Baseball Bans Spitting!

What? Baseball bans spitting! What is the world of sports coming to?! In the last few days, Major League Baseball has finalized their decision on health and safety protocols that will enable players to take the field by August 1st for baseball's shortened, 60-game, 2020 season. In light of the Coronavirus Pandemic, MLB announced that smokeless tobacco products and sunflower seeds would be prohibited along with spitting! Yes! MLB has instituted "a ban on spitting!"

The Seeds of Summer!

Of course, this was a wise and necessary decision in light of what we understand about how the virus spreads in community settings. However, think about how radical and revolutionary the ruling! (Sarcasm alert! "I now have my tongue firmly in my cheek!") Our 9 year-old grandson, Danny, has been practicing and perfecting his spitting since he began junior league ball over two years ago! What is he to think now that "America's Pastime" has banned spitting of any kind and in any direction? Think of how this will affect his toe-scratching of dirt in the batter's box and how off-balance this will make him in timing his swings as the baseball crosses the plate! This is a baseball crisis! 😉

Many of us who follow the game closely and enjoy the idiosyncrasies of such managers as Craig Counsell who with calm assurance chews his bubblegum and Dusty Baker who is always rolling a toothpick around in his mouth in the dugout. Baker probably sleeps with that toothpick! This decision may have both managers wondering if bubblegum and toothpicks will be next on the forbidden list of MLB! This could get serious! Now... let's get serious! The motivation of MLB is to protect the players and coaching staff during this time in our country when everyone wants to see baseball games again, but only if those entertaining us out on the field together can be kept safe!

How does God protect us? Paul pictures that answer in "the full armor of God." He says we put on this protection to "stand against the devil's schemes" and "against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:11-12 NIV). And Daniel answered the king who had thrown him into a lion's den, "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions" (Daniel 6:21). Later, Daniel would receive supernatural protection during a quest for understanding of what was to come. An angel, perhaps Gabriel, was kept from responding to his need until "Michael, one of the chief princes (of angels), came to help me" because of some evil spiritual powers (Daniel 10:13).

The Psalmist comforted God's people with this answer, "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress'" and then specified how this help would come, "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:2,11). After Jesus was tempted for forty days in the wilderness, God sent this answer, "Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him" (Matthew 4:11). The writer to the Hebrews suggests that our protection is enhanced this way, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 11:1).

I have an acquaintance who is very interested in angels and is always willing to share his insights. I have to say that the work of heavenly messengers is still a great mystery to me, but one thing is for sure, every day I feel strengthened, directed and protected by the awesome power of God who indwells me through the Holy Spirit. I am not choosy about how God keeps me and watches over me... whether by ministering angels, by overshadowing me in His shadow, or by the third person of the Godhead! Praise God! We are "shielded by God's power until the coming of salvation... revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:50).

[Note: During the last months, I have written often about what the CDC recommends to protect ourselves and others from the spread of Covid-19. Please read or re-read one of my favorites...]

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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