When you got nothin’
You got nothin’ to lose. – Bob Dylan
The Angels played their last game of the season yesterday. That means there’s only five months until spring training. And believe me, spring training is all that Angels fans have to look forward to now. No postseason for these guys. They’ll be watching the playoffs from home. At least they didn’t finish in the cellar. As a matter of fact, they finished on a high note, winning 8 of their last 10 games. No one else in the league finished that well.
Which is a little strange when you consider the teams with the worst records get the higher draft picks. It’s for that reason that sometimes teams with the worst records, who are already eliminated from any hope of a winning season, sometimes lose on purpose to give them a shot at some of the best players to give them a future. So I think you can assume a team with a poor record that finishes well is most likely playing for pride. They don’t want to lose; they refuse to lose; they do not know how to lose on purpose. I would like to think that’s the case with the Angels, especially when they were knocking off teams that still had a shot at the postseason.
They were especially hard on Houston (apologies to all our Houston Catch folks). They had seven games with the Astros in the last ten days and they won five of them. Had Houston swept those seven games, they would have probably been in contention for one of the wild card spots.
Baseball is a team sport that still relies heavily on individual performance. Batters face pitchers one at a time, and it’s easy to psyche yourself out especially under pressure. It happens all the time: the team with a lot to lose plays tight, and the team with nothing to lose plays loose, and plays better as a result. That’s probably what happened with Houston. They might have even been a little over-confident, thinking they could knock these guys off since they’re not playing well this year. That can come back and haunt you as well.
So how are grace-filled Christians a little like the Angels at the end of this season? We have nothing to lose because we’ve already lost everything in order to receive God’s grace in the first place. That’s what happens when you get the grace of God, you get on level terms with everyone else. You have nothing to lose and nothing to prove. You are humbled and it is good. No winners and no losers, just friends.