Matthew R. Perry

Eleven Questions Arise In Wake of Cory Lidle’s Death

In News, Sports on October 12, 2006 at 2:28 pm

cory-lidle.jpgAs a lifelong baseball fan, I mourned the death of Cory Lidle. His career spanned nine years and seven teams. In 1997, he first appeared in the major leagues with the New York Mets, going 7-2 that year. His career ended as a New York Yankee who helped the Yankees reach the playoffs.

How all that really seems so insignificant!

Lidle was 34 years old, leaving behind his wife and six-year-old son Christopher, a slew of baseball friends and fans, and a nation asking questions on many different levels.

Question #1: Given all the terror issues, especially surrounding New York City, how in the world did an inexperienced pilot such as Lidle (he received his pilot’s license eight months prior) fly close enough in that area to crash in that building in the first place?

Question #2: Do we forget that even baseball players, as superhuman as they seem with their ability to run, catch, hit, and throw — do we forget that athletes on those TV screens and in the ball parks are truly human after all?

Question #3: For those of you living in New York, did this not bring back 9/11 anxieties?

Question #4: Cory Lidle’s birth and death dates are 1972-2006. While in baseball terms that is borderline old, doesn’t 34 in the real world seem ridiculously young?

Question #5: Alan Schwarz of ESPN wrote an article about a conversation he had with Lidle. Here’s an excerpt:

About three weeks ago, I was talking with Cory Lidle about his newest hobby, flying. My tape recorder was off. Cory and I chatted about a lot of things over the years. Playing poker. Shooting pool. His newest cell phone. We even occasionally talked about baseball. But not that often. Similar ages, similar hobbies; whenever we ran into each other in Oakland or Philly or now in New York, we’d jabber about anything but work. On this afternoon, in the Yankees clubhouse, we started talking about his new Cirrus SR20.

“You want to go up with me?” he asked.

I was a little flummoxed at the offer but intrigued enough to see if he was serious. He was.

“Where do you live?” he asked me, knowing I lived in Manhattan.

“Upper East Side,” I said. “90th and Third.”

“Dude” — Cory was from Southern California — “you should really come up with me. We can fly right past your apartment building. You’ve never seen Manhattan ’til you’ve flown right up the East River. It’s beautiful. We can do it one day before a game.”

He wasn’t kidding. Sufficiently convinced — and, frankly, flattered — I mentioned how I’ve always longed for the guts to skydive. But I had a baby boy in May. I will barely roll craps dice, let alone those.

“My wife would kill me,” I said with a wink. “Small planes, you know.”

I’d said that a little too flippantly, I guess, because Cory got somewhat serious.

“Totally exaggerated,” he said. “You only hear about the crashes.”

Having made his point, he said more lightly, “The kind of plane I have will be safer than the cars on the FDR Drive below us.”

Schwarz noted that “You read about these things, you watch some hair-netted nitwit peer into Geraldo’s camera and declare, “By golly, I was gonna go in that car with him” … and you roll your eyes, numb to the tale’s banality. Someone was always gonna go in that car with him. Or eat that burger. Or take that plane flight.

“And then it’s you.”

So here’s the question: do we truly understand that we may be a heartbeat away from having our death date engraved in that tombstone?

Question #6: How many fans out there, when hearing this happen, the first thing they thought was, “Wow, he would have been a good pitcher on our team!”? Just being honest.

Question #7: How many of us would live as passionately as Lidle?

Question #8: A quote on ESPN.com from Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson:

“I think it just goes to show how insignificant some of the things that we think are significant really are. We’re about to play a baseball game, and how important is that, really?”

Question: Why does it take a tragedy like this to help all of us have some perspective on what’s important?

Question #9: Was it appropriate for them to play baseball that night? I’ll give my answer: yes. When my father had some very life-threatening injuries, I debated on whether to come back and preach that following Sunday. Yet, I could hear him saying, “You need to have your butt back behind that pulpit and do what God called you to do.” What are your thoughts?

Question #10: Does Lidle’s death have more significance because he was a Major League Baseball player?

Question #11:  Are you/will you keep Lidle’s young family in your prayers?

These questions’ intention is to probe our hearts and minds. But we know from the Bible that “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:22). Lidle’s death was undescribably tragic — the question is, now that the brevity of life is staring us right in the face, what will we do?

John 3:16-21 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. [18] Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [19] And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. [20] For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. [21] But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”

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