The Board of Directors of Baptists Today met in Birmingham in the spring of 2007 to present the annual Judson-Rice Award to Prof. Wayne Flynt for his positive impact on the State of Alabama.
Arriving the night before the meeting, director Allen Abbott and I watched a good AA minor league game between the Birmingham Barons and the Montgomery Biscuits. When the Biscuits’ third-baseman Evan Longoria was announced, I pointed to the screen.
“Look, his name is just one letter different than that of actress Eva Longoria,” I said to Allen. “I bet his teammates kid him a lot.”
(Of course, neither Allen nor I would be that familiar with the saucy actress or her hit show, Desperate Housewives.)
Fast forward one year and Evan Longoria, quickly a major leaguer, is well known in his own right. Helping bring success to the formerly helpless Tampa Bay Rays, he is in New York tonight representing his team in the All-Star Game.
Longoria was even invited to participate in the annual Home Run Derby last night that was drawn out by ESPN for too long to keep my full attention. Evan didn’t make it past the first round, but hit a respectable three dingers in historic Yankee Stadium.
Justin Morneau, would spread 22 homers over three rounds, was the technical winner. But Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers garnered the most attention with a record-setting 28 homers in the first round.
A recovering addict who almost lost his life and career to drugs, Hamilton is now relying on faith to make the most of his incredible talent. He is an example of redemption.
Longoria — just one year away from AA – is a reminder that we never know what good things might be around the corner.
P.S. To Brett Farve: Play football or don’t play football. Just stop interrupting the middle of baseball season with your ongoing indecision.