Take Me Out With The Crowd

IMG_8034I’m headed out of town with David today. We’re going to St. Petersburg, Fla., for the weekend to watch my beloved Oakland Athletics play the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year we went to a doubleheader. The year before that we took the kids to a single game. It’s become a tradition for us to attend at least one game of the series when the A’s are in Florida.

I love being out with the crowd. The noise, the pristine field mowed perfectly. (OK, so the Trop is a dome and therefore an artificial surface, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) I’ve never caught a foul ball. I hope one comes near us this time.

There’s nothing like the roar of the crowd when a batter hits a home run. Do you know how far those little white balls have to travel? A football field is 100 yards, that’s 300 feet.IMG_8029 Most home runs have to clear a fence that is nearly 400 feet away from home plate.

That’s pretty far.

There’s strategy and mystery (ever try to figure out the signs the managers and coaches are flashing?) and joy and sorrow (ever had your slugger strike out when the bases are loaded?).

The lyrics to the iconic 7th-inning-stretch song fit me well.


Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:”


Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

(Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908)



Today’s post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

FMF button

No Bandwagon Fan

IMG_8043It’s baseball season, in case you didn’t know. And my team, the Oakland Athletics, is in the thick of a pennant race.

At the beginning of the season, nobody thought they would be able to do anything, especially against the powerhouse 2017 champion Houston Astros. But, the naysayers were proved wrong and we are neck-and-neck with the Astros.

I’ve been an A’s fan since 1968, the year both the team and my family moved to Oakland. Being 2,000 miles away has been one of the hardest things for me about living in Florida. But, thanks to modern technology and a little thing called the internet, I am able to remain loyal to my team, watching nearly every game on

I’ve also been a Golden State Warriors fan forever, even when they were perennial cellarIMG_8028 dwellers. When they started their winning ways several seasons ago, I was thrilled.

Does it bother me that some “fans” just like to jump on the bandwagon of a winning team? Yes, yes it does. If you can’t stay with them in the hard times, why should you suddenly care when they become winners?

I’m thinking Jesus had some bandwagon fans. When he was the hero, healing people and doing other miraculous works, they were yelling their “hosannas.” But the minute he was arrested and nailed to that tree, suddenly they were nowhere to be found.

Don’t be a bandwagon fan.


This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

FMF button

Never Give In

Winston Churchill famously said, “Nevah give in, nevah, nevah, nevah. In nothing, great or small, large or petty. Nevah give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Nevah yield to force. Nevah yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

I’m a big baseball fan, (but then, you knew that already, didn’t you?). As an Oakland A’s fan, I’ve learned to never give up. During the regular season, the team had 14 walk-off wins. A walk-off is when the home team wins a game in their half of the 9th inning, or an extra inning, by way of a home run or hit that scores the winning run. The opposing pitcher then simply walks off the field, usually with head bowed, having given up the winning run. Last night, with their backs against the wall, the A’s did it again in the post season.

This team exemplifies the never-give-in attitude. Even with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning of a win-or-go-home game, facing purportedly one of the “best closers in the game,” one man got on. Then another. Then another. And finally the winning blow. We weren’t supposed to win. We were supposed to be swept in this series. We weren’t even supposed to make the playoffs, let alone win our division. But here we are, playing a decisive game 5 tonight against a Cy-Young-Award-winning pitcher who beat us in the first game.

Never give in.

Do we face opposition in daily life? When God has called us to be salt and light at work, do we face persecution?

The enemy is out there. His greatest desire is to wear us down and make us weary. It’s a long battle, but we must never give up.

The Apostle Paul said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9.10).

Serving others is tiring; every parent can agree with that statement. Every food service worker, every retail sales clerk, every teacher knows that doing things for others is exhausting, especially when you get no thanks in return.

Mother Teresa once said, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” The trick is loving with God’s love, not out of our own strength. That will wear us down every time.

The A’s won last night on a team effort. One man couldn’t score three runs on his own: three guys had to get on before him.

We can’t win the battle against the enemy on our own–and I’m not talking about end-of-the-world battle. I’m talking about the victories we win every day when we allow God to rule in our hearts. To love like He loves, to serve like He serves. We must do it as a team. We need the encouragement of those who have gone before us, and of those battling with us now.

Let’s go, Oakland!

Let’s go, followers of Jesus!

Chris Tomlin has some encouragement on that subject. Enjoy. I Will Follow

Thankful today for:

609. fall colors in Colorado

610. music

611. walk-off wins

612. maid service

613. friends who share their breakfasts


Life, and Baseballs, Come At You Fast

By now you should know that I am a big Oakland A’s baseball fan. My love affair started when my family moved to Oakland in 1968. We used to get A’s tickets as rewards for being on the traffic squad in elementary school. This was in the days before night games, so when the A’s were consistently in the World Series in the 70s, the administration used to bring a big t.v. into the auditorium on a cart, and we could get out of class to watch part of the game. Our family even got to go to a few playoff and World Series games.

After World Series victories, of which there were many, our family would travel downtown to enjoy the victory parade. The atmosphere was so exciting.

I remember anticipating attending my first game. My great aunt Zizi was taking me and my older brother and sister. I was so excited that I threw up–and then I didn’t get to go. I was relegated to my room, listening to the broadcast on the radio. My mom finally figured out I wasn’t really sick when I kept running into the room with updates from the game.

My mom once had a job at a pharmacy in the same building as the A’s team doctor. The players would often come in to have prescriptions filled. Taking advantage of the situation, my mom would get their autographs–four times over. One for each kid. She even volunteered to make a home delivery once, with me in tow, to first baseman Gene Tenace’s house. What a thrill. Captain Sal Bando attended our church, though he usually sat in back and slipped out when Mass was over.

I remember when pitcher Vida Blue was seen visiting a neighbor up the road. My sister Leslie jumped right out of her sick bed to hurry up the road with us to get his signature on our A’s caps.

I remember the days of Charlie-O, the big donkey mascot named after famed A’s owner Charlie Finley. We once had a carnival at our elementary school, and Charlie-O was a special guest. Those were the days. Baseball was king.

Just a week ago, pitcher Brandon McCarthy stood on the mound for the A’s, playing another game in a pennant race that is very exciting for A’s fans. One second he was pitching the ball to an Angel’s hitter, the next, he was on the ground, beaned in the head by a screaming line drive. Taken to the hospital a short time later, Brandon underwent a CT scan which showed he had suffered a fractured skull and would undergo surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

Praise God he is out of the hospital and recovering well, but his season is over. All in a matter of seconds.

When I was growing up, Zizi was an important part of holidays as she usually traveled from her home in Bakersfield to Oakland to spend the days with us. We would wait in anticipation for her big yellow car to make its way up our street. Her presence completed the holiday. Once I moved to Florida, I rarely got to see her.

On July 11th, my family and I arrived in Bakersfield, Calif., to visit Zizi and my aunt and uncle. I hadn’t seen Zizi in 9 years.  For the rest of my family–except Morgan, who had been with me 9 years ago–it had been longer. We enjoyed our short visit, prompted by the fact that we didn’t know when or if we’d see Zizi again. She was 94, after all.

Two weeks later, on August 26th, Zizi awoke thinking it was going to be like any other day. She went to the kitchen to make her breakfast when something went terribly wrong. While cooking an egg on her stove, she suffered some sort of episode that apparently caused her to pass out and fall onto the stove. The result of all this was 3rd degree burns over 40 percent of her body. Three days later, she was gone, too badly injured to recover. One moment making breakfast on a regular day; three days later, gone.

Baseball and Zizi: forever linked in my life.

20120913-094443.jpgLife comes at you fast. You never know how long you’re going to have someone with you. I don’t want to waste one moment in harsh words or unresolved conflict. No regrets. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful epitaph?

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure” (Psalm 39:4,5)

Thankful today for:

587. family

588. a tight pennant race

589. fall

590. RoundUp®


I just finished watching a replay of a perfect game thrown by Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants. A perfect game is an amazing thing to watch, and I’ve been blessed to be able to watch two of them in the last couple of years: one by Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics, and this one by Matt Cain. I didn’t know Braden’s was going to happen until it did, because I was watching it live. But I knew Cain’s was going to happen before it did. The atmosphere and the excitement was still there, though. When the fielders step it up just a little bit more to get those difficult outs; when the crowd never sits down for the other team’s half inning; when shots of the pitcher’s family show their extreme anticipation. There’s nothing like it.

It’s even more fun to watch it happen when it’s a team you root for anyway. The A’s are my favorite, but the Giants are a close second.

So why do we all appreciate perfection? Probably because we’re so far from it ourselves. I know for myself, I can’t think of a time when I’ve done anything perfectly. I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, so it doesn’t pain me when I don’t reach it. I have heard that quilters will purposely add a flaw to their work to signify that only God is perfect. I like that. Perfectionism can cause all kinds of problems for people obsessed with it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things well, but when we have to be perfect, we limit ourselves.

Some perfectionists take an amazingly long amount of time to make decisions, because they want to make the perfect decision.

Some perfectionists won’t try to do something because they only want to do what they can do perfectly.

Some perfectionists demand perfection from those around them, and thus they are mostly disappointed.

I like this verse: “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He (Deut. 32:4).”

Indeed, only God is perfect.

But Matt Cain was a pretty amazing pitcher last night.

Thankful today for:


370. anticipation

371. desire fulfilled

372. our avocado tree finally bearing fruit–and lots of it!

373. new trash cans 🙂

374. the perfection we will finally achieve in heaven