In a few days, major league baseball will have its annual All-Star game. This particular game is significant (as far as baseball fans are concerned) because it will be the last All-Star game played at Yankee Stadium. Long considered baseball’s hallowed ground, Yankee Stadium will be torn down and a new stadium will be built for the Yankees.
A piece of American history will be lost. No longer will fans be able to refer to the Yankees ballpark as “the house that Ruth built.” Instead, they’ll have to point to a parking deck across the street and say, “That’s where it used to be.”
Gone will be the spot where Lou Gehrig stood after being diagnosed with ALS disease and said, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Gone, too, will be the mound where Don Larson pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.
Converted to condos will be the grass where Notre Dame once played Army in a college football game. The game during which Knute Rockne delivered his “Win one for the Gipper” speech.
For people outside of the baseball family, those sorts of things seem trivial. After all, it is just game. Let me say it again — it is just a game. But for people who love the sport, it’s a part of our national identity.
Perhaps that’s why I like the following quote from Leo Durocher. Known as one of baseball’s old-school managers, Durocher was often blunt and straight-forward. The fact that he managed the Cubs for a few years also endears him to me.
Durocher once commented on the similarities between baseball and church: “Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand.”
As both a baseball fan and a pastor, that hurts. It hurts because it’s often true. It’s one thing to sit through nine innings and not know what’s going on. After all, it is just a game.
But it’s unfortunate that some churches don’t make much of an effort to be understandable for newcomers (and old-timers, too). Because church isn’t a game — it’s about life.
May God help us to help others understand what that life is all about.
I originally wrote this for our newsletter at LifePoint Church.