I'm soon headed for my 28th year of baseball camp with former Cardinal stars. Over this time I have learned quite a bit; how muscles deteriorate and reflexes evidently rapture.
There are so many amazing experiences coming from this venture I can hardly count them. Learning of the first baptism after the very first camp still enthuses me. Curt Flood voluntarily treated me as a brother to the extent of him speaking at Memorial Drive and then me speaking at his (our) mom's funeral and then at his was such an honor.
Friends galore have filled the locker rooms over the years. And, spills as galorish have filled the base paths. I've spoken in Cardinal chapels, appeared on ESPN twice and local TV stations as well as St. Louis ones countless times. News and magazine articles have covered our unique ministry. Even books have resulted. The work keeps plowing fields and sowing seed.
I take a very big ribbing from the pros. I'm an easy target because of my occupation, my humor, and my lack of skills. Two years ago I was one of four (categories) to win a Legends batting award and when the emcee got to my name in announcing the winners, his exact words were, I don't believe this next one.
Here's what I enjoy the most. I volunteer to become ribbable; to the weak I became weak. I don't mind. If I did mind it would get much worse. But the thing that matters to me is that when crisis happens...and it has...they turn to me for direction. From the tragic floods in St. Louis during one of our camps to the wife of one of the players dying during camp, they lean our way. God just has a way.
These pros pester me to death with jeering and laughter. But when it comes time to count as my friends....they jump to my aid. God lets me do what many dream about. I am grateful....really grateful. The doors this ministry has opened can't be counted....there are so many.
The bottom line is souls have been won. That's what the game I play is about. It is very rewarding to me to watch door after door open. I don't have to force it. I don't have to beg it. God simply works in a place where few would have guessed it would work....in a baseball camp.