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!

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  1. susan March 1, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Happy Birthday Dr. Armstrong! God bless you.

  2. Helen March 1, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Happy Birthday John!

  3. David Gordon March 1, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    How can you like the braves being a chicago native?
    Hey, thanks for calling me today. I’ll touch base with you soon.

  4. Steve Scott March 2, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Happy birthday, John! I’m so glad you got to celebrate with baseball. I listened today to the first radio game. Music to my ears. Tomorrow the 2nd is my birthday. I’ll be 43. As a Giants fan, I’m glad you got to see the Dodgers lose.

  5. Dave Moorhead March 2, 2007 at 10:25 am

    It was great getting to talk to you throughout batting practice and the game. I was on pins and needles while Stacey was in line waiting to get to Tommy Lasorda. I enjoyed the phone calls but I must admit it didn’t help much with my study of “hupotasso!”
    The Dodgers may or may not improve this season. After all, we made the post-season last year while “other teams” didn’t. Maybe we should let the cat out of the bag and leak the truth…the only time you cheer for the Dodgers is when they’re playing the Cubs!
    I’ve always wondered how a southern boy like you could end up cheering for a team from Milwaukee long before they went south of the Mason-Dixon line!
    Glad you had such a wonderful birthday!

  6. John H. Armstrong March 2, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Not true my dear friend. I have rooted for the Dodgers whenever it benefits the Braves, which is has now and then. This happened when they knocked the Giants out and put the Braves in the postseason in the 1980s and again in 1993.
    Your beautifully signed new baseball is on the way. Stacy did not get it signed, however, I did. Read my comments again dear friend. I knelt before the great Dodger manager and told him about your love for “Dodger blue.” How many friends would do that?

  7. Dave Moorhead March 2, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    John! I knew it was you who got the ball signed. I was talking about the time we were on the phone and Stacey was slowly moving closer and closer to Tommy and you were telling me how many people were in front of her! I’m sorry you thought I misunderstood you! You’re my hero!

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