Growing up I simply loved the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team. I loved anything and everything about them. I loved listening to the games, watching the games, and going to the games. I loved collecting Cardinal baseball cards, autographs, clothing, and collectibles. I would ride my bike to the baseball card shop just to look at the items in the glass enclosed cases. I even wanted to become a Cardinal baseball player when I grew up. Although my dream of becoming a big league Cardinal player failed, the Cardinals still are my favorite professional sports team today. Even when I lived in other states, I remained a loyal Cardinal fan.
Growing up I shared a room with my brother and it had a baseball theme. We played baseball every day in our backyard, with a 10 run rule…..you could not score more than 10 runs in any inning. My brother and I played for hours, just the two of us if no one else wanted to play. As a kid, I would write down all the Cardinal scores, record their wins and losses, and memorize their stats. My favorite players were Ozzie Smith, Ricky Horton, Vince Coleman, Tommy Herr, and Willie McGee. During the summer, the Cardinals were my life. I absolutely loved baseball and the Cardinals!
Because the games weren’t on television too often when I was growing up, I had a Fisher Price radio that I would take everywhere with me in order to listen to the games. Even at night, I would fall asleep listening to each and every game. With the radio in bed with me, I listened to the voices of Jack Buck and Mike Shannon on KMOX. Unfortunately, with the constant use of the radio and the wear and tear on it, it quit working. I was devastated and didn’t know what to do when the radio died. I had a hole in my heart, a wound that pierced me. I felt like I was letting the Cardinals down by not listening to every game. Fortunately, with the help of my dad I was able to get another radio fairly quickly and all was well again. Believe it or not, I actually still have that Fisher Price radio packed in one of my childhood boxes with the rest of my childhood memories.
I can still relate to my childhood days of listening to Cardinal games. Yes, even today, as I sit in a federal prison right outside Dallas, I can miraculously pick up KMOX 1120 during the evenings, listening to each and every game. It brings back so many memories and dreams that I used to have. And even now while I sit outside my dorm or on top of my bunk bed listening to the games at night, you can still see me pumping my fist on a Matt Holliday game winning homerun. Or a Trevor Rosenthal strikeout in the ninth. I’m still that same diehard fan as I was 25 years ago. No, I do not have that Fisher Price radio next to me anymore. But if I could, and if it was still working, I would have it right here with me in Seagoville, Texas, and you would hear nothing but Cardinal baseball coming out of it. It was definitely a favorite of mine!
Have you ever wondered if Jesus had a favorite sports team back in His day? Maybe it was the Jerusalem Fishermen or the Bethlehem Slingers or even the Nazareth Swordsmen. Did Jesus have a favorite toy or object He used daily as well? Maybe it was a sling shot or a walking stick or a fishing pole? Who knows? Although if we look at Romans 2:11 it says “For God does not show favoritism,” so it’s quite safe to assume that He did not have a favorite parent, favorite sibling or even a best friend. But does that mean He didn’t have a favorite toy or hammer as well? Who knows about that, but it’s always fun to imagine!
Remember, though, that God treats everyone as equals. He loves everyone the same. He hates the sin but loves the sinner. (Try explaining that last sentence to a bunch of inmates who don’t believe in God. No wonder I’m losing my hair!) God is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. He is not slow in keeping His promises. And He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. He most definitely does not have favorites. And believe it or not, He loves the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs all the same.
But as for me……Go Cards!!