Why are the Detroit Tigers on my Twitter Profile?

ADDENDUM: Players featured on my twitter profile thus far: “Sweet” Lou Whitaker, Ozzie Virgil Sr., Larry Doby . . .

This morning I have no voice and my baseball spirit is in mourning. Last night, my wife and I went to watch the Oakland A’s play the Detroit Tigers in, Game #5 of the American League Divisional Championships. Win and go on to play for the American League pennant, lose and go home for the winter.

It was loud and raucous as a playoff game should be, but we lost – and yes, I say “we” because that’s just how it is – and this morning I am a sad, sad, sad boy.

Now before you get all Judgey McJudgerson on me for using up your time to talk about sports — yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s just a game and there are more important things going on in the world. But come on, let a boy be bitter for a few moment about his team losing for the second freaking year in a row, to the same freaking team, and to the same freaking pitcher.

Grrrrrrrrr, that Justin Verlander.

As we discussed this morning as a family, “Justin Verlander is a child of God, but we still hate that guy.”

Yes, these are the theological conversations we have in our home.

For those of you who follow me on twitter, this morning you also saw this tweet.

One of the great joys of interacting in the space where church, community and social media converge has been building up relationships with people around a variety of randomly awesome interests. I have had the pleasure of getting to know new people through conversations that run the gamut of social/cultural import. From in-depth theological discussions, to responses to cultural happenings, to sharing personal projects, to smack-talking over fantasy football to, yes, baseball, I have been enriched by the people whom I have come to know over twitter and other social media locations.

For example — this Fall, as my beloved Oakland Athletics Baseball Club were battling their way into the post-season, I proposed a little wager with Texas Rangers friends, @anglibyerian and @froggent on who would win the Western Division.

The wager: whoever lost would have to change their twitter profile and include other team’s logo for the duration of the winner’s run in the postseason.

High social media stakes, baby. High stakes.

Stop laughing. This is serious stuff ;-)

As it turned out, the Athletics won the West and @anglibyerian and @froggent had to pay up. I will say that when the first profile pics showed up with with Texas Manager, Ron Washington, in his A’s uniform, I was duly impressed and glad they found a way to pay off the bet that would not totally eat away at their baseball souls. Well done!

How happy were they that the A’s lost last night? This happy . . .

So now it’s my turn to pay the piper as I placed the same wager with Tigers fans, @davidwshinn, @cgmama and @bryberg and will have a rotation of Detroit Tigers’ images that I can live with for as long as the Tigers remaining in the postseason.

And yes, it hurts.

But as they say, there’s always next year.

 

WWJP? Baseball.

[Photo by gregor_y]

No offense to you football, basketball, cricket, shuffleboard, spelling bee and hockey fans, but let me tell you why baseball, the greatest sport IN THE WORLD, would be the sport of choice had Jesus had the opportunity to sign up for T-Ball as a child.  While each of the above mentioned sports may carry some of these traits, I dare say no other sports weaves them together in the way the national pastime does.

  • The Mascots // Angels, Padres and yeah, why do you think that the team fro, Tampa Bay are now known simple as The Devil Rays. - Jesus likes them.
  • The Team // Baseball  is a unique team team sport in that there are so many working parts that make up the team: starting pitchers, pinch hitters, closers, power hitters, base-stealers, etc and each player has a unique skill set. I dare say the 25 player roster has more diversity player to player than football’s 52 player squad - Jesus likes communities that bring all their gifts together for the common good.
  • The Individual // In baseball, ones individual contributions and skills can both take over a game as well as be part of a team.  Each person plays a particular role on the team, but if need be a player can carry a team for a game or two at a time pitching a shut-out, hitting a couple of home runs, making a game saving defensive play, etc. - While this can go wrong sometimes when a player tries to do too much, in the end Jesus liked Peter, he tried to much, but also carried the disciples through time of struggle.
  • The Utility Player // Not everyone can be great at all things, maybe not even great at one thing, but many can be really good at a great many things. Utility players are a crucial part of a team’s 162 game season: outfield, infield, pitcher, catcher, you name it . . . there are a few folks who can do it all.  Bert “Campy” Campaneris was the first to play all nine position in one game.  - Paul, all things to all people.
  • The Long Haul // Spring training followed by 162 games in a season allows a team to start with a clean slate each year while requiring them to think with the Big Picture in mind. – Hope and perseverance, hope and perseverance.
  • The Nuance // While some think Baseball is boring to watch on TV or in person, the nuances of the game, if open to seeing them, make every pitch and every play an exercise in imagining the possibilities and seeing a glimpse of grace. - Sorry literalists, but I think Jesus likes a nuanced approach to scripture, faith and sports.
  • The Bodies // Short, tall, thin or chunky all are welcome on the diamond. – I have got to believe that Jesus would get a kick out of the husky reliever, the slight base-stealer and the behemoth of a power hitter.
  • The Beauty // Some of the most beautiful sights in sports: The 6-4-3 Double Play, the Suicide Squeeze, hitting the cut-off, OBP, The Diving Stop, the Triple Crown, the Perfect Game and the Screwball. - Jesus like beautiful things.
  • The Movies // Best Sports Movies EVER: Bull Durham, Major League, For Love of the Game, Field of Dreams, 8 Men Out, The Babe, A League of their Own, The Natural, The Bad New Bears, The Sandlot and the ULTIMATE DOCUMENTARY, Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns.

And one last thing. I do think Jesus would pick sides when it comes to teams fandom. I suspect he would root for small market teams like the Oakland Athletics and Minnesota Twins over teams those teams that shall not be named, but rhyme with New York Hankees and Boston Bread Box.

Okay, I’ve made my case. Feel free to push back and defend your sport of choice.

This is a remodel/update of my post from 2007.


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