Saturday, August 1, 2015

"He never shook me off once!"

On October 8, 1956 the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers were playing game number five in the World Series of baseball.

This is a notable game because Yankee right-hand pitcher, Don Larsen, recorded a PERFECT GAME.

For non-baseball enthusiasts . . . that means that Larsen pitched all nine innings for the Yankees and not a singer Dodger got a hit or scored a run. In the parlance, it is called a "No-No." No hits, No runs. This is very rare . . . and this is the only time in the history of baseball that it has happened in a World series. A great moment in sports history.

(The photo above is legendary . . . Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra, embracing his pitcher on the mound after the final pitch)

When the great Yogi Berra was being interviewed after the game, a reporter asked, "Yogi, what do you have to say about this game?"

Yogi's first words were:  "He never shook me off once!" 

Ha!  Let me translate that for you . . . . "Yes, Larsen pitched a Perfect Game . . . I selected every single pitch!"

Larsen gets all of the accolades and the footnotes in history (well-deserved), but we should never forget the unsung catcher.

Ever see the Major League pitcher getting ready to throw a pitch? He stands on the pitching mound, places his foot on a place-marker called the rubber . . . then he peers with squinted eyes to his catcher, who is squatting down behind the batter at home plate. The catcher gives coded signals with his ungloved hand . . . holding down one finger, two, or three . . . indicating an inside or an outside pitch with a wave to this side or that. There are hundreds of different kinds of pitches that the pitcher can throw . . . fast ball, slow ball, change-up, slider, curve, low, high, inside or outside of the strike zone.

The catcher ALWAYS selects the kind of pitch and its location. He communicates his selection with hand signals and glove location.

Sometimes you will see a pitcher disagree with the pitch that his catcher has selected . . . as he peers towards the plate he will shake his head . . . "No . . . I don't want to throw that pitch . . . I disagree with you . . . you are wrong."  The catcher will recommend another pitch with a different signal.  When the pitcher agrees . . . he will nod his head, go into his wind-up, and throw the agreed upon pitch.

Yogi was saying, "I recommended every pitch . . . and my pitcher agreed with me EVERY TIME." He never shook me off once.

I believe that God wants to call all of the pitches that I throw. I think that He is signaling me every day of my life in a 1000 different ways. I believe He always knows just exactly what I should do in every situation. I believe that He wants me to pitch a perfect game. I do not always agree with Him . . . but I believe that He is always right.

Sometimes I shake Him off.

How smart is that?

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