I was pumped to see Barry Bonds jack number 756 out of the park last night (thanks to mlb.com). I was very impressed to see Willie Mays stand in support next to Bonds. I was moved by Bonds’ tribute to his dad. And I was very, very impressed by Hank Aaron’s classy comments via video. It was a huge baseball moment and I admit I was sucked in.
But this morning I have a bitter taste in my thoughts. The lure of baseball for me as a kid was the integrity of the game. In the 80’s, my favorite past and present stars represented a character trait that influenced me, though I couldn’t recognize it at the time. For me, baseball conjured up names like Jackie Robinson- integrity, Ernie Banks- integrity, Ryne Sandberg- integrity, Cal Ripken- integrity.
A memorable event like last night’s home run should be filled with awe… and respect. With Bonds, however, the cloud of steroids is so heavy that even the greatest of baseball records is now tainted with suspicion. In the eyes of so many, the integrity of the game has collapsed. And so I wonder… every time I think of this home run… every time its shown on tv… every time it’s spoken about on the radio… every time Alex Rodriguez gets closer to overtaking the record… every time my kids ask me about that night when Barry Bonds hit the home run… what will I say?
I love Philippians 1:3. Paul says that EVERY time he remembers the church in Philippi, he thanks God. He says that in ALL of his prayers for ALL of them, he ALWAYS prays with joy. Because of the way the Philippians partnered with and cared for Paul, he tells them he will ALWAYS hold them as special in his heart.
The way we live determines how people remember us. Sadly, I’ll ALWAYS remember the suspicion of steroids and Bonds’ lack of honesty and credibility with others. And it makes me think: How do people think of me? When they think of Ken Castor, are they ALWAYS thankful? Are others filled with joy EVERY time they remember me? Do I live in such a way that people ALWAYS are inspired to live well, to run with integrity, to love God and others? Or, do I live in such a way that people will hesitate or wake up with a bitter taste in their thoughts?