Observations on Life, Faith, Media & Technology

Hope Springs Eternal

ST.LOUIS – It is a rabid baseball’s fan’s dream.  My room at the St. Louis Hilton at the Ballpark overlooks the new Busch Stadium.  It’s a beautiful park, designed in the style of Camden Yards and Turner Field.  The Cards moved in here for the 2006 season.  The room itself is decorated with framed photos of Cardinal players of old like Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, and the 1934 Gashouse Gang, along with modern day icons like Lou Brock, Bruce Suter, Ozzie Smith and Mark McGwire.

Buschstadium There’s something strange about looking at an empty baseball park covered with a layer of snow.  I am well aware that as I write this the Cards, along with the rest of their MLB counterparts, are in spring training. “Grapefruit League” preseason play is now underway, which means opening day is just a few short weeks away.  But opening the curtains in my room this morning and looking out at Busch Stadium, it feels like baseball season is a long way away.

There is a reason baseball is called America’s National Pastime.  The baseball season is a 165 game marathon, not the quick sixteen-game sprint of the NFL.  The season stretches from Spring until Fall, providing ample opportunities for teams and individuals to prove what they are made of.

At the end of the day, baseball is a game about hope.  I was in college before I learned that the phrase “hope springs eternal in the human breast” was actually written by Alexander Pope. It was just quoted in Thayer’s classic “Casey at the Bat.” 

Hope springs eternal.  That phrase applies so perfectly to baseball.  Every year, no matter how dismal the year before might have been, diehard fans look at the season ahead and think, “This will be be the year!”  (Isn’t that right, Cubbies fans?  Hehehehe…)

The 1991 Atlanta Braves went from worst to first.  The year before, they were in the cellar of the National League’s Western Division, and they won it the following year.  It is precisely that kind of outcome that every baseball fan is looking for from their team at the start of each new year. 

Oh, there are those who would tell you that Braves fans were surprised by the dramatic turnaround in 1991, but those folks don’t know baseball fans very well.  At the start of the 1991 season, we were confident that would be the year the club’s fortunes would change.

But, I must hasten to add, we were also convinced of that at the start of the 1990 season and it didn’t happen. Ditto 1989.  And 1988.  And 1987…  You get the picture.

As Christians we also embrace the concept of hope.  But hope in a biblical sense is different from the “hope that springs eternal” for baseball fans.  The hope I have that the Braves will win the World Series this year is not the same as the hope I have in Christ.  Hope in the baseball sense is – let’s be honest here – little more than wishful thinking.  My hope in Christ, on the other hand, is a settled assurance.  It is a hope that does not disappoint.  (Romans 5:5)

The difference lies in what that hope is founded in.  My hopes for the Braves rest in the abilities of men… very gifted, very talented men, but men nonetheless.  They might get hurt, their bats might all grow cold, all the breaks might go against them.  That hope is far from a sure thing.

But as for my hope of heaven, that hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes