Tag Archives: baseball

It’s Here

Come, thou long-awaited spring – decided proof that life goes on.  Bare branches, having lost all great glory as winter overcame resolve and strength waned, have waited {working so much harder to dig in deeper than can be fathomed} and now bud to give birth to glorious leafy-green life.  The brittle-dead fields are shedding that golden debris-blanket in strong March winds where green shoots have quietly emerged unseen, looking heavenward.  The tulips pop up and then out, the birdsong gets sweeter.

Come, spring ~ release us from heavy garments of mourning, from the dry burlap and twine of packed-away hopes to sun-warmed dreams as big as the cloudless blue-sky.  Let the seeds of desire and vision, though dropped barely {breath-held} hopeful into the black soil of despair, now ~ softened in the unseen tomb of dark ground and cold night ~  spring forth with gladness.  Life does go on, life is renewed in the spring rains via sorrowful tears.  So, come spring.

O spring, how grand the hope you bring, we look for you, we count the days, we hold onto promise barely, our anticipation growing.   And then, the crystal-blue light of the freshest of sunrises, a cloudless daybreak, diamond-dew on new grass catches the morning sun and sends it glistening back to You.  We are loaded in daily grace, divine benefits – veritably dripping in treasure.

All my springs*, O Lord, are in You.  All my springs, my seasons, my days, my hours, my minutes, my wretched body-soul-and-spirit, all of my life and new life, all life abundant, my past, my future, but mostly my today – this minute – all of it is in You, by You, for You and because of Your faithfulness.  I thank-You, Lord for the spring which vigorously compels me to concede that letting go or giving up what was cannot deplete nor diminish what will be…

Come now, spring.  Fully, finally.  Faithfully.

And for fun:

cardinal baseball

Winter has passed.  This must be baseball… :)

*Psalm 87.7 NKJV

Both the singers and the players on instruments say,

“All my springs are in you.”


The Game

Baseball.  Movies about baseball evoke such strong emotion in me – reaching back to my earliest memories.  We didn’t have a TV for years as I was growing up, but every summer night, we had a radio tuned to baseball.  You could hear the roar of the crowds, hear the crack of the bat against the ball, the organ igniting excitement, and plenty of beer commercials.  We didn’t “believe in” beer, but they sure had memorable jingles!  And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if much of my colorful-word love was nurtured by the likes of Harry Carey calling a game.

Pinned Image

When I think of those nights in Des Moines, Iowa, I recall open windows and a swinging screen door, azure-blue-sky dusk, home and family.  I recall St. Louis Cardinal program books I would scour for hours and I embraced my dad’s love of the game.  Because he loved it, and I wanted to please him, I loved it, too.

My first trip to a Bookmobile, I checked out my 3-book limit in baseball books for my dad.

No wonder then…

A good baseball movie awakens every romantic summer notion in my soul.

Little known fact:  I know what a baseball smells like.  I even know how it tastes: salty to the tongue.  And I know a glove that has been around for a long time is a part of you.  It stays. Forever.

Baseball + Movies = I love them!

FAVS, there are seven I wholly love:

1// Field of Dreams, 1989


Well, I mean – this is my favorite.  There are a million things to love.  Kevin Costner – a farmer from Iowa, people.  That alone.  The father-son relationship thing, finally maturing and then understanding.  There is history and a writer (James Earl Jones) and “If you build it, they will come…”  Heart-heart-heart!

2// A League of Their Own, 1992

I mean, I am a 40s girl deep inside.  And a baseball girl.  And when, just a few minutes into the movie I saw the scene of the motherless young woman from Fort Collins at the train station leaving her beloved father to go to Chicago with the crass scout – the train pulls away from the station  (there is this God-mom-apple-pie music that starts to swell), she is looking at her dad wave good-bye with a tear rolling down his face and you see a reflection of a flag waving in the train window glass…well, I was in, baby!  I love the clothes, the hair and the characters.  It is family, sisters, values, love.  Great soundtrack, “Now and forever, you are a part of me.  And the memory cuts like a knife…”

3// The Natural, 1984

Roy Hobbs, “the best there ever was,” played by Robert Redford who kind of falls into that category, too.

4// The Sandlot, 1993

Children. Innocence.  Timelessness.  These could be kids I knew in the neighborhood, my brothers.  James Earl Jones shows up again here and Babe Ruth gets the homage he deserves.  It is silly and gritty and realistic and not.  And every kids remembers the friends who made them feel a part.

5// Bull Durham, 1988

crash and annie in bull durham

Adults-only…a little naughty.  But some great quotes!

“I believe in the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch,  and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft wet kisses that last for three days.”


6// For Love of the Game, 1999

An aging, once-great pitcher, who has loved baseball like nothing else, pitches the perfect game and leaves it to find that love has been waiting for him.

7// Moneyball, 2011

I have actually only seen it once, but I loved it and will watch again!

“I believe there is a championship team that we could afford.  Because everyone else undervalues them.  Like an island of misfit toys.”

That, my friends is true in every area of life.  I have never had to pay the most to have the best of the best teams (like with Heaven Fest).  I just look for the people with heart, loyalty, commitment and ability not always seen with the naked eye.  Look past the glitz and buzz of the obvious and you will find treasure in people rarely recognized!  Brilliance!

This film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards in 2011 and won several prestigious titles including Movie of the Year from the American Film Institute.  Brad is perfect as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill’s Peter Brand is just cute-as-puddin’-pie in this biographical sports drama.  Great movie!

I like these, too:

Eight Men Out, The Pride of the Yankees, It Happened in Flatbush, It Happens Every Spring, The Rookie (Dennis Quaid!), The Bad News Bears…there are many others I have enjoyed and more I haven’t seen, but want to watch soon (like “Game 6” with Michael Keaton).

But for right now, I can turn on the TV and see the boys of summer running the bases, listen to the crowds cheering (the Cardinals are even in town this week playing the Rockies) and I am just the girl on York Street again, playing paper dolls, enjoying the long summer of carefree days and nights, and singing beer commercials.

MVP:  Kevin Costner.  He loves baseball and he has acted baseball (Chasing Dreams, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game and The Upside of Anger, in which his character is a former pro baseball player) and I love Kevin Costner.

“This field, and this game, Ray, it reminds us of our past, of all that once was good…”  Field of Dreams


Forest for the Trees

So, my crazy friend Bryan gave me perspective.  Purely by accident on his part, right, Bry?

His family, always into baseball as the family sport, has slide reels of him hitting the baseball as young as four-years-old.  I read on his post-birthday-blog (http://bryanyounger.wordpress.com/) that in his first official game he hit the ball and ran with all his might, but was put out at first.  He cried and the coach comforted him.  The next time he went to bat, the same thing happened.  He cried and got more comfort.

What he didn’t realize was that he had driven in 4 runs on his two at-bats.  Still, when he “got out,” he cried.  Bryan could hit, he could catch, he could throw.  And he could drive in runs, advancing his team, helping bring victory.  But all he could see was his failure to be safe at first.

Stuck in the middle.

I am pretty sure the “enemy assignment” against my life, being a performance-oriented-slave-to-the-need-to-achieve type I seem to be, has just been to make sure I can never quite check all the things I want to off my list, nor see the end for the middle (the forest for the trees), nor feel like I completely did what I set out to do.  I constantly judge my efforts to have missed the mark.   In almost everything I do or am.  In spite of so much goodness and favor, I have lists filling volumes of all the ways I did it wrong, missed the mark, disappointed, failed, folded and fizzled.  I have a detailed record of my own wrongs and letters of apology to my most treasured ones of my carelessness, my meanness, my complete ineptitude at love and life and following Jesus in a way that at all reflects Him.  I always say anyone but God would have thrown me on the scrap pile by now, but surprisingly, I am still surrounded my loving, forgiving people.  Meanwhile, I remain certain I will botch it fully and finally.

But is it really over before the fat lady sings?  Has it really been “a fail,” the current “in” phrase –  any of it or all of it?  Have I been the worst at everything, the person whose life has the least purpose, the person who never lived up to her God-given potential, am I the only non-home-run hitter?

Baseball Bats by Stormie Rhoades

I liked the phrase I heard a few years ago, “It is never too late to become the person you might have been.”  And I have often encouraged young mommies and my friends with, “It is never too late to be the family you were meant to be,” and while I wholly believe it, I somehow tend towards seeing myself getting tagged out at first base and I am immediately overwhelmed, overcome, really, with a deep sense of being the world’s all-time most  substantial disappointment.  I guess if you are going to be awful, you may as well do it really well…

Wait for it.  WAIT FOR IT.

But deep down, I know I am just somewhere in the middle – like everyone reading this.  Proverbs 24 tells us that even when the righteous falls seven times (or gets thrown out at first base repeatedly), they get back up and keep going – you can’t keep them down.  I love the Word of the LORD to Habakkuk, which I would like to re-phrase here, from 2.2-3.  God is like,

Write this.  Write it down and make it plain {the vision – the point, THE thing that it is all about at the end}.

Write it in a way that when you read it, it will energize you and feed your soul for the journey; so well put that it will give you the life and vitality and gusto to get all the way {running like a banshee} to the desired end (starting line to finish line, point A to point B, from once upon a time to forevermore).  So you won’t just fizzle out along the way (in the middle somewhere).  Know the vision inside and out, for crying out loud.

Because those deep desires in your heart?  That thing planted deep {a covenant marriage that sizzles hot to the end, children who live to praise Jesus and serve Him wholeheartedly, grandchildren who rise up as men and women of God as the world continues its meaningless descent into godless madness;  the rich opportunity to, as a friend of the Bridegroom, help get the Bride ready, the chance to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, be a blessing and live in the favor of God – bringing Him joy, ETC}, these things long to come to pass, they want to come to fruition with a deep ache (the whole creation is groaning for the completion of our adoption to sonship, so says Romans 8).

Watch and wait.  Watch for it and don’t give up.  The vision, the deep thing, speaks of the end.  It is the whole goal, the final glory of it all.  It is the fulfillment of the goodness of the LORD in our lives.  It is what will stand when the dust has settled.

If it seems like it is slow in coming, wait for it.  Wait :: lean forward in hopeful expectation, watching and anticipating.  Instead of  Are we there yet? ~ What’s next, Father?

It may seem late.  It may seem long.  But the end will be good and just as God has planned!

Yes, wait.  It will surely come to pass.

Thanks, Bry.  For the encouragement.

More at-bats to come.  Let’s just keep swinging.



Take Me Out to the Ball Game

A Summer’s evening at the Neighborhood School Ball Park.

Baseball is summer’s game.  We didn’t have a TV most of my growing up years, but the radio was tuned in to St. Louis Cardinal’s games as the sun went down on summer nights.  The cracking sound of the bat hitting the ball and the crowds going wild, along with the rev-the-crowd organ music drifted through the open windows mingling with the sounds of playmates and I chasing fireflies and whirling hoola-hoops around our waists.  The screen door slammed, as in and out we’d go and beer commercials would ring out between innings.


Tools of the trade.

We don’t do it enough, but now and again, Rocky will get a group of us together to run up the street and play softball at the elementary school.  And each time we say, “We have to do this again soon,” because even my grown children, now, have become nostalgic as they remember the years they played ball all day every day with the neightborhood kids.


Uncle Rocky pitching to Gav-at-bat.  The cheering crowds.  DP up to bat.

When I feel the morning grass I let down my guard
Because love comes from the dirt in my own backyard
Everytime I think I’ve finished being young
I catch myself having fun

My husband, Dave, up to bat.

Recently, on one of those lovely evenings that make you wish summer could last forever, Rock got us all together, the fam and some good friends.  There is just nothing like some bats, a good, broken-in leather glove and bases to run around.  Good times!


Pepler.  Guini and Nonna (me).  Gavin hits it!

But the moment passes as the sun moves on
So I turn myself back to you…
And it’s depressing that I can’t forget the tune the organist played
La  – da da da da da da,  la  – da da da da da da…
Dave at bat.  The boys taking a breather.
Everytime I think I’ve finished being young
I catch myself having fun
But the moment passes as the sun moves on
So I turn myself back to you
Is our season over?  No four leaf clover?

The boys of summer:  just coming down “Front Street,” as DP likes to say.  Shirt by Stormie


Hunter and Gavin will climb anything.  Tristan swinging the pipe…as a lefty!

I feel it’s getting colder…
But can you still remember?
April to November
You and I were members
Of the best team in baseball
So we play our games…
Rocky…Serious about pitching.

Lyrics: Baseball

All of these pictures: by Stormie!