Monday, July 30, 2007

BRETT BUTLER - Prayer Request

Brett & Eveline Butler have been great personal friends and generous supporters of Epistle Sports Ministries for many years. Brett had a long and successful career in major league baseball with five teams and is currently managing the Mobile BayBears, the AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On June 15th, Brett celebrated his 50th birthday and Carol and I both had the pleasure of speaking with him and getting caught up.

Today we received the following e-mail from Brett & Eveline's daughter, Stefanie.


Stefanie writes:

For those of you who were not made aware of this the day before last; my mom asked me to e-mail everyone and keep you all updated on my dad's health. Brett was sent to the hospital this past Friday for what they believed to be Vertigo at the time. He was very dizzy; his equilibrium was off; and he was having trouble with his balance. However; once he was at the hospital and they checked him out and ran tests; they found that he had actually suffered from a mild stroke.
Thankfully Eveline was with him; she had flown in from Arizona by way of California and met them at the Mobile; AL hospital. They checked him out and said that the only type of paralysis that he has experienced thus far is in his equilibrium; which does throw off his balance; and makes him nauseas. This paralysis they said can be something that he totally recovers from within the next six months; or it could be something that he has to live with from this point on.

The stroke they believe is something that is hereditary (something from his parents); because he is in very good health and has no other symptoms that would lead him to have a stroke. His blood was clotted which was preventing him from getting enough oxygen flow to his brain; which in turn; caused the stroke. Since then; they have out him on blood thinner and are trying to prevent anymore clotting. He is going to be in the hospital for a few more days; but hopefully Eveline will be able to take him home shortly. He was in pretty bad shape on Friday; but has since then progressed a lot. I think that is definitely from all the prayers! Right now; someone is taking over his managing position until they decide whether or not he is going to be well enough to go back and finish out the season. But; if you know Brett; he's pretty persistent and I wouldn't doubt that that is a possibility! Either way; I will keep you all updated on any further information I receive.

Please just keep him in your prayers; as well as Eveline and the doctors. He's a strong man and when I spoke with him yesterday; he said "Stef; I don't know what's going on but I know that God is going to get us through it. We just have to remember that and trust Him." Ab and Katie and Blake and I are doing okay at the moment. Brett and Eveline appreciate your support and love and we will contact you with any further news. Thanks so much and God Bless!

His girl,


* I have just been informed that Brett is doing very well and that the doctors are going to be sending him home on Monday. I'll keep you posted otherwise!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gabe Is Looking Good

Since my friend Gabe Gross was assigned to the Nashville Sounds, the AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, he has looked good, not only in his Sounds uniform (#27) but at the plate.

Gabe went hitless in his first game on Tuesday but has had 7 hits since then, not counting tonight's game.

Thanks for your prayers for Gabe & Kelly! Hopefully he will show the Brewers that he should be in the "bigs" and they'll call him up before September.

CONGRATULATIONS, Gabe! We're praying for the two of you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mike Coolbaugh Tragedy

Even though I'm no longer involved with Baseball Chapel on a hands-on basis I continue to receive their prayer requests and wish to pass the latest one on to my PILGRIM PALS. What a tragic story. Please pray for the Coolbaugh family.

Here's that prayer request:

Please remember the family of Mike Coolbaugh who died after being struck by a line drive in a game yesterday. Tino Sanchez, who hit the ball that struck Mike, could also use our prayers. The following is from Tulsa Driller Chapel Leader Victor Cruz:

I am so sorry to inform you of the fatal accident that took place Sunday-July 22 during the baseball game between the Tulsa Drillers and the Arkansas Travelers.

Tulsa hitting coach Mike Coolbaugh was struck in the head by a foul ball hit by Tulsa Drillers Tino Sanchez. Mike was transported to Baptist Medical Center in North Little Rock and at the time, he was not conscious. Coach Mike, never recovered from his injury. I was informed by Tulsa catcher Rick Guarno, who is one of our Baseball Chapel player reps, of all the events, as they happened.

I understand that Coach Mike Coolbaugh is survived by his wife, two sons and Mrs. Coolbaugh is also pregnant. I also understand that they reside in San Antonio, TX. Please lift up the Coolbaugh family to our Father in Heaven.

Tino Sanchez is not doing well in dealing with this. Please keep him, the entire team and staff in your prayers.

Note: For more on this tragic story please check out the following link. Thanks for your prayers.

Nashville Bound

Most people, especially those in the music industry, would like to be Nashville bound. Not many, if any, of the Milwaukee Brewers would enjoy this trip. Their AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, play in Music City.

Yesterday my good friend Gabe Gross was optioned to Nashville from the Brewers. When I read the news in the "TRANSACTIONS" column (which is daily reading for me...being in a sports ministry), I was disappointed and a little angry. Gabe was not getting the playing time in Milwaukee that he deserves. At least in Nashville he'll get in a good groove and show the powers that be just how good an all-round player he really is. Am I biased? Yes! Do I have a reason to be? Yes! He is a good player. He was the Toronto Blue Jays # 1 draft pick several years ago.

Here's an update on Gabe's assignment to Nashville that appears on the Brewers' web site:

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' pitching staff grew to 13 strong on Saturday, when reliever Chris Spurling was reinstated from the bereavement list and little-used outfielder Gabe Gross was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.
The team opted for an extra arm because Ben Sheets is on the disabled list with a finger injury and the team is in the middle of a stretch of 18 games in 17 days, including a doubleheader in St. Louis next weekend.
Gross had played only sparingly. He was hitting .202 in 55 games, but got only 18 at-bats in June and 17 at-bats in July.
"Hopefully I'll be able to go down and get some at-bats," said Gross, 27. "It's been two years since I've been able to play every day, so that's going to be nice. I'm looking forward to waking up every day knowing my name is going to be in the lineup."
The Triple-A Sounds are on the road, so Gross will travel to Nashville on Monday to join the team beginning Tuesday. He vowed to make it back to the big leagues.
"I have never been more confident in my ability to play every day," Gross said. "I feel like if you put me in the lineup on the first of April and take me out the first of October, that my numbers won't just be adequate, they'll be very good. I have to convince somebody to give me that opportunity."
Back on June 18, the Brewers faced a similar decision but opted to keep Gross over Tony Gwynn Jr., who was sent to Nashville to get at-bats. Gwynn had since returned to the Majors and was kept this time around, according to manager Ned Yost, partly because center fielder Bill Hall is on the disabled list and Gwynn is a true center fielder.
Hall said Saturday that he expects to be back in the lineup Wednesday in Cincinnati, at which time the Brewers will have to make another roster move. If they stick with 13 pitchers, Gwynn may have to go back to Nashville again.
"It's real important to us that Gabe Gross and Tony Gwynn are swinging the bat, because we're going to need them in September," Yost said. "They can be a big part of our bench and can win ballgames off of our bench. They're both young players and it's difficult for young players to stay sharp not playing every day."


Looking Back

Now that I've turned 62 I'm realizing that I have crafted more baseball-related memories in the past than I will ever be able to make in my remaining years.

A year and a half after stepping away from my position with BASEBALL CHAPEL I find myself recalling literally hundreds of those memories...fondly. Yes, there's a book in the works but I have enough stories for a dozen volumes.

Often Carol and I will talk of the times that we were ministering together before we adopted the boys. We made many friends in the world of a couple.

With all the talk in recent weeks about Barry Bonds' assault on Hank Aaron's home run record, I find myself thinking back to the time that Barry's dad Bobby Bonds was a friend of mine. Bobby passed away several years ago but we had many talks during his career. I can clearly remember the day in the visitors' clubhouse in Montreal when Bobby told me about Barry. He spoke as a loving and proud dad. Who ever would have thought that Barry would become such a prominent figure?

Now, as Barry approaches the record of 755 home runs, I find myself feeling old. Ancient!

I recall with fondness the night that Hank Aaron bested Babe Ruth's record of 714 homers. Hank had been my favorite ballplayer since I was a kid. How exciting to watch that 715th homer clear the fence!

The excitement won't be there when Barry hits his record-breaker! Sadly, the record will be tainted!

My fondest memory finds me kneeling in the kitchen with my mom when I was only 6 years old. That morning I welcomed Jesus Christ into my life and became a born-again Christian. Nothing can taint that memory! It's forever etched in my mind and I'll always be grateful for a godly mother who showed me the Way!

Well friends, I could go on and on but...there are so many other stories to be told and so little time to tell them.

Ask me about Tim Foli sometime...
"I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or His children begging for bread." - Psalm 37:25 (ESV)