“Its a bad night to be an atheist!”

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about or witnessed for yourself the record breaking night of baseball’s Home Run Derby last night. I was not expecting to hear of God’s goodness and freedom giving while watching a bunch of self-absorbed millionare athletes hit balls with a corked baseball bat, but God chose one of the biggest stages of the sports world to declare His glory.

I know everyone isn’t a baseball fan – so allow me to set the stage for  you. The Home Run Derby is to baseball as the Slam Dunk Contest is to basketball – its what EVERYONE wants to watch. Not only is it the Home Run Derby, it was the last one to be played at Yankee Stadium – where EVERYONE wants to play. (Yes, even Red Sox like playing there)

Enter Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was out of baseball for over 2 years because of his alcohol and heroine addiction. It was during his suspension from basbeball and in the deepest depths of his bondage that he encountered the power and grace of God. During his transformation he had a dream. No not like MLK, but a great dream nonetheless.

He had a dream that he would be interviewed on ESPN at Yankee Stadium during the Home Run Derby sharing his testimony of God’s grace and power with the world. THIS WAS 2 and a half YEARS AGO, PEOPLE! He wasn’t even allowed to play baseball let alone be at the biggest event on the biggest stage of baseball. Well, 2 and a half years later he was not just AT the HRD, but in it and setting a Major League Baseball record with his 28 homeruns in the 1st round and 33 overall. And he wasn’t just barely clearing the wall. He hit homers for 503, 504, 519 FEET! If you added up all of his totals, he hit the ball for about miles!

My favorite moment was when one of the ESPN announcers said “This guys was on drugs and an alcoholic, found God, cleaned up his life and he’s setting records at Yankee Stadium during the All-Star Game. Its a bad night to be an atheist!”

While technically he didn’t “win” the Derby, even Justin Morneuu – the ACTUAL winner of the derby said “Josh is the real winner tonight. Nobody’s going to remember me.” And to quote ESPN writer Jayson Stark

 “So the record may show that Josh Hamilton didn’t win this Derby. But life will tell us — and him — otherwise. “

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