Monday, May 19, 2008

The Perfect Way to Cap Off A Comeback

Many of you know that I'm a huge Boston Red Sox fan. One of my favorite players on the team is Jon Lester. He is a starting pitcher, who by the way is originally from Tacoma, Washington. He was one of the "young guns" that the team brought up through the farm system and was a hot prospect. In August 2006, he was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphona. After nearly a year of treatment, he came back in late July 2007 and ended up starting in Game 4 of the World Series, leading the Sox to the World Championship.

For many, that would be the fairy tale ending. Then May 19, 2008 comes around. Lester, who had not pitched a complete game in his major league career, turned in a perfomance that few accomplish, that is throw a no-hitter. It was the first no-hitter of 2008 and the last to be thrown since another young Red Sox pitcher did the honors (Clay Buchholz) last September. It was great performance: 130 pitches, 9 strikeouts and allowed only 2 baserunners.

Here was his reaction after the game:

I'm reminded again of the quote that RP Mike Timlin said after the World Series victory:
"This is going to sound funny. But God blessed Jon Lester with cancer just to show a lot of people that you can overcome something that's so hard in your life you think, 'I'm not gonna make it.' He's going to be able to take his faith in God and the strength God gave him and tell a lot of other people a great story."

Amen to that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Second Royals Game of the Year...In Review

Last Saturday, as a kind of celebration for the end of Spring Semester, I went to my second Royals game of the year. It was a very interesting game to say the least, here are some of the highlights.

*It was free umbrella day at the ballpark so I got a free umbrella. So far I'm 2 for 2 in getting free promotional stuff at the ballpark. Can't complain about that at all.

*Me and two friends (Andrew and Brent) sat in the outfield plaza section, just on the other side of the foul pole in left field in fair territory. This would come into play as in the top of the 1st, Kevin Millar of the Orioles hit a home run not probably ten feet from where we were sitting just on the other side of the construction fence (by the way, on the highlight of the home run, you can see me...sort of, there is a red blob right next to the foul pole, that's me, I was wearing my Union University poncho). There was a guy who jumped that fence to get the ball. Subsequently, he was escorted out of the park once he got back over the fence.

*After the first half inning it was 3-0 Orioles and then the rains came. They had a rain delay, the first one I had been a part of. It lasted roughly an hour and forty five minutes. In the meantime, we walked the length of the concorse trying to stay dry and also talked with some other friends (Tyler and Allison) who were at the game.

*Once they got the game started again, it was still a long game. Coupled with the fact that a lot of people were wet and the wind was gusting upwards of 40 miles an hour (made the flags in the outfield almost come off the flag poles), a majority of the people left the game.

*Around the fourth inning or so, we moved closer to home plate in a covered section., partly because of the weather and partly because of a row of drunk and obnoxious fans (who subsequently we believe left and didn't stick through the entire game). After the seventh inning stretch, Andrew and Brent went back to the car to get warm and I decided to stick it out until the end. I ended up moving down to the second row near the third base dugout where Tyler and Allison along with two other friends (Amy and Chris) were standing.

*The last two and a half innings were exciting. Tyler ended up with a baseball that was thrown to him by a third base coach after being fouled off. Amy ended up with some Cracker Jacks that were thrown out during the seventh inning stretch. There were two shirts that were caught by Tyler inbetween innings. And we got on the big screen a couple of times.

*The Royals cut the lead down to two in the bottom of the ninth when Billy Butler came to the plate. He then proceeded to hit a ball deep into the outfield. The ball ended up hitting the top of the fence and then dropped right back onto the playing field. Everyone thought that it was a home run, they even shot off fireworks like it was a home run. Unfortunately, it was only a double and cut the lead to 1. The next batter subsequently got out and ended the game.

*After the game, the home plate umpire came walking up to go into the dugout. He started throwing out balls into the crowd that were in his pocket. One of those landed in my glove. So I now have in my possession, a real baseball from a major league game.

*Overall it was a fun experience though the weather wasn't so great and the Royals lost. It was definitely memorable and one that I enjoyed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Reason #87 Why I Love College Students and Why I Feel Called to Minister To Them

There were two stories that have come out in recent weeks that really touched me. The first was already covered really well by my friends Stephen and Adam so check out their blogs to read about it. The other was about Chris Lofton, the UT basketball player who found out he had cancer right after his junior year. He was treated in the offseason and played his senior year. And though he didn't play as well as he did the previous year, he didn't use his sickness and treatment as an excuse.

When I hear about stories like these and others, it reminds me of my calling to be a minister to college students. And it encourages me that there is so much already there in the lives of students and that God brings out so much more in those who follow Him.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

News and Notes from NFL Draft and Offseason So Far

It has been an interesting off season so far in the NFL and the teams that I root for. Here's looking at some of them:

Pacman got traded to Dallas. I'm not surprised about this. It was one of those things where it was just going to happen. I do hope that he turns his life around. Whether this will be the trigger for that, I don't know. But I do know that the Titans will now think twice about drafting a player in the future with the same type of issues as Pacman had.

Shaun Alexander got released from the Seahawks. This came as kind of a shock to me in a sense. It shouldn't have given the Hawks have signed Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett but at the same time Alexander was only two years ago considered the Franchise player. I was glad to hear from Alexander's statement to the media no ill will or hard feelings. He kept a very positive attitude and is reflective of his Christian faith, which he is very vocal with in Seattle. I do hope he finds a job somewhere else.

The NFL Draft. With regard to the Titans, my response was: Huh? They drafted guys who for the most part I'd never heard of. Which when I think about it, kind of goes along with their normal routine. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, just as long as these guys develop into quality players. The Seahawks' draft had a few more names on their roster that I know, particularly Owen Schmitt from West Virginia. He will fill some shoes as the replacement of FB Mack Strong but I think he'll be up to the task.

I was disappointed that there were no players drafted from U-Dub (University of Washington). Several players have signed free agent deals including Anthony Russo with the Seahawks and Greyson Gunheim with Oakland. I do hope those guys make it (though it will be hard given the process and all).

Only a few more months until training camp starts. I'm excited.