Can a Baseball Game Bring Serenity?

Baseball is the only sport I know played in a park. Whenever I get a chance to say, “Lets go to the ballpark” I get a dose of serenity. So many elements of baseball have to do with nature. From the mud gathered from the Delaware River to break in game balls, to the maple, birch, and ash used in bats, God’s creation is everywhere in pro baseball. 

So, is everything perfect on the field and in the park? Fans never get ejected, umpires never get calls wrong, hometown fans never have to witness their team getting blown out and batters never charge the mound after a little chin music, right? Wrong. Alongside the serene feeling brought by carefully groomed Kentucky bluegrass and the unmistakable sound of the crack of the bat, baseball also presents the trappings of day-to-day life.

"God's creation is everywhere in pro baseball. "

Eden is a place I begin to think about while watching a baseball game at the park. I place numerous idealistic human expectations on each ballgame I attend in person. When I go to a game, I don’t want to wait in line, get sunburned, or experience a rain delay. Every trip to the park is complete with unexpected moments. I guess it’s because sometimes I fool myself into thinking we’re in the Garden of Eden, but reality quickly sets in.

My life isn't complete or practical without surprises that reveal my humanity.

Living with Bipolar I and addiction disorder has meant I’ve developed a unique faith perspective. Here are two things:

First, everything I do today is informed by my past. My, oh my, what a colorful past I have had. It took me until age 29 to finally manage my mental health. This meant that for 15 years I lived an impractical, unrealistic, incomplete, and chaotic life. All of that informs how I see God at work in my life today. With Eden in mind, let’s just say that, like Adam and Eve, I remember my own “fall.”

Second, in an attempt to be mindful in the present moment, I understand that God’s grace guides all of my experiences and the actions of others. When this all works perfectly, I am happy to report that my mental health recovery goes quite smoothly. However, you and I both know that life is unpredictable and unforeseen challenges will occur. To use baseball as an analogy the sun will get in your eyes and you will drop a pop fly that you should’ve caught easily. Not every trip to the park is a picnic, and frankly, knowing that is a good thing for myself, an individual in mental health recovery.

I've learned to be prepared for anything...

Here is where my recovery is at today. Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, whether my pastoral life is highly stressful or full of serenity, or whether home life is relaxing or taxing, somehow God has found a way to tap me on the shoulder and remind me to enjoy the game. The “baseball game of life,” lovingly created by God, is still a calming experience. Even the most disappointing ballgames have still been a serene trip to the park. The satisfying and unique crack of the bat sounds just as fulfilling whether the score is tied or the game is lopsided. The Creator calls us to try and be engaged in the game in the way that we see fit.

Make sure to comment below and join the conversation!

Seth Perry

Seth Perry

(he/him/his) Pastor- Mental Health Recovery Educator- Blogger


4 Responses

  1. I have been a fan of baseball since 1954, when I was three years old. My father took my five year old brother to see the heavily favored Cleveland Indians (now Guardians) and Bob Feller, play the New York (now San Francisco) Giants in game 4 of the World Series at former Municipal Stadium, on the shores of Lake Erie. I still have the program guide, but fans all know who won that game!

    Nevertheless, you are certainly correct, Pastor Seth, life is very much like baseball. Coaches will tell their players, “It is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game!” Thank you for the memories, Rev. Perry!

  2. I happened to read your insightful (and beautifully written) message minutes after using my laptop to keep tabs on the highlights of Saturday night’s Twins game, both as the game was being played and moments after it ended. (The Twins won.) Clearly, I was not at the park or on the field…but I was “in the game.”
    I confess to enjoying baseball and especially watching the Twins. For reasons beyond all of our control we are no longer able to watch the Twins live on Cable TV, and I refuse to pay for live streaming. But I’ve started to use the MLB’s live digital scoreboard and taped highlights to keep tabs on the action. Admittedly, it’s not like being at the game, but I can still cheer for whoever is at bat or on the mound, and I know enough about the game and the scoreboard to fill in the blanks until I can see a video replay.
    For me, baseball is a duel between the batter and the pitcher…a duel of wits, concentration, confidence, prowess…and faith: the pitcher’s faith that if he throws a strike and the batter hits it, his teammates have the ability to make the out, the batter’s faith that a bunt or a sacrifice fly can be as valuable to the outcome of a game as a home run, and, if he can make it as far as second base, his team has the power to bring him home safely.
    The thrill of the baseball park, the roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat, the camaraderie of the team….these are all amazing elements of baseball, but it’s also about faith and, win or lose, coming back to try again tomorrow.
    And apparently for Twins-loving cable TV viewers like me…it’s also about continuing to believe in something we cannot see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I love baseball. Going to the ballpark is a total sensory experience. Read this to see how connect baseball to my faith and recovery.