I watched the home run hitting contest at the All Star game last night. It was fun. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that Brandon Inge of my Detroit Tigers didn't hit any home runs. That was a bummer. None-the-less it was a fascinating display of power as one slugger after another ripped the balls and sent them into the bleachers.
One of the sluggers was Prince Fielder. He plays for the Milwaukee Brewers and in 2007 he hit 50 home runs. this year he has already ripped 22 homers and is a real offensive force for his team. He has become a more patient hitter and is batting over .300.
The reason that Prince Fielder interests me is that he is the son of former Tiger slugger Cecil Fielder. In 1990 Cecil signed with the Tigers and proceeded to blast 51 homers. He was the first player to reach the 50 homer mark since George Foster did it in 1977 and the first tiger play to hit 50 since Hank Greenberg did it in 1938. I loved fielder and when he followed that season with 44 more homers in 1991 he became one of my heroes.
Prince was just a little kid back then and every time you looked at pictures of Cecil Fielder, he seemed to have his son with him. Prince roamed the locker room as if he owned the place. In 1995, as an eleven year old, people were already saying that Prince would be a big league slugger like his dad some day.
Fast forward ten years and Prince made those prophets look like geniuses. Yet this storybook story is really more like a Greek tragedy. That's because the younger Fielder won't have anything to do with his father. He refuses to speak to him or even acknowledge him. When they became the first father/son team to hit 50 homers in a season Prince wouldn't even acknowledge it. When Prince came to Detroit for the first time as a big leaguer, he wouldn't answer any questions about the time he spent in the dugout with his dad. He didn't even want to acknowledge that it ever happened.
Nobody is quite sure what happened but the two had a rift in 2002. Despite several attempts by the father to reach out and be reconciled, the younger Fielder has turned his back on him.
As I think about this story I can't help but think of God and his attempts to reach out to us. Now Prince ma have every reason to turn his back on his father, but you and I have no reason to turn our backs on God. He wants to bless us. He wants to share his joy with us. He wants to live in peace and harmony with us. Yet so many of us keep our backs up and refuse to let him into our lives. It's sad really. Instead of enjoying all the blessings that the prodigal son enjoyed we keep up our front and pretend that we are the offended party. The truth is that the only one losing out is us.
If this sounds like you, then I hope you will reconsider and give God another chance. He is just waiting to spend the rest of eternity with you.