Growing up in the Milwaukee area I was a huge Brewers fan. I still to this very day can vividly recall as a five-year-old sitting in the bleachers of the old County Stadium with my Grandpa Phil and seeing the swarm of bugs in the outfield flood lights overlooking Vaughan’s Valley in left field. I get chills (seriously, I just did) recalling the electric and explosive atmosphere at Miller Park when Nyjer Morgan drove in Carlos Gomez to beat the Diamondbacks in 10 innings in the 2011 NLDS (thanks Uncle Murray and Aunt Pat for the seats that day!).
The Brewers lost some of their rivalries when they switched to the National League in 1998, but we instantly developed heated rivalries with the nearby Chicago Scrubs, I mean Losers, I mean whiners…ah the Cubs stink.
Another heated rivalry is not born out of geographic proximity or annoying fans, but born out of the sheer fact that THEY KEEP BEATING US AND WINNING ALL THE TIME. That team is the St. Louis Cardinals. From their super dedicated and knowledgeable fan-base, great players, and constant winning to their thorny/genius previous manager (colloquially called “the Devil” by a Milwaukee sports radio host) Tony LaRussa, the Cardinals have it all and engender a large amount of loathing from fellow National League Central Division teams.
So you can find me at a bit of a crossroads when I pop over to the Gospel Coalition website this morning and see that one of my favorite preachers, Darin Patrick, is the chaplain for the Devil’s team! And not only that, their manager (Mike Matheny) is a Christian. Patrick interviews him on the cusp of a new season and he sounds like a pretty stand up dude. He shares his story of faith in Christ and he answers some questions about faith in the clubhouse. Here is part of one of his answers with some solid advice for Christians leading among people who do not believe in Christ:
“There are eyes on me non-stop, and important conversations pop-up. We talk a lot more about life than we talk about baseball. We’re together so much that we have an opportunity to go through life together. I believe that’s one of my main jobs. Part of that is being available when those questions of faith come up.
But once again, I don’t believe my job is to force feed these guys anything. So I give them their space. But those opportunities come because life happens.”
The Brewers fan in me is convulsing in violent exorcised spasms. There is froth and spittle and pea-soup vomit everywhere. The Christian man in me is praying for Mike Matheny and praying for Cardinal players to magnify Christ in everyday life around the clubhouse and on the field. But when the Cardinal and Gray come to Miller Park, don’t expect me to cheer for them.
You can check out the whole interview by clicking on today’s vocabulary word. But please don’t root for the Cardinals.
Jocose [joh-kohs] adjective – Given to or characterized by joking; jesting; humorous; playful