Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day - Pujols Focus is Higher

I am a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. I remember summer vacations when we would load up and drive to St. Louis for the weekend. Over the years, I have admired many of the Cardinals for their play on the field, but have not admired any like Albert Pujols for his work on and off the field.

Pujols may go down as the best player of our generation. He is one of the best hitters of all-time in his first eight seasons. He has hit towering home runs at critical moments in the highest profile games. But he has also shown that he plays with heart. His exploits on Buddy Walk Day (fundraiser for Down's Syndrome) are becoming legendary.

In the current steroid era, it is difficult to trust any of the players completely. Even men like Andy Pettite (a Baptist Sunday School teacher) have admitted to using performance enhancing drugs, and it seems foolish to believe anyone who says they haven't cheated.

But I choose to believe Albert. He asked me and all baseball fans to believe a few weeks ago in Sports Illustrated. Stories over the last several days have chronicled the biggest reason I want to believe him - he seems genuinely passionate about his faith. Both USA Today and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have chronicled how the greatest player in the game has a very public faith.

The USA Today article states -
It's about meeting his future wife, Deidre, in 1998. She brought him to church, the steppingstone for a life-altering experience that framed much of what he believes: He knew baseball was hard work, but he had no idea that God's gift of eternal life was free.

He and Deidre set up the Pujols Family Foundation in 2005.

"As he gets older, he realizes how important that is," Deidre says. "He hungers to utilize his resources to empower others. He believes that if God is going to promise salvation as a free gift, he's going to do what God requires. It is that simple. That's the kind of person he is. That's what makes him special."

This season I will continue to root for my Cardinals. I will pull for Albert every at bat and will cheer for the player he is on the field. I will also pray for him - our society loves nothing more than a hero that falls from grace. I am praying that Albert is one who is who he says he is.

1 comment:

thelowercase said...

i too am a lifelong cardinals fan. ozzie has always been my favorite cardinal player ( i got to meet him one on one when i was in 7th grade!), but every year pujols keeps getting closer.

i have admired pujols for the very public (and non-ambiguous)ways he refers to his faith in christ and am grateful for all that he does on and off of the field.

thanks for this post lyle.
-stephen cavness