"Say it ain't so, Sammy!"

When Chicago Cub superstar Sammy Sosa’s bat shattered into pieces of wood and, well, cork, the baseball universe tilted south. Sosa, who is not only a great home run hitter, but a perennial good guy, had cheated! How many home runs were hit with an illegal bat? All of them? Any of them?
The official rulers of Major League Baseball, Section 6.06, paragraph D state: “A batter is out for illegal action when: He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire’s judgement, has been altered or tampered with in such a way as to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball.”
I want you to note something startling. The word “cork” is not used. The rules of baseball do not list the gamut of possible ways a player might alter the bat to his advantage. Technology advances constantly, and it would be impossible to actually name all of the possibilities. It should be enough to state the principle: Don’t alter the bat. Get your home runs by using coordination, sweet timing, and strength, not by cheating. Perhaps you recognize, in this everyday event, an argument from silence? This is not the world of theology; this is no arcane, inconspicious, complex theological argument. It’s baseball. But somehow everybody understands that an altered bat means any alterations, whether specified or not.
I hope Sammy just made this mistake once. But if he was cheating for some time, he should, well, “put a cork in it!” (The cheating, that is, not the bat!) It sounds a little like the words of the Lord Jesus: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book” (Revelation 22:18).
You see, this is not a principle some preacher dreamed up; it is something we understand to be true in every walk of life. No if’s, and’s or bats.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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