Readers of this blog know I am a huge baseball fan. They also know that prayer and baseball help me keep my sanity and general well-being, in that order mind you. Today I turned 58. I also celebrate my 50th year of being a Braves baseball fan. I adopted the Braves as my team in 1957 when the Milwaukee Braves won the NL pennant and then beat the New York Yankees in the World Series, 4 games to 3. I had four heroes on that team—Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn and Lou Burdette. Only Aaron is still alive, making me aware of my own age and mortality as I grow older.

Today, as I noted, I celebrated my 58th birthday. I celebrated at The Ballpark at Disney World with my daughter and her husband. We watched the Braves beat the LA Dodgers, 7-2. We enjoyed the sunshine, the crack of the bat, and the wonderful green grass of the field. I even called one of my best friends, David Moorhead, about six times on my cell phone so I could update him on the Dodgers and ask him questions about their lineup. I needed to share with Dave the beginning of spring while he is buried under snow in western Michigan. (In the early days of cable television baseball, when we were both just young pups, we watched many late-night Braves-Dodgers games on his TV. What fellowship we enjoyed while we talked about ministry and baseball.)

When I discovered that former Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda was in the stands I secured an official baseball and got him to sign it for Dave as my special gift for a very special friend. I told Tommy that this ball was for a dear friend who truly "bleeds Dodger blue" and grew up in Long Beach as a huge LA fan. He said, "He is a good man, David." Tommy got that right. I also thanked LaSorda for being a great ambassador for the game of baseball. I felt a bit like a big kid but it was a blast really.

While it snows all across the Midwest and Northeast I assure you spring is not far away. I know, I watched the greatest American game begin a new season today. What a way to celebrate your birthday. God is good to let me have such earthly joys along the way.

By the way, the Braves are going to be better in 2007. I feel good about this season with their pitching staff revamped. But then every fan has high hopes on March 1st. When the "dog days of summer" come we will have a much better idea of where the teams will be, both the pretenders and the real contenders. Go Braves!