Atlanta Braves 24-year-old star Freddie Freeman lost his mom to cancer more than 10 years ago when he was in his early teens. At first, he asked the question many ask when a loved one is lost: Why? Why did this happen? Why did she have to go so soon? Why? Why? Why?
Early on Freeman pushed God away, but a few years ago he came to the realization that God took his mom so she wouldn't have to suffer any longer...
"Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" Luke 9:23
In the above passage, we see that Jesus tells us what's needed to be His disciple. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross each day and then follow Him. What does all of that mean, though? Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who led the majors in home runs (53) and RBIs (138) last season, delves into that: "...As I got older, I realized it wasn't about going to church or managing your sin, but about daily dying to myself and surrendering my life to Christ..."
Just the mention of his name elicits a collection of defeated, almost fearful responses from major league hitters.
Some shake their head and laugh nervously. Others ponder their fate for a moment...then shrug their shoulders in resignation. Still others take a deep breath and slowly exhale as if they've narrowly escaped death.
Remember the 1993 All-Star Game? The always colorful, left-handed hitting John Kruk stepped in to face Johnson. The 6-foot-10 inch southpaw promptly sailed a fastball over the first baseman's head. That's all Kruk needed. He was finished.
He was transformed into a wide-eyed little leaguer batting for the first time as he bailed...
I have an odd recollection of names like Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and other baseball greats from the 1940s, 50s and early 60s, even though I was born well after they played the game.
Sure, I remember watching 1970s greats like Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell, Reggie Jackson, and Nolan Ryan play on TV, where I also saw the Big Red Machine, the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers in those great World Series match ups...
Since being awarded the National League MVP in November, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen gets the questions all the time.
What’s the key to success?How did you get the MVP?What makes you so calm and confident?
Because of who he is—the NFL's MVP and single-season record holder for touchdowns—wide-eyed kids excitedly surround him as he arrives, anxious to peer into their hero's face.
And because of who he once was—a kid, a hero worshiper like the ones that encircle him—Shaun Alexander appreciates the power of the moment. He signs autographs, slaps high fives, and poses for cellphone photos, smiling for each click. He doesn't deny a request.
Alexander, the Seattle Seahawks' running back with the knack for scoring touchdowns, is touring the old YMCA in his hometown of Florence, Kentucky, the building he bought last year for $1.8 million...
Read the remainder of Shaun Alexander's story from our September/October 2006 issue here...