Living In The Bullpen

The bullpen is a strange word for a small space where a group of baseball pitchers wait to “save someone.”  The word bullpen was highly visible in the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers where spectators saw a constant parade of relief pitchers from both teams trying their best to “put out the fire.”  Translated: Prevent the other team from going home.       


I looked up the word bullpen in the dictionary.  I was told it was “a large detention cell where prisoners are held until brought into court.”  Another definition was “the relief pitchers of a baseball team.”  I liked the first definition. Your professional life is confined to a small screened-in area complete with a gate carved out in the bleachers of a stadium’s outfield.  Most of your time is spent sitting on metal folding chairs and gossiping.


The only time you are released from this gated area is when your team’s starting pitcher has “lost it.” Translated: “His pitching repertoire stinks.”


Living for hours in the bullpen is like living in purgatory – you are between heaven and hell if you believe in a three-storied universe.  You sit and do nothing until the phone call.  Your help is urgently needed. You are awakened from your afternoon or evening reveries by a ringing telephone.  These are always high emergency situations.  You go through your customary warm ups. 


The gate is opened as you step into a high-pressured, unnerving conflict.  Your slow brief walk to the mound is a time to calm down and think what you plan to do.   


Life in the bullpen is stark clear.  Either you save a game or you lose a game or you are replaced and you are back in purgatory.  I have no information on the health of marriages for relief pitchers.


But keep this in mind: One always gets second chances in the bullpen.  Forgiveness does live here.  I know there are limits to this comparison.   If you keep on being “a bum”, you can lose your job.  Still, you are given a second chance.

One day you are elated and the next day you want to hide.  You are still valued and urged to try again.  The past slate is wiped clean and you start all over again. 


We, too, live in a second chance world.  We may not be a relief pitcher in a bullpen but every day we wake up to new starts.  No matter what happened yesterday, there can be redemption.  

Scripture:  “But there is forgiveness with you…..” – Psalm 130:4

-Dan Schmiechen


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