Spring training for the 2015 major league baseball season begins in two days. Marti can’t wait. She asks me every day if baseball has started yet and I have to say, “Not yet, honey. Only two more days, though.”
I’m only joking — Marti would be happy if baseball never came — but it does say something about how badly I am hooked on the sport by the fact that I know there are only two more days until spring training. In fact, I’ve already got my tickets to a weekend of spring training games at the end of March in Tempe, Arizona, and I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have imagined myself already driving east on Interstate 10. For those of you with little patience for this game and even less interest, I say, “Get used to it. You’re going to hear about this periodically for the next nine months.”
Alas, there is vindication for my obsession. In the opening paragraph of one of my new books Marti got me for Valentine’s Day is this: “Since there were few things in life that I loved more than baseball, as a young man I dedicated myself to the sport and hoped that my passion for the game would lead me straight to the major leagues”; Billy Graham, from his new book, Nearing Home. In the next sentence he paints himself into a home run trot that has him rounding third, and, of course, nearing home. At 93, I would say he is indeed nearing home, and I would also say there is a very big crowd of people around home plate waiting to jump all over him.
“I have remained a baseball fan, not necessarily of one team over another but of the game itself.” Oh come on, Billy. You’re lying. You have a favorite team; you’re just not telling. I bet it’s the Yankees, or possibly the Braves. They’re the closest to him. You can’t just follow baseball. You have to have a team. You look at the paper to find out what happened to the Phillies (or your favorite team) last night.
Billy goes on to report that his first outdoor crusade was in a minor league baseball stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, and how, in a way, his dream of playing in a stadium before a crowd of people was fulfilled; only instead of a bat in his hand, he had a Bible. “A baseball may be driven into the farthest corner of the largest stadium, but the Word of God travels to the farthest corners of the earth, proclaiming the Good News of salvation. It still excites me just to think about the impact.”
Only two more days.
If you missed our excellent interview with music and film producer, Mark Joseph, last night, you can tune in any time by clicking on the banner below.