Sermon Illustrations

Baseball And The Curious Case Of Scooter Gennett

Baseball is known for its surprises. It's a beautiful game that lets grown men play a kids game. For more than a century of baseball and thousands of games, only 16 men have homered four times in one game. The last was Josh Hamilton, five years ago. Most, like Hamilton – Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, Mike Cameron and Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Lou Gehrig and Willie Mays – were sluggers. Twelve of the 16 hit at least 200 home runs in their careers. Nine of them hit 300 or more home runs.

Then along came Scooter Gennett. All 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. 38 career home runs. And during an ordinary game, between two ordinary teams, on an ordinary Tuesday night, in ordinary Cincinnati, came one of the most extraordinary hitting performances in baseball history. “Scooter” is a second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, released a little more than two months ago by the Milwaukee Brewers, and just off a 0 for 19 hitless streak.

In 2014, Gennett was the left-handed part of a Milwaukee second base platoon.

In 2015, Gennett started on opening day for the Brewers at second base. He started the season batting below .200 before going on the 15-day disabled list after cutting his hand in the shower. Then, he was sent down to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Brewers AAA farm team. After 1 month in the minors, he was recalled.

On March 28, 2017, Gennett was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Gennett hit 4 home runs (including a grand slam) and had a career-high 10 RBI against the Cardinals.

In the first inning, he singled to left field against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.

In the third, he hit a grand slam to right field off Wainwright.

In the fourth, he hit a two-run home run to center field, again off Wainwright.

In the sixth, he homered to left, just to the fair side of the foul pole, against reliever John Gant.

That was three homers.

“My teammates were awesome the whole time,” Gennett told reporters in Cincinnati, with a laugh, “letting me know exactly what I needed to do and how many home runs I had at each point.”

In the eighth, against reliever John Brebbia, with two strikes against him, Gennett swung again at a high fastball. He appeared to swing very hard.

“You know, that’s the thing, I really didn’t,” he said. “Maybe, obviously, it looked like it. But my batting glove got caught in my other hand and I released with one hand. It was like, Ahhh. Because I know that if I try to hit a home run it’s not going to happen. So I just tried to relax and put a good swing on the ball and it ended up working out.”

One game. Five hits. 17 total bases.

10 RBI.

“That’s baseball, man,” he said. “It’s a crazy game. That’s why you never give up. You always try to get better, make adjustments, and I did just that. Our hitting coach, Don [Long], he’s worked with me lately to kind of fine tune some things. And I think we did just that tonight.

The record for total bases in a game is 19, by Shawn Green in 2002. Two – Hamilton in 2012 and Joe Adcock in 1954 – had 18 total bases in a game. Then, at 17, come Gil Hodges and Mike Schmidt. And now, Scooter Gennett.

No Reds player –including ken Griffey Jr., had ever hit four home runs in the same game.

“It’s surreal, man,” Gennett said. “It really is. I’m truly blessed. Being from here. Born here. Watching all those guys play when I was little. And to do something that’s never been done, I can’t put words on it.

Preaching ... never give up… there is always hope!

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