On Thursday, October 3, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a towering drive to right field in the seventh inning of the opening game of the National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals. Instead of hustling out of the batter’s box, the Braves’ talented and well-paid 21-year-old outfielder hot-dogged it by slowly trotting down the first base line, still carrying his bat. By the time Acuna realized that the ball was not going to leave the park, he was unable to make it to second base on what should have been an easy double. His blunder could have cost his team a precious run in what was at the time a close ball game.
His lack of effort was demoralizing to the hometown fans and his teammates, several of whom called him out after the game for his failure to hustle.
Braves manager Brian Snitker removed Acuna from a regular season game in August for a similar play. Call me “old school”, but I would have pulled him out of this post-season game as well. His lack of hustle showed a lack of respect—for the game, for the fans, for his teammates, his manager and himself.
Hopefully this talented young man will learn from his mistakes and start to make better decisions as he matures.
We Christians have no excuse for not giving it our best as we live our lives for Jesus. There is too much at stake for us to give anything but our best effort. We need to show proper respect for God, for others and for ourselves by using our talents to the best of our abilities. Hopefully, we have some teammates who will call us out if necessary and hold us accountable to give our best effort.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”–1 Corinthians 15:58