As a fan of the St Louis Cardinals for over 50 years, it was a delight to read this “behind the scenes” look at many of the men who are on the team. Too much of the media coverage today focuses on the accomplishments or failures of the players’ performances. Besides the sports aspect the remainder of the news is usually filled with the unholy escapades of various rogue individuals who happen to be an athlete.
So it was very refreshing to know that the core members of the team are highly committed Christians who live out their faith first, and play ball second. The book ends with a great insight into Manager Mike Matheny, promoted from the ranks of the players. Perhaps the book should have begun there. His years as a player formed the faith foundation for him to succeed as a manager, and it certainly sets the tone for the Christian faith to be lived in an everyday environment.
Rains does not gloss over any weaknesses of the men, nor try to present them as beyond humanity. Their struggles with their performances, their relationships, as well as external circumstances are addressed.
As I’ve watched the 2013 team make a run to the finish, and make the playoffs, I am blessed by the stories of how faith plays a great part in them giving their best. Their “intentional walk” with Christ translates into their everyday “intentional” play on the field. I’m inspired!