Signs of the Kingdom: The Baseball Game I Never Played
By Louis Lotz
I once played in the World Series.
I was a boy growing up in New Jersey, playing catch with Vic Maglia, a kid from down the street. We were tossing the ball back and forth, when Vic dropped into a crouch, like a baseball catcher, and began to announce the seventh game of an imaginary World Series. The Yankees had a 3-2 lead over the Dodgers, he said. It was the bottom of the ninth inning, the Dodgers batting, bases loaded, two outs, Roy Campanella at the plate, and Yankees pitcher Eddie Lopat (me) on the mound.
“It all comes down to this,” Vic intoned in a drawl like Mel Allen, the Yankees’ longtime announcer. “Lopat checks the runners: Furillo at first, Duke Snider at second, Jackie Robinson dancing off third. Here’s the pitch:” I fired a knee-high fastball—“Stee-hee-rike one!”
On my fifth pitch to “Campanella,” with the count two and two, Vic leaped up and threw the ball high in the air behind me, shouting: “Oh man, Campy got all of that one! It’s a deep drive, way back, waaay back! Mickey Mantle is on the run in center field!” I turned and sprinted, head upturned, searching for the ball. I reached out, dove forward, and made a snow-cone catch.
“He caught it!” cried Vic. “The Yankees win the World See-rees!”
Sometimes the most memorable ballgames are the ones that never happened. Like the most enchanting romances, or the most beautiful sunsets, they’re the ones you only imagined. Some true things never happened, if you see what I mean.
A woman thanked me, once, for a sermon I’d preached. She recalled my words, saying, “You touched me with God’s truth.” The thing is, I never said all the stuff she mentioned. If she was touched by God’s truth, it wasn’t done by me. What she heard I didn’t say, and what I said she didn’t hear. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones you only think you heard. How wonderful of the Holy Spirit to assist preachers in this manner.
The game over, Yankee Stadium erupted in cheers. The crowd noise was deafening. Truly, I can hear it still.
“Signs of the Kingdom” is written by and reflects the opinions of Louis Lotz, a retired RCA pastor who lives in Hudsonville, Michigan.