Because life is a series of edits

10 Commandments of Pitching (or What Happens When a Bible Teacher Coaches Baseball)

In Sports, Theologians, Westminster on March 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

Spring Training

Handing out this original (and highly contextualized) paraphrase of Exodus
20:1-20
to our junior varsity pitchers today:

“And Coach spoke all these words:
‘I am the Coach your Teacher, who brought you out of
the dugout, out of the land of the bullpen.

1. You shall not lose control –
mentally, physically, or emotionally.

2. You shall not make for yourself a mess by falling behind counts
or walking batters. You shall not drag or work at a slow pace;
for I, the Coach your Teacher, am a just Coach, punishing the
pitchers for the sin of not throwing strikes through the third or fourth
inning, but showing mound time up to a full seven innings to those
who love pitching and care about the strike zone.

3. You shall not misuse a pitch in the wrong spot
or in the wrong situation, for the Coach will not hold
anyone guiltless who misuses his pitches.

4. Remember your fielders by throwing strikes.
Three balls you are allowed to do all your work,
but three strikes is a Sabbath for the Coach your Teacher.
With them, you shall not wear out your team, neither you, nor your infielders
or outfielders, nor your parents or fans, nor your girlfriends or
wannabe girlfriends, nor the scout within your gates. For with three
strikes in mind the Coach made the decision and the line-up, the
fielding positions, and all who are in them, but he rested on the fact
that you are going to make good pitches. Therefore the Coach trusts you to
throw strikes so the team can make outs.

5. Honor your umpires and your officials,
so that you may live long on the mound
the Coach your Teacher is giving you.

6. You shall not waste pitches.

7. You shall not walk the lead-off hitter.

8. You shall not allow
runners to steal on you.

9. You shall not allow the opposing team
to score the inning after we score.

10. You shall not covet your teammate’s velocity.
You shall not covet your teammate’s curveball, or his changeup
or slider, his two-seam or four-seam, or any pitch that your teammate
throws.’

When the pitchers saw the thunder and lightning and heard
‘Play ball!” and saw the mound in smoke, they trembled with fear. They
stayed at a distance and said to the catcher, ‘Speak to us yourself and
we will listen. But do not have Coach speak to us or we will die.’ The
catcher said to the pitchers, ‘Do not be afraid. Coach has come to test
you, so that the fear of Coach will be with you to keep you from
throwing balls.’”

Hoping this gets the point across. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of both baseball and the Bible, you might enjoy this from a few years back: Moses at the Bat.

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  1. Awesome. Reminded me a bit of this:
    “And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Ball. Then shalt thou throw strikes to three; no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt throw, and the number of the throwing shall be three. Four shalt thou not throw, neither throw thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out! Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”
    Or something like that…

  2. Very nice work, Craig! Hadn’t heard you’d be coaching…You’re like some strange mixture of Eugene Peterson and Dave Duncan. Best of luck with the season!

  3. Something like that is right, Jake…the Holy Hand Grenade may never be the same.
    Like the Peterson/Duncan combination, Pete. I may need to get that put on the back of my jersey.

  4. I love this post. I gotta make sure Jeff has seen it. The perfect combination of seminary humor mixed with baseball.

  5. I’m glad you included the preface. As we know from Covenant Theology, the preface is the most important part.

  6. Indeed, Nick, I almost included part of Exodus 19 to establish the covenantal aspect of the commandments, but as baseball is definitely more of a merits-based system than Christianity, I had to let it go.

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