Rector's Ramblings April 10, 2019
The last two Ramblings call for a follow-up. Things don’t always work out the way you expect them to, or the way they are painted in a Rambling! While my stories about a butterfly and a struggling baseball team noted that, they have both continued to prove the point!
Our butterfly friend never did fly. I did some research and learned that once the wings dry crooked, they don’t straighten out. The advice on a website devoted to raising butterflies suggested the options were to euthanize the butterfly or keep it as a pet. We kept it, of course. The butterfly continued to have some issues holding on to branches and plants, however. The fall that led to the bent wings was repeated many, many times. That also meant the butterfly wasn’t able to eat very efficiently. I learned how to hold the butterfly safely above a mixture of honey and water, and then how to gently extend its curled proboscis into the liquid until it began to eat.
I hand-fed the butterfly twice a day. It kept falling off of twigs and plants on our counter, and beating its wings trying to fly. Its wings eventually started to tear and tatter and after a week or so, I made the decision to euthanize it. I read online that one of the easiest ways to do it, for both human and butterfly, is to put it in an envelope and put the envelope in the freezer overnight. So I did. It went into hibernation and never woke up again. Now it’s flying around in butterfly heaven somewhere, I assume. It was a learning experience all around, to say the least. Sometimes, no matter what we do, nature is going to take its course.
Speaking of taking its course, as expected, the Baltimore Orioles have not stayed at the top of the AL East standings, and their winning ways have been more elusive than the first week of the season may have portended. In fact, they not only fell, they fell hard. They followed four straight wins with four straight losses, one of them so decisive it was hard to follow. After winning the first series against the Yankees, the Yankees humbled the O’s the very next week.
In one game, the weakness of the Oriole bullpen was on display. They were so desperate they put a utility infielder (not a pitcher) on the mound to pitch for the first time in his career. His fastballs, while accurate in aim, were topping out below seventy-five miles per hour. If you’re not a baseball fan, that’s tortoise-slow for a major league fastball. The Yanks scored 15 runs in that game, many of them through home runs. They had more home runs in a single game than they have had in over a decade, as it turns out. It is a clear signal that Baltimore is still, indeed, rebuilding a team from the ground up.
There was also the painful news that an Oriole set an all-time record of the wrong kind. Chris Davis, the highest paid player on the roster, just set the record for consecutive at-bats without a hit. Forty-nine of them (so far), dating back to last fall and last season. The guy just can’t get a hit, yet he’s still earning more than $20 million a year per contract, which means there’s no easy solution about what to do with or about him. I don’t think there’s a historical precedent for this situation, and it is another drag on the team at a time when they don’t need anything else slowing them down.
For all the bad news, however, there is good news. The Orioles are one of the best defensive teams in the majors so far. The field has played incredibly, leading to few errors and MLB-leading stats for things like stolen bases allowed. But defense alone doesn’t win games, and certainly not when pitching is this abysmal. While the odds did correct the anomaly in the season’s opening days, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. The foundation of a strong team eventually being built is there.
Things don’t always work out the way we expect and sometimes they do. Sometimes it takes guts to get step up to the plate to pitch for the first time, and it takes a lot to step up to the plate dragging six months of baggage behind you. We can try to do the right thing, and still end up letting go of dreams and hopes we hoped would one day soar. And then we set our eyes to the next ones. Life goes on, even when it doesn’t, as our faith is about to remind us. Things are always in progress, always changing, always being made new. The circle continues, there will be other seasons, and second chances. If we’re lucky, we might even get fifty chances and find that the fiftieth one was the one that did it.
Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever Amen.