With baseball season quickly descending upon us, I was reminded of this devotional I did for a wedding shower last year. It’s one of my favorites, so I hope you enjoy it too. I love baseball and believe that it’s taught me many things about life in general.
Jose Iglesias is a fantastic short-stop. Until recently he played for my team, the Detroit Tigers. (Jose has now signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds. More than likely, he will make the opening day roster.)
Jose started off with the Red Sox organization in 2011. Two years later, entering 2013, Iglesias was ranked as the 10th best prospect in the Red Sox organization.
He batted .420 for a stretch of over 100 at-bats, including an 18-game hitting streak—and this was just within a AAA team!
When he was finally given his chance to play with the Red Sox team at Fenway, Iglesias started that 2013 season playing 63 games with a .330 batting average. That is awesome for a rookie.
After the All Stars Game in July of that year, Iglesias was traded to the Detroit Tigers…and were we ever happy to have him.
Iglesias drove in a run with a single in his very first game as a Tiger, helping Detroit to a 2–1 win over the White Sox. The next night, he hit his first home run as a Tiger, a solo shot to left field in the fourth inning.
Our current shortstop at the time, Jhonny Peralta, had been given a 50 game suspension for his connections to the Biogenesis Clinic (which was a steroid scandal) and Iglesias was named the new Tigers shortstop.
That year (2013) for the Tigers was a good one. We actually wound up playing for the American League Championship.
You have to play up to 7 games in an ALC—whoever wins the first 4 games wins the pennant. Well, we were in game six with the Boston Red Sox. So far, the Sox had won 3 of those games, and we had won 2. We needed to win this game in order to stay in the championship.
We got to the 7th inning of the game. It was tough, but things were going pretty good…The Sox were up to bat, they had an out, and the Tigers were clinging to a 2-1 lead. The Sox had a man on third and a man on first.
And then Jacoby Ellsbury came up to bat. He managed a good swing that connected with the ball. It was traveling pretty fast, but it was low to the ground, and it went straight to our amazing shortstop, Jose Iglesias.
The reasonable outcome of that hit should have been a double play. Jose reached for the ball. It was a beautiful catch…I could already see him tagging Xander Boegarts who was on his way to second base, and then firing the ball to Miggy Cabrera who was waiting to make the second out when Ellsbury got to first base.
But it didn’t go that way. That beautiful catch bounced out of Jose’s glove and hit the field. Boegarts made it to second base and Ellsbury easily made it to first. And now the bases were loaded, and Jose was charged with an error.
And it was such a serious error that we lost that game, and resultantly the Championship as well.
Jose went into that play with good intentions—he by no means intended to make that error, but look what it cost.
Marriage can be this way as well. We oftentimes go into a play thinking we’re going to come out shining like the sun, and instead we find ourselves in a serious error.
When we were first married my husband Jim put my name on his checking account—so that we could have joint checking. Jim was a little bit older than me and had had a checking account for years. But, I was only eighteen years old and I didn’t have much experience with a checking account, but I wanted to learn—and let’s face it, it was cool to write checks. I had my own little checkbook that I carried around in my purse and I started writing checks.
Well, there’s a place on the ledger in a checkbook where you write your debits and your credits. To make a long story short I had listed several debits into the credits column, and when I went to figure my checkbook I added these figures to my balance instead of subtracting them.
So one morning while we were getting ready for work the phone rang and it was a really nice lady from the bank. (Back then the bank would call if they saw something weird going on with your checking account.) Anyway, she explained to Jim that we were extremely overdrawn and needed to make a deposit right away. Jim asked me to see the checkbook, and he saw right away what the problem was. Fortunately, we had some money in savings and he transferred that over to cover my error.
That was an error I’ll never forget—for a couple of reasons. Certainly I did not go into my checking account experiment with the idea that I would overdraw the thing—but I did. And it was a pretty serious error. We didn’t have a lot of money—it took us a long time to save back what that error cost us.
Thankfully, I was married to someone who was willing to forgive me.
Like I said, I was only eighteen years old and this situation upset me a great deal. I was crying while Jim was on the phone with the bank, but when he was done transferring the money, he hung up the phone and smiled at me. And then he put his arms around me and laughed a little. He said it would be okay, and it was.
There’s a great example of this in our New Testament. Now the portion of Scripture that I’m about to share with you has to do with a far more serious error than mine with the checkbook. A member of the church body in Corinth had been in sexual sin and the body punished him for it—and apparently the punishment had gone on longer than it should have (perhaps he’d been ostracized?) because Paul wrote to them and said: 5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 2nd Corinthians 2:5-8 esv
Throughout my marriage I have learned that we commit these errors from time to time, but none of them have been so serious that we lose the game. Some of them could have been—but keeping our eyes on Christ and His ways has delivered us from a multitude of pain
Every time I speak at a wedding shower I remind everyone that the only way to make this thing work is to keep our eyes on Jesus and in the Scriptures.
Peter wrote: 6 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2nd Peter 1:16 esv
These people knew what they’d seen—they’d lived it—and thankfully they put it in writing so that those of us who came behind them could learn from their experience and be not only saved, but grow in the image and likeness of the One who created us.
Jesus forgives, and he commands us to forgive one another as well. He said, 3 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 esv
Jose Iglesias has made 357 catches—of which only 6 have been errors.
I love to be married. I’ve shared 36 ½ years with my husband, and it only gets better. Most of the time we do alright…but I know that there could still be that occasional error that causes some sort of a flub or even a loss, but Jim will forgive me—and if he goofs up, I’ll forgive him too!
Marriage is a blessing, and you’re going to love it! But there will be errors, and in Christ you can forgive and move on, and it will only get better and better. Like Jose Iglesias, you’re going to make far more catches than you are errors. Don’t get hung up on those errors. Forgive them.
Okay, one more baseball story…
The Tigers were playing the Twins in Target Field in Minneapolis in April of 2017. Awesome game. It was the top of the third inning and Twins reliever Justin Haley was pitching to Tiger JaCoby Jones. Jacoby was a rookie at the time. Haley pitched a 90 mph fastball directly into Jones face, splitting his lip and chin wide open. There was blood everywhere right away. Jacoby, miraculously, never lost consciousness. They took him from the field to the hospital and got him stitched up.
In the meantime, the rest of the Tigers stewed over this event because they thought it was intentional. So, when we get to the bottom of the fifth, Tiger’s reliever, Matt Boyd, comes in to pitch. Twins heavy hitter, Miguel Sano is up to bat and Boyd pitches him a fast ball that lands behind his back—it nearly hit him.
Miguel is really ticked off and he decides he’s going to confront Boyd right there on the mound and starts walking toward him. Tigers’ catcher, James McCann, got in between the two and put his glove in the face of Sano. Sano then shoved McCann and was immediately ejected.
Both dugouts and the bullpens rushed onto the field, defending each other’s players, and it was an all-out war right there in downtown Minneapolis.
Here’s my point…
Sometimes somebody is going to pitch you something that just isn’t right and you’re going to want to talk to that pitcher about it. Make sure that you surround yourself with people who will leap out of the dugout should you ever charge the mound—you need to be that person for your spouse (especially when you’re married to a man!) as they often charge the mound.
Jim gave me this a few months ago (see what it says) and it hangs proudly in my office. I look at it every day because I know that if I should have to charge the mound, he will gladly leap out of the dugout for me—and I for him! And he knows it, too!
© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom