enough for you. You want to REALLY test Him to see if this God really exists! So – the greatest miracle you can think of is –
“OK, god – if you’re really God – make the Cubs win the World Series!”
Comin’ right up!