I Was Thinking…
Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time played for the Milwaukee Braves were great rivals and friends. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up the chatter, intended to encourage his teammates while distracting the Milwaukee batters.
As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi said, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron looked at him but didn’t say a word. When the next pitch came, Aaron hit the ball into the left field bleachers for a homerun. After rounding the bases and touching home plate, Hank Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said: “I didn’t come up here to read.”
I enjoyed the role of catcher in my baseball days. I delighted in attempting to distract the batter while he was attempting to focus on the next pitch from the pitcher. Occasionally, a batter would yell back at me, “Shut up Walton—you’re getting on my nerves.” It was at that moment I realized I had accomplished my mission. I had achieved the goal of getting the batter to thinking of other things rather than the main focus of hitting the ball. It gave our team an edge—even if only slight.
In the book Wisdom, Mark Evans comments on life by saying, “To be successful in life, you’ve got to know why you are standing at the plate.” Is the batter there to converse with the catcher? Or is the batter there to hit the ball?
I worry that we, as followers and disciples of Jesus, forget who we are and whose we are. We forget ‘why we are standing at the plate’. I worry that all too often we forget our purpose.
Let’s not listen to the noise and remember our why.