Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Building Teams...

I was privileged this past summer to share Christ on the east coast for a week at a family conference, and when my flight landed in Philadelphia, I bought a paper and discovered that Phillies were in town, playing a night game, and Jamie Moyer (of Mariner fame back in the days when we were good) was going to be pitching. Being the visionary that I am, I pictured myself sitting among Philly fans, eating a cheese steak as I watched my old friend from Seattle pitch.

I arrived at the ballpark, and waited in line for a ticket, disheartened that everyone in front of me was leaving empty handed. But when I told the teller that I only wanted one ticket, she smiled and said, "Good, because that's all we have left - one ticket. Will 10 rows up behind the first base dugout work for you?" I smiled, and soon was enjoying the ambiance of an east coast ball game, as Moyer, an ancient 45 years old, pitched brilliantly for six or seven innings, before leaving to cheering crowds with a solid lead.

Later, at the conference, I discovered that nearly everyone was a fan in same way that everyone was a fan here in Seattle back in the late 90's and early 00's. I discovered that this was a team with a low payroll, and high output. I discovered that this was a team had all the marks of genius assemblage, having been built not just through consideration of talent, but also chemistry and leadership. It was similar to the glory of days of Seattle. I discovered that this magical blend of chemistry and talent had created winners and energized a city, just like Seattle was energized. And then I discovered that they had a new general manager: Pat Gillick - the same 'behind the curtain' guy who built the Mariners during their glory years.

It's Monday, so I'm not going try to build this into some metaphor for the body of Christ. It's enough to just note that, unlike tennis, or cross-country, or golf, baseball is a team sport and in the world of teams, raw talent isn't enough. Just ask the Yankees. There needs to be support, interdependency, and a confidence that, even when a team member is struggling, he'll snap back (as Ryan Howard did last night in best possible way). I'm presently reading a book about how teams can function at their highest level, and realize that I've much to learn. So I'll keep learning, and draw my inspiration for old man Moyer, and genius Gillick in the meantime. Go Phils!


At 27/10/08 08:09, Anonymous Tomas Perez said...


Enjoyed your post this morning. Though I'm half Cuban, I have no great love for baseball...cigars yes, baseball no. I'm just an old football player, but I do understand and appreciate your insight into teams. I attended your service yesterday with my daughter who is a student at SPU. She speaks very highly of Bethany and, after our visit, my wife and I understand why. Thanks for your clarity, faithfulness and humility.

tomas perez

At 27/10/08 08:57, Anonymous Nathan said...

I'm having a hard time figuring out who to root for because I spent half my life in Allentown, PA (45 minutes from Philly) and most of the other half in Orlando, FL (45 minutes from Tampa). For me, this World Series is almost a metaphor regarding my childhood versus my young adult life.

Which one takes more precedence in my life? Which one will be considered "home?"

It's the first time I've ever cared about baseball in my life!

At 30/10/08 10:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are so right Richard!

We at Sandy Cove were grateful for your time you invested with us and our guests this past summer. To think you got a for-taste of World Champions before the world knew...

Our town is basking today in the glow of a talented team with good chemistry and leadership.

Mark P. Fisher


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