Brooks Conrad, second baseman for the Atlanta Braves, had the final out of the ninth inning bounce right between his legs and out into center field, allowing the San Francisco Giants to score what turned out to be the winning run of the playoff game last night between these two teams. It was his third error of the game, and I noticed, as the manager brought in a new pitcher, that the rest of the infield gathered at the mound, but not Conrad. He was standing out at second, alone in his misery.
It wasn't that his teammates shunned him - it doesn't take an invitation to come to the mound - but what seemed clear was that he couldn't face them knowing he had let them down. Someone needed to go out there and give the poor guy some grace and mercy, and maybe they did, but I only saw the few seconds the TV camera caught of him, and that picture spoke volumes. Five players and a manager standing around the pitcher's mound, and Brooks Conrad alone at second.
Do you know anyone who is alone at second? A co-worker whose mistake cost the company a deal, a musician bumped off the worship team, a single mom who can't go into church for fear of being judged, a kid who can't learn the way everyone else can, a neighbor who is gay? Take it on yourself to go and extend grace and mercy to that person. It's what we all need and what God has offered to each and every one of us: grace (what we don't deserve) and mercy (exemption from what we do).
Actually, the guy at second is the one who stands to find this out sooner than most.