Last night Johnny Cueto marched into the record books. Eight earned runs. 6 outs. “Before tonight, no starter had ever given up 8 earned runs while collecting six or fewer outs in a postseason game in 112 years of B-R data.” (Tweet @mellinger). Then Cueto walked off the field with this expression…

I was watching the game with friends from church. A group we will never assemble again for a playoff game, for fear our gathering influenced the outcome. Nor will I go to Don’s basement, where we watched the game. I admit this is silliness. But our expression from the couch was far from a smile. *1

This year the Royals did not have an Ace for the their staff, unless you count the bullpen. So a few months ago three prospects were traded for Cueto. The Reds star was worth the expense to help a run to the title… at least everyone thought and there were smiles all around. But soon our joy was bewilderment. With the exception of game 5 in the division series – when Cueto was a true ace – he has looked terrible. In the regular season his ERA jumped two points with the Royals. In the playoffs it has jumped again, hitting the astronomical 7.88.

As the world watched him walk off the field, I wondered why we put our hopes in an outsider.


In the church we all have a grand vision, even world winning visions of what our church could become. If we could pay down the debt… If the children had this ministry… If the Sunday School had a new format… If we were better at outreach… If we could utilize social media… If our facilities… this list seems to go on forever.

And yet who is to accomplish all theses task, these suggestions? All eyes can turn to the pastor (or ministerial staff). I have heard – felt the pressure – that if the church just had the right leader, then everything would come together. More often though these suggestions come with the knowledge the pastor can’t do everything. So there is a search for who could lead this new ministry. Who could give a little more to pay for the mission trip. Who…

But does the church need a outsider. The tools are already here. If we, rather than searching for someone else, would just be about our own purpose – our personal calling. Then our visions would win reality.


This afternoon the Royals play without their outsider. I am smiling, because they have a better chance today than yesterday. #takethecrown


*1 Learning how love Johnny Cueto could have been the topic of this blog… but frankly I am not up for that task this morning. Which is again a stark reminder how small my love is compared with God’s.

2 thoughts on “Smile

  1. We had a similar discussion at our house. Something about Cueto’s arrival seemed to be the beginning of a rough patch for the Royals. I really believe that our Royals are so special because they love the game and they love each other. I honestly am not sure Cueto has that same love for the team and it shows.

    1. I think you are correct Melissa. And to write – maybe contrary to my blog – about adding the right outsiders… I think that is part of why Zobrist has fit so well with the Royals. He is passionate and caring. But more importantly, he is excited to be here in KC.

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