“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
He didn’t have to do it. However, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Josh Hamilton, an outfielder of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers, tossed a foul ball hit in his direction to a fan in the seats. The man leaned over the railing to catch it, and fell 20 feet to his death.
Hamilton was just trying to be kind. The man had yelled at the outfielder to toss him the next foul ball he retrieved after Hamilton has picked one up and threw it to the ball girl.
Sports Illustrated quotes Hamilton about the incident:
“I just gave him a nod, and I got the next one and threw it in that direction,” Hamilton said. “When I glanced up there, the first person I saw was the dad and the boy. And it looked like somebody who would love to have a baseball.”
Tragedies like this make people second-guess their decisions. Hamilton must be asking himself over and over these days why he didn’t just toss the ball to the ball girl, or throw it to an umpire.
He told reporters:
“You do it so many times, you just don’t think about it,” he said. “That’s what the game’s all about. Fans come, they pay to see you play, they want to have a good experience at the ballpark and with player interaction, that’s part of the good experience. … You’ll look carefully at where the fans are, how high they are up, what’s the railing like. All these things will come into play now.”
Who would think tossing a ball into the stands to a person who welcomed such a gesture would result in someone’s fatal plunge. Hamilton couldn’t have known.
As a strong believer in Jesus Christ, Hamilton hit on something other than a baseball when he stated the following after the tragedy:
“You pray, and you just understand that there’s nothing that you can do to change it now,” Hamilton said. “We live in a fallen world and things you try to do good, try to make people happy or put a little joy in their day, something can go wrong. You just trust God.”
The truth Hamilton noted was that we do indeed live in a world corrupted by the fall of mankind. It’s all documented in Genesis 2 in the Bible.
As a result of the fall, we don’t make very wise choices. We are damaged goods.
One could ask what made the fan risk his life for a foul ball. Certainly he could have made a better decision than leaning over a railing with a 20 foot drop.
Peter K. Gerlach says that we have “true selves” and “false selves”. When the false self takes over, we make stupid decisions.
Gerlach says the following traits are possessed by someone dominated by a false self: fuzzy, distracted, indecisive, narrow short-term focus, unfocusued…you get the picture.
On the other hand, Gerlach notes that when we are dominated by our “true selves”, the following kinds of characteristics are produced: alert, awake, aware, long-range focus, focused, balances long and short term payoffs…again, you get the picture.
In listing these traits, Gerlach asks the reader to pause, breathe and notice their thoughts and feelings. He then asks the reader to determine which traits he or she identifies with.
The next game following the tragic death of the fan, SI described Hamilton this way: “Josh Hamilton stood in the outfield Friday night and found himself holding his breath when a ball went into the stands, especially the upper decks.” I am sure the outfielder was in tune with the traits characteristic of our true selves that night.
The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”