Everybody Loves a Great Comeback!

Two Sundays ago, the golfing world witnessed Tiger Woods’ outstanding performance at the Masters in Augusta. It had been 3,954 days since Woods won a major. Suddenly, the man who hadn’t won in five years proudly donned the green jacket.

          Nine players entered the weekend within a shot of the lead, the most in Masters history. That congested scoreboard continued into Sunday’s final round as each hole eliminated the competition until eventually there were three. The win marked the first time Woods came from behind in the final round to win a major

(https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/tiger-woods-completes-his-staggering-career-comeback/, accessed 4/16/19).

          Everyone loves a great comeback. Do you have any idea what Major League baseball’s greatest comeback is?

          On the playoff front, the 2004 American League championship best-of-seven series saw the Boston Red Sox, down three games to none, win the next four and overtake the New York Yankees to go to the World Series.

          On June 18, 1911, the Detroit Tigers overcame a 12-run deficit against the Chicago White Sox. On June 15, 1925, the Philadelphia Athletics overcame a 12-run deficit against the Cleveland Indians. On August 5, 2001, the Cleveland Indians overcame a 12-run deficit against the Seattle Mariners, winning 15-14 in the 11th inning.

          In the Indians and Mariners battle, Seattle jumped out to a 12-0 lead. The Indians scored two in the fourth to make it 12-2, then the Mariners added 2 more in the top of the next inning and the Indians found themselves on the losing side of a 14-2 bashing.

          Around this point, both teams began pulling their starters. Why risk injury when the game appeared a runaway?

          Cleveland kept chipping away, scoring three in the seventh and four in the eighth, making it 14-9.

In the bottom of the ninth, Eddi Taubensee led off with a single, but the next two Indians flew out and struck out.

          Down to the last out, Cleveland still had a five-run deficit. Cordova doubled, sending the runner to third. Wil Cordero walked to load the bases. Einar Diaz then belted a line-drive single to left that brought home two runs (14-11).

          Kenny Lofton singled to left and the lead runner held at third. Omar Vizquel stepped in and swung and missed the first pitch. He took a ball and then swung and missed again. Two outs, a 1-2 count, the tying run on base. The next two pitches missed the strike zone and loaded the count.

          He fouled the next two off. On the eighth pitch Omar hit a hard shot to right field, scoring all three runners. Tied game, 14-14!

          Vizquel tripled, but the Indians left him stranded, going into extra innings. The tenth passed with no runs scored and then came the 11th.

          With one out, Lofton singled to center. Vizquel followed with his fourth hit of the game, sending Lofton to third. Up came Cabrera, who blasted a first-pitch single that scored Lofton and gave the Indians an improbable 15-14 victory (https://tht.fangraphs.com/tht-live/10-year-anniversary-of-baseballs-greatest-comeback/) accessed 4/16/19).

          As Yogi Berra said about the 1973 NL pennant race, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Last Sunday, we celebrated the greatest comeback ever. As Jesus moved through His final week, the momentum mounted against Him. His disciples let Him down, one betrayed Him, another denied knowing Him, the religious leaders connived and conspired against Him, and the government authorities caved in to the public pressure calling for His crucifixion. They handed Him over for execution.

He was beaten, scourged, ridiculed, mocked by His enemies and deserted by His closest followers. Ultimately, He was crucified. It took three hours of suffering before He breathed His last and met death.

Now this problem, gone and buried, would no longer threaten the religious establishment.   

Then came the third day, the stone rolled away, the tomb empty and Jesus’ victory over death. The angels asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead. He is not here but is risen” (Luke 24:5-6).

Jesus proved “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” He’s alive and invites you to come to Him in salvation. And if, back when, you came to Him but now you’re far from Him, Jesus stands ready for you to return. You, too, can come back to Jesus.

Dr. David Chancey