Capri Connection: Spring training celebrated on Capri

Ann Hall

For many years, Pastor Curt Ayers of Capri Christian Church has encouraged members and guests to wear a hat or shirt of their favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team when they attend any of the four services offered the weekend before spring training begins; this year was no exception. Even members of the Praise Team were dressed in team shirts, socks and hats.

Sally and Bruce Johnson from Chicago enjoyed a ballpark hotdog after a Sunday service at Capri Christian Church.

“No football or basketball attire this time,” Ayers warned the week before this annual event. Turnout was a home run, and the enthusiasm was electric.

Tim Irving and Eric Garwood, dressed in formal sport coats and ties, took the stage pretending to be baseball announcers seated at a sports desk.  Using a comedy script entitled “Sacrifice,” written by John Cosper and published by Drama Ministry, the two called the play-by-play final game between Satan’s Demons and Jesus and the Saints as the game was broadcast on screens behind them.

Patty Irving (left), Jerry Kratz and Bob Cowden, members of the Capri Christian Church, show off their baseball team preferences by wearing team paraphernalia.

The script used biblical figures as players on both teams, and scripture verses formed the basis for dialogue about the plays. Baseball stadium noise and ballgame sound effects woven into the drama made the presentation so real that some in the audience broke out in cheers as if they were actually in the ballpark.

Announcers Irving and Garwood explain to the viewing audience that, “this is the final and pivotal game in the spiritual battle” between good and evil.

“There are no extra innings; either the Saints score and take the victory, or Satan will be the victor,” read the announcers from Cosper’s script.

Jeff and Sherry Ragland with their two children, Andrew and Avery, from Saint Louis enjoyed dressing up for the special spring training celebration while spending a week with Jeff’s parents.

During the game, Satan’s Demons tried some ugly shenanigans; when Jesus came up to bat, Satan took the pitcher’s mound with his 200 mph fastball.  Two balls passed and then when the third pitch was delivered, Satan offered to make Jesus the Most Valuable Player if he will lose the game.

Instead of swinging, Jesus chose to lay down a sacrificial bunt, allowing John to score a winning run. The final score was Saints 1, Satan’s Demons 0. The announcers concluded that in the game of life, winning doesn’t require making a home run, but rather making a sacrifice.

A video of baseball footage was played at the closing of each service and as teams were announced in the video, those in the audience stood up, clapped, cheered and found it hard to contain themselves as they showed support for their favorite teams.

Following the services, members and guests were offered one (or more) hotdogs, water and a soft drink of their choice as they left the building.  Those who accepted the offer of a dog and drink were equally as enthusiastic about “not having to cook lunch today,” as some hungry and excited guests were heard saying to their friends.

Richard Tull (left), Linda Addy, Bob Hobgood and Nancy Megel wrap hotdogs to give to each of the service attendees during Capri Christian Church's ballpark weekend.

Some of the funniest incidents that have come about during Capri Christian Church’s annual ballpark weekend have been that some sports enthusiasts have unwittingly worn a football or basketball jersey or hat to the event, prompting Pastor Ayers to make humorous comments letting them know that baseball is indeed another sport.

Maybe this will give birth to additional events such as football and basketball weekends? One thing for sure, people who attend Capri Christian Church love their sports teams.

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