Baseball has reached the half-way point in the season and it is time to look back on my preseason picks to discern if the luck that allowed me to pick all 4 Final Four teams has continued into the baseball season.
Back on April 2, my preseason picks were as follows:
AL East -- Yankees
AL Central -- Indians
AL West -- Angels
AL Wild Card -- Red Sox
NL East -- Mets
NL Central -- Astros
NL West -- Padres
NL Wild Card -- Phillies
World Series -- Yankees over the Mets in a Subway Series
The Yankees pick is looking disastrous as the Bronx Bombers have imploded, currently sitting 1 game under .500 and 10 games out. The Red Sox, my preseason wild card pick in the AL, are comfortably leading the AL East with a 52-34 record, 10 games ahead of the Yankees. In the AL Central, the Indians are 16 games over .500 and trail the Tigers by 1 game. In the AL West, the Angels are 18 over and 2.5 games ahead of the Mariners.
In the National League, the Mets lead the East by 2 games over the Braves with a 48-39 record. The Phillies, my NL wildcard pick, sit 4.5 back of the Mets at 44-44. In the NL Central, the Astros have been horrendous, 11 games under .500 and 10.5 back of the surprising Brewers. In the NL West, the Padres go into the break in first place but just 1 game ahead of the Dodgers.
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18.24).
Are you fortunate enough to have a friend closer than a brother in your life?
I do. His name is Rick Northen. During our seven years in Hot Springs Village, Rick served as an elder and our common bond in Christ, in baseball, in hunting, in serving in the school community, and in striving to be godly fathers forged a bond that the geographic distance now existing between us cannot undo.
Today, Rick and his wife Gail work tirelessly in Cambodia to spread the good news of Jesus up and down the Mekong River. But during a season of discouragement in my life, it was a phone call yesterday morning from Rick that snapped me back to reality, reminding me how incredibly gracious God has been to me.
I hope for you a friend like Rick -- a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Our quest for Christlikeness places us in the crosshairs of Satan's fury and a friend, a brother, who understands and cares and is deeply committed to prayer is an invaluable resource along the journey of life.