In March I wrote about the attempts of two still-young pitchers to get back to the major leagues. (See “Curve Balls: When bad things happen to once-good baseball players,” WORLD, April 5.) Both expressed faith in Christ. Both were optimistic when I interviewed them at the spring training camp of the Texas Rangers, the team that had signed them to contracts in the hope they could regain their form.
The Rangers’ gamble made sense. Three years ago, Daniel Bard was one of the best relief pitchers in the American League. Four years ago, Armando Galarraga retired 26 consecutive hitters, only to have an umpire’s bad call with two outs in the ninth inning keep him from having a perfect game, a feat so rare that only 21 major league pitchers in the past 113 years have achieved it.
Both had lost their excellence since then, with Galarraga giving up six or seven runs per game and Bard inexplicably unable to throw strikes. Bard told me, “I needed to grow as a person, as a husband. … It’s been a hard couple of years, but I thank God for them.” Galarraga emphasized his resolution and predicted that later in the season he would be “in the big leagues.”
It doesn’t look like that will happen. The Texas Rangers released Galarraga at the end of spring training, and he is now playing with the Chinatrust Brother Elephants of Taiwan’s problem-plagued Chinese Professional Baseball League. Game-fixing scandals in that league have reduced the fan base and eliminated some teams. Four are left: the Elephants, Lamigo Monkeys, EDA Rhinos, and Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions.
The Rangers sent Bard to one of the lowest minor leagues, where he faced 18 hitters over four outings and retired only two of them, walked nine, and hit seven. He finished with an earned running average of 175.5. Bard by all accounts is a terrific young man, but terrific can’t cut it when the results are terrible. I’m sorry to report that the Rangers released him on Thursday.
God saves sinners, thanks to Christ’s sacrifice. He gives us life, liberty in Christ, and the opportunity to pursue true happiness. He doesn’t guarantee prosperity.