I cannot recall seeing anything like it before, and I hope I never see it again. Miguel Cabrera, on a one strike pitch, swings and misses, and then walks off the field. He was out ... not on the scoreboard, but out of the game ... and out for the season. His “scoreboard out” would be counted one pitch later as Miguel was down in the clubhouse.
Cabrera, who played his first 12 seasons in the majors with zero time on the disabled list, had ruptured a tendon in his biceps. After playing in only 39 games in his fifteenth season, his 2018 campaign was over. You could hear the message “Man Down” echoing through Detroit.
As depressing as this is for Tiger baseball fans, I believe a couple men, as they walked away from Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago, were more depressed. With dejection on their faces, they shuffled their feet through the dust as they told a stranger about "Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel." (Luke 24.19-21) For them, all was lost, not just for a baseball season, but all of their hopes and dreams for the future ... crushed ... crucified ... buried ... gone.
I expect you know the end of the story. The stranger was really no stranger at all. It was Jesus - more alive than they had ever seen him before. When this reality struck them, "They said to each other, 'Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?' And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, 'The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared!" (Luke 24.31-34)
The story does not end here! Luke goes on to tell us "As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, 'Peace to you!' But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see." (Luke 24.36-39)
And, ever since then, we - God's people - have been Easter People. The One who came down (from heaven to earth, from True God to true man) ... the man who was down (in the depths of hell, in the darkness of death) ... that man could not be kept down. As Herb Brokering writes, "Jesus is risen and we shall arise: Give God the glory! Alleluia!" (LSB 474)
Now, this may not mean much for how the rest of the Tigers' season will go, but it does have the power to transform every season of our lives on earth ... and more! We are Easter People! The man who went down for us is risen, and we shall arise ... every time we stumble and fall ... every time we get pushed down or defeated ... from the ashes of every broken dream and broken heart. "Weeping be gone; Sorrow be silent" Death put asunder, and Easter is bright. Cherubim sing: 'O grave, be open!' Clothe us in wonder, adorn us in light. Jesus is risen and we shall arise: Give God the glory! Alleluia!" (LSB 474, v. 4)
The Tigers, by the way, in the first game after Cabrera went down, gave up 2 runs in the first inning before getting anyone out ... and then allowed only one more hit for the rest of the game. Down 2-1 with two out in the eighth, they scored four runs and won 5-2. Maybe there is hope there, too.
Man down. Mankind up ... now and for all of eternity. "Jesus is risen and we shall arise: Give God the glory! Alleluia!"