Take Me Out to the Ball Game: The Power of Story!

Sr. Mary Frances, holding the first pitch ball,  enjoyed the evening with her sister Susan....

Sr. Mary Frances, holding the first pitch ball, next to her sister Susan

by S. Mary Frances Reis, VHM

On Friday, August 7, 2015 I threw the first pitch at the St. Paul Saints’ game. On that gloriously clear and sunny ‘Minnesota-at-its-best’ evening at the ball park, little did I realize God would re-visit me with my own very personal Sacred Story.

The Cookie Cart folks had asked me to represent them, as they were being recognized that evening as a nonprofit doing significant work with the youth of North Minneapolis, with plans to expand to St. Paul’s East side.

From the moment (7:05 pm to be exact) that the catcher actually caught my pitch, my Sacred Story unfolded before my eyes and in my heart:

The day I was born in St. Paul, my dad was playing a double header with the Boston Braves in Pittsburgh.   At the 7th inning stretch the announcement came over the loud speaker: “Bobby Reis has a baby girl!” It was Father’s Day so it was an even bigger deal! I always like to remind folks that I got a standing ovation at my birth!!!

Eventually, ‘Daddy’ left the “Big Leagues” to play with the St. Paul Saints. Back in those days, baseball was more about the sport than the money. (My dad sold Hoover vacuum cleaners on the off season.) I remember going to the games and being so proud of him and enjoying the fun atmosphere with the sport and the crowd.

A packed stadium

A packed stadium

Memories of my dad’s career* rushed in on me as I sat in the stands behind home plate with my sister, Susan.

If you’ve been to a Saints’ game in recent years, there’s lots of entertainment, from the pig bringing the baseballs out to the pitcher and a lady dancing on top of the dugout, to the fireworks display at the end. In spite of, or shall I say — in the midst of all of it, I had a sacred, precious moment on the Sacred Ground of the St. Paul Saints new stadium.

As I reflected back on the evening a maxim of St. Jane de Chantal came to me: “Keep a light heart, and above all put sadness behind you.”

Give yourselves a gift, Everyone: Touch into your own Story and that of others. We are on the planet together for a Sacred Reason, helping one another keep a light heart in the midst of life’s challenges and gifts.

Take me out to the Ball Game! May Jesus Live in all the Sacred Stories of our lives!

 

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My dad, Bobby Reis, Boston Bees, 1938

Excerpts from 1973 St. Paul Dispatch Sports Page article by Don Riley upon my father’s death:

*”No finer gentleman ever played baseball than Bobby Reis….And few recall his dazzling versatility. It was not even recognized in his obit. He was the first major leaguer to play every position on the diamond in the course of a season. He did it with the Boston Bees in 1934….Bob had a sense of humor that could laugh at himself. I remember the gang presented him with a big book entitled “All I know About Baseball” by Bobby Reis. It was filled with empty pages and Bob laughed until the tears came. In reality, he was one of the most intelligent baseball people I ever met…More than a sportsman, he was a wonderful husband and father. And that’s what it is really all about.”