Winning, losing depends on if you’re ‘safe at home’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 17, 2013

“Every day is a new opportunity.  You can build on yesterday’s success,” pitcher Bob Feller once said, “Or put its failures behind and start over again.”  He went on to say that’s the way it is in baseball and that’s the way it is in life.

This popular sport that we call the “national pastime” impacts the way we talk. If an action requires special courage, we challenge someone to “step up to the plate.” Then again, if he or she wants to attempt something we think will fail, we discourage them by saying, “You won’t get to first base.”

If a person is doing everything right, we tell them they’re “batting a thousand.”  When someone’s tremendously successful, they have “knocked a homerun.”  When we consider someone else’s thinking more extreme than ours, we say the person with an opposing view is “out in left field.” I cannot “cover all the bases” without some interesting parallels from the Bible.

What does the Bible have to say about baseball? Take another look at Genesis 1:1. “In the ‘big-inning’ God created the heaven and the earth.” All kidding aside, I believe, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

In baseball, a sacrifice occurs when a batter bunts or hits a ball and makes an out, allowing a base runner to advance.  The Bible says Jesus came “to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).  Jesus gave His life for us, allowing us to be on His team.

In the game of baseball, there’s a five-sided plate where you plant your feet and swing a bat before going to first base. It’s also the place where you must return after running to all the bases to score. Winning or losing depends on it.

Home represents two Biblical principles. First, it’s a place we can come back to.  Remember the prodigal son who demanded his father give him his inheritance? The boy went to a far country, wasted his money on wild living, ending up in a pig pen. When he returned home, his father was waiting with open arms to welcome his son and celebrated his homecoming.

I recently learned that shortly before his death in 1961, baseball Hall-of-Famer Ty Cobb came to faith in Christ.  Biographers tell how Cobb, who grew up in rural north Georgia, was known for his outbursts of anger and drinking made it worse. Cobb said, “Tell the boys that I’m sorry I waited until the bottom of the ninth to get right with God.  I wish now that I had done it in the top of the first.”

Home can also represent heaven. There’s a grandstand there where loved ones who have gone on before us are cheering us on (Hebrews 12:1). Accept Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins.  You can be “safe at Home” in heaven eternally. Your Heavenly Father is waiting with open arms for you to come home.  “Three strikes and you’re out” is the rule in baseball and criminal records, but not with God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).



Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is