Baseball is a sport that is steeped in traditions. There are traditions that players hold dear as part of the game. These include those unwritten rules that all players know, as do most fans. For example, every player knows that when you hit a homerun, you do not stand at home plate admiring the bomb. Instead, you act like you have hit one before. A known fact is that the pitcher’s mound belongs to the pitcher and no position player ever walks on it. One day ask me how one of my favorite Met players was reminded of this tradition. . .
There are those traditions that are passed down by the fans. There is the ceremonial first pitch, the playing of the National Anthem and then, hearing those magical words “Play Ball!” And of course, there is that tradition known as Opening Day (which should be a national holiday). But of all the traditions that fans treasure, there is one even the most casual of fans knows. There is nothing like The Seventh Inning Stretch.
There are varying stories about how The Seventh Inning Stretch began. But regardless of how it began, I believe there is nothing like it in any other sport. It is different than the halftime of basketball and football. The Stretch isn’t an excuse for the fans to go to the restroom or fill up on the beverage of choice. In the world of baseball, this is a chance for fans to get ready for the final innings of the game. And it is the chance to sing my favorite, Take Me Out to the Ballgame!
I have found there are times in my life when I need something like The Seventh Inning Stretch. There are those times when I need an opportunity when I can step back from the intensity and busyness of life, gather my thoughts and renew my focus for what lies ahead of me. When I am experiencing the need for a Seventh Inning Stretch in my life, I have discovered that I need more than an evening at the ballpark. I have learned that I need to go off to my place and spend time with my God in prayer. And when I take this time to stretch, I find myself strengthened and empowered to continue playing the game!
I hope you will use this time of worship and prayer to take your own Seventh Inning Stretch!