Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

Sticks and Stones Do Hurt. But Names Never Go Away.

A few weeks ago it was reported that a former major league baseball pitcher, Hideki Irabu, was found dead in his home in California. Irabu’s body hung undiscovered in his hilltop house for days after the troubled former Yankees hurler took his own life with a rope, according to reports. See the link here if you want to follow the full story:

Irabu was not reported to have separated from his wife, and he was not reported to have been depressed of late due to several issues related to a difficult marriage, the absence of his two young daughters as a result of his marital troubles, or a failed comeback to the majors due to his physical limitations. You would have to read several articles in order to piece together those things that led to this tragic end for such a talented man. But one thing you would find in every article, and it is even part of the URL listed above, is the name hung on Irabu by his former employer. This name stuck with this man wherever he went from the time it was given to him, even up unto his death. For example, see some of the articles below:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Former Yankees hurler Hideki Irabu, famously called a “fat toad” by George Steinbrenner, has been arrested for drunken driving in a Los Angeles suburb. The hefty Japanese pitcher was stopped May 17 after cops said he drifted in and out of lanes and almost hit a parked car. Irabu, 41, was traded to the Montreal Expos in 2000.

July 28, 2011
Hideki Irabu, a star Japanese baseball player who struggled to achieve comparable success in the United States, was found dead Wednesday in his Rancho Palos Verdes home. Irabu, 42, was best known in the United States for his stint with the New York Yankees, where he was an inconsistent but key contributor on two championship teams in 1998 and 1999.
His best season was 1998, his second in the American League, when he compiled 13 wins and nine losses for the Yankees and an earned run average of 4.06. Irabu also posted a winning record, 11-7, on the championship team of the following year. His higher earned run average of 4.84, however, denoted his inconsistency.
Three years later, he’d worn out his welcome. At one point, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner belittled Irabu for his girth and perceived lack of hustle, calling him a “fat toad.”

It seems like anywhere Irabu went, the “fat toad” label followed. He could not even pass on without a reminder of this name-calling being mentioned. How sad!

To the Church of Pergamum, the Victorious Christ sends a message by the apostle John, to the leaders of the church and to us as observers. Satan is working overtime and the challenges are great; but our Saviour is vigilent and has a sharp, double-edged sword to fight the lies of the enemy. God’s truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) stands in constrast to thos who carelessly label us as fat, slow, dimwitted or too religious. He promises us a special name: “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17 NIV). He knows our name, and it is precious when He calls to us. May we listen to His tender voice and not believe the lies of those negative voices around us.

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Joseph J. Bucci

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