Was that good hitting, or just bad pitching?

By Christopher Hobbs   

World Series. Joe Crede. Those two words were spoken last Sunday morning. The minister who spoke them has had a long career with the local church. I heard him speak those two words on TV but I tried not to let the pictures get in my way. Dave Niehaus was the man who delivered the words. TV was airing the first half of them, radio the second.

            I imagine those guys, when they get so popular they put them on TV, start to feel important. But Dave hasn’t seemed to let the glory get to his sense. On TV he remains similar to his beliefs on the radio,  for the most part. Now I’m not one to stir up controversy. I just mean he hasn’t seemed to give up yet, on the real thing, regardless of the TV.

            He had an easy job Sunday. Enough hitting and defense to keep the pitcher in the game for a few innings. Although those Chicago fans put a little stagger in his step as they got to watch their boys get to their former teammate and pitcher. If you have kids, I hope you waited for him to move to the radio ‘cause he doesn’t include swearing in his sermons there.

            It doesn’t bother me to see someone swear, who knows, I might in that situation. What bothers me is when they replay it, yeah I heard it, don’t show it to me again. Dave was forced to say, “you see the frustration in the reaction of James Baldwin as his…” He never lets you know about cursing and I like that.

            OK, I cursed a few times at that point, but I did it in the privacy of my own home. I also cursed at Relaford for swinging at that pitch for a pop out when a base hit would have got him the lead and instead ended the game with a loss, but my kids don’t need to know about it. They probably know what Baldwin felt like too, but I’d just as soon they didn’t think it’s OK to do it on television.

Dave knows there is no cursing in baseball. He still believes in the game. The way it’s supposed to be played, and won, and lost. I love him. And I won’t start crying because everyone knows there’s definitely no crying in baseball. (Though there is cryogenics now.)

If you heard 10 questions before the broadcast he mentioned what sermon he’d  really like to preach. A World Series. He wants the true thing. Although I question some of his deacons! Red and him work good together, and I’m glad they replaced that one guy with Rich Waltz, he’ll work better as a color man as long as they don’t let him preach the sermon.

I do hope Dave gets a chance to preach that sermon. He’s for good and evil. He doesn’t pick sides. He’s a purist. Just like him reporting that Joe Crede got his first Major League home run off Baldwin early in the game with emotion.  Though I could still  sense “is that what stands between us and the World Series?” in his voice.

He mentioned that name with as much excitement as when he said “and with that John Olerud, gets his 1000th run” earlier in the inning. And held his fervor though the next few, grueling as they were. He may have strayed from the truth when he asked that question “Was that good hitting or bad pitching?” I’d have a few bones to pick with him on that one in the narthex, but I couldn’t make the trip

I was glad when the first half the game was over ‘cause I could get to work on that radio I needed to finish aligning. You know a good sermon is a great incentive to fine tune a radio, especially when you want to hear the conclusion of the days message. And it was fun hearing him tell, amidst the pops and crackles, of the people in the congregation taking those fans out of their hymnals. With the “elongated Popsicle sticks.” What did he say? “They don’t seem to do anything but move the hot air around here today.”

I know it’s tough to preach in those conditions, even though when I preached in the windy city in ’79 the only weather was a blizzard. He’s a tough man. He pulled it through. Did you know it’s also tough to tune a radio in a valley when you have a powerful transmitter at 1240 KHZ right in your backyard on a hill? I get it on 5 places on my dial. But it’s easy when you have good hitting to cover up bad pitching. Dave had some help from his M’s “lighting up thee folk” in the sanctuary. By the 7th inning stretch I could hear him getting up and loosening up a bit himself.

            When he came back he said “We got a DANDY going here…” with that truth in his voice. The same truth that he concluded his thesis to the sermon amidst adversity (a loss.) The same truth he had when he said “he’s hoping” to preach the big one, this year. Can we “depend on it?”


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