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It's Not Hard to Understand

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - If you are an ardent baseball fan, the month of October serves as a celebration of the game that has played an important role in your life since childhood.

For a reporter assigned to cover it, baseball’s final month is sometimes an exercise in monotony. Your time is spent hopping airplanes from city to city, eating bad boxed lunches provided by Major League Baseball, and spending 10 to 12 hours a day in the bowels of a stadium waiting to get a needed quote.

As much as I have trivialized the life of a reporter assigned to cover baseball's coveted crown jewel; it is an experience I will always cherish. In fact, people often ask me what my favorite memory/story is of covering the World Series.

My favorite story dates back to the 1996 Fall Classic pitting the New York Yankees against the Atlanta Braves. The Bronx Bombers entered the Series as the heavy favorite but were soundly routed by their National League opposition in Game 1. The Braves pounded out 12 runs on 13 hits as they disposed of the suddenly woeful Yanks 12-1. Joe Torre’s charges eked out a measly four hits and looked completely confused at the plate.

In Game 2, Atlanta’s Greg Maddux and Mark Wohlers combined to shutout the Yankees 4-0 on seven hits. In those first two games, the normally potent line-up featuring Derek Jeter, Wade Boggs, and Paul O’Neil, had scratched out just one run on 11 hits. Down two games to zero, the Yankees appeared to be down and out as the Series moved to Atlanta for Game 3.

Following Game 2, as my cameraman and I were leaving the deathly silent New York clubhouse, we began to discuss what was wrong with the Yankees. We continued our conversation as we waited for an elevator. As the brushed chrome elevator doors opened, I blurted out, "I just don’t understand why New York isn’t hitting?"

Suddenly, a commanding voice answered my rhetorical query.

"I just don’t understand it either," bellowed late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner as he stepped from the elevator. "But I am certainly going to find out why."

With that he patted me on the shoulder and walked briskly down the hall in full Yankee swagger toward New York’s clubhouse. To this day, I do not know what he said to his players that night but whatever it was it must have been incredibly motivating. The Yankees won the next four games (three of them in Atlanta) to win the series.

Looking back on that night by the elevator in Yankee Stadium, I am struck by the power of communication. Words give form to our ideas and are expressions of our feelings. Words can bring clarity to a situation or they can bring muddled confusion. They can serve as great pain or soothing comfort.

Whatever George Steinbrenner said to his team, whether threatening or encouraging, undoubtedly inspired them to play better baseball. History bears that out.

Just as Steinbrenner inspired his team through the spoken word, as Christians we need the word of God to inspire us and provide a clear path for our lives.

In Psalm 119:105, David writes "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

We need God’s word to provide us with wisdom, power, and love. To know what is right and wrong we need to search the scriptures to find truth and to know what His plan is for us.

We cannot possibly survive without the word of God. For every question there is an answer. For every crisis there is comfort. For every moment of despair, there is victory.

Without the word it is easy to say ‘I do not understand." But with it, we can keep ourselves on track as we travel through life.

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