Notre Dame on fire ...
“Clayton Kershaw Will Never Get Over It.” That’s what Deadspin headlined an article this morning by its deputy editor, Barry Petchesky. Kershaw, often called this decade’s greatest major league pitcher, enjoyed a two-run lead as he began the eighth inning of the winner-take-all game between his Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals. Then: two pitches, two home runs. Soon, the Dodgers lost.
Petchesky writes, “Kershaw had no answers after the game, because if there were answers there’d be a solution, and if there were a solution he would have found it by now. ... Instead he was existentially bereft, openly wondering if he’d ever get over this—‘this’ being the latest collapse.” Kershaw, who has had previous postseason difficulties, said of this worst one of all, “I might not get over it. I don’t know.”
Petchesky conveys the trauma: “His rookie catcher hugged him and told him how much he admired him. ‘I love you,’ his pitching coach told him. ‘You always give everything you’ve got. Sometimes it don’t work out.’ And there, Kershaw burst into tears.” The TBS camera repeatedly showed Kershaw sitting alone on a segment of the Dodgers’ bench.
The “never get over it” headline might be right—but I suspect not. I’ve never interviewed Kershaw and know little about him, but here’s what I learned from Wikipedia: “Prior to the 2011 season, Kershaw visited Zambia with his wife as part of a Christian mission organized by Dallas-based Arise Africa. After the trip, he announced his dream of building an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia, which he called ‘Hope's Home’ after 11-year-old Hope, an HIV-positive child Kershaw met in Zambia.”
Wikipedia records that Kershaw’s dream of helping Zambian orphans has come true, in part because he has contributed very large amounts. Kershaw has also funded surgeries for children in partnership with Christian doctors at CURE International, whose good work in Africa I’ve seen. But good works don’t redeem us—nothing but the blood of Jesus does—so I’m looking forward to learning more about Kershaw and his faith.
Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have written a book I plan to read and review. I hope this description of it, and the faith of the Kershaws, is true: “Clayton sees his ability to throw a baseball as just one way he lives out his passion for God. … Long before Clayton began his pro baseball career, he and Ellen made a commitment to live out their faith in Christ by giving to others.” Probably, those whom Kershaw has helped over the years are today sending him messages of solace—and most important, I hope and pray God is.
It’s fine for Deadspin’s Petchesky to ask, “What if the Dodgers never get a shot at redemption?” But here’s the good news: As a Christian, Kershaw has already been redeemed.