Grace For Grace

I spent the better part of an hour Saturday, scraping double-sided tape up off a concrete floor. It was tape that is designed to keep carpets in place and was therefore not intended to come right back up off the floor. The carpets it was holding down were in a booth at the exhibition center and the whole idea was to keep the carpets down and immovable so patrons would not trip or slip. The intentions were good, but the consequences of the decision remained a big secret until time to pack everything up at the end of the day, after a herd of humans had pressed the tape to the floor like a steamroller squishing asphalt.

My connection to the whole deal was that my wife's employer had the booth and I was there to pick Kathy up. I was waiting in the car, listening to oldies, when the distress signal came. I went in and was soon on the floor scraping tape.

It was a good day because I didn't resent it. And I'm thankful to God for that. On not good days, I would have resented the interruption to my "schedule," resented having to help somebody that should have known better and, after all, you made this mess, you clean it up.

But God is good, and has made His goodness known to me and gave me the grace to lay hold of the grace to be of service to somebody else.

And that is no small thing.


Happy Days. Not.

I'll tell you what - it's a bad time to be a fan of the Cardinals, Seahawks and Celtics. I don't even want to look at the sports and see if there is any news about the Blues.

Today, the Cardinals found out for sure that ace pitcher Adam Wainwright is done throwing baseballs off a big league mound for at least 12 months and probably more. He has ligament damage in the elbow which requires surgery whereby the damaged ligament is removed from the elbow and tendon from the non-throwing arm is grafted in. It's called Tommy John surgery, named for the pitcher who first had it done. A story on the Cardinals website today said Wainwright needed Tommy John and I wisecracked that the Cardinals team needed Tommy John. As in the pitcher. Even though he's 67 years old. His elbow is probably still in good shape.

As for the Celtics, they traded away Kendrick Perkins, a center, today. I listened to the analysis on ESPN.com and none of the experts can figure out what the Celtics were thinking. Their one big advantage over teams like Miami was lots of bigs. Now they got rid of one. I'm no expert but when the real experts don't know what you are doing, it's not good.

As for the Seahawks, well, no news today, though there will probably be an NFL lockout. But they remain a team with an unproven coach and a roster in flux and no high draft picks and an aging quarterback.

This could be a long, dark time for the Cardinal-Seahawk-Celtic fan. And you know who you are.


- 30 -

I have just a few minutes until my new favorite show, "Blue Bloods" comes on. I am not being sarcastic.

So I've got to write something worth reading in a short amount of time. It's like hitting a deadline or something. Like the newspaper men of old. "Stop the presses!" somebody would yell, the editor or the publisher, I presume. And then the heroic and idealistic young journalist, who nobody took seriously before, would get that scoop that would bust up the rackets or expose the corrupt official to the anxious public and he would win the affections of the Girl Friday who had previously been ambivalent about the young man's prospects.

The End.


What I Think I Think: Pujols Edition

That twisting and grinding metal noise you've been hearing for the last day or two is the sound of the Gateway Arch wringing its hands. There is consternation and wailing and moaning abroad in the Mound City and indeed, throughout the Midwest. And why, you ask, all these St. Louis blues?

The Spring has come and Albert is unsigned.

Albert Pujols, the best baseball player on the planet and the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals is about to embark on the final year of his contract with what appears to be every intention of exploring free agency in the fall. I have read much of what's been written and seen much of what's been shown on this and I've formed my own ideas about this whole affair and I've put them down below.

I think everybody should calm down. We've a whole season to go and the Cardinals will field a competitive team once again. Don't miss the ride just because you don't like the bump at the end. And . . .

I think we should remember that free agency is part of our world and stop being romantic. Many have bemoaned the "lack of loyalty" and "greed" that appears to be on display. We've had free agency since the mid-70's and this is the landscape and has been for two generations or so. "Happily Ever After" is great, but it's not real, it's in storybooks. I don't like it any more than the next guy, I despise Marvin Miller for his role in bringing it to pass and a pox on anyone who advocates his election to the Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, it's here and "happily ever after" is not. To that end . . .

I think we need to stop comparing Albert Pujols to Stan Musial. I understand all the reasons a person is tempted to do so. I would never say that Musial was anything but loyal, but he also didn't have Pujols' opportunities. (And don't mention the Mexican League thing - it's apples to oranges.) Players didn't have the option of playing out the contract and signing elsewhere in Stan's day. The Reserve Clause bound a player to a team. I get that Stan and Albert were/are the greatest of their day and that both played for the Cardinals and that both are honorable men. But comparing them is like comparing a Philco radio to an iphone. Different eras.

I think the Cardinals have been planning for this all along. Up until Pujols hits the market, St. Louis is bidding against themselves. To sign him, the Cardinals have to give him his price. Come the fall, the market will determine what a 32 year-old hitter who is nicked up every year is worth. Granted, he is an historically great 32 year-old hitter.

I think Albert's position is primarily about respect and not about dollars per se.This may be a little hard to grasp for some. Year-in and year-out Pujols is reminded that he is the best player in the game. He's won 3 National League MVP awards and was second in that voting 4 other times. In 10 years! He is the best and, accordingly, he wants the best contract. He's not thinking about dollars like you and I think about dollars. He's thinking about respect and place and honor. The dollars are just the scoreboard.

I think Albert will sign with the Cardinals when all is said and done. I might be wrong but as I said above, I think the Cardinals have been prepping for this. They want Albert and Albert wants to be in St. Louis, though not at any price. I think free agency will set the price and the Cardinals will pay it and Albert will sign. That said . . . .

I think a wicked part of me wonders what Albert would look like in a Red Sox uniform and taking dead aim at the Green Monster 81 games a year for the next decade. Wow.


Moses' Name

Exodus 2:6-10 (ESV): When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews' children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Hosea 11:1 (ESV): When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.

From the notes in the ESV Study Bible regarding Exodus 2:10:

Moses. In Hebrew, the name sounds like the verb mashah, "to draw out". The name may also be related to the common Egyptian word for "son." Since Pharaoh's daughter clearly knows that Moses is a Hebrew child (Ex. 2:6-9), it is possible that she chose the name for both its Hebrew ("drawn out of water") and Egyptian ("son") senses. The irony of such a dual reference would be that her action not only prefigures but is also a part of the means that God uses to "draw" Israel as his "son" out of Egypt (Hos. 11:1).