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.

Bruce’s Friday Five v4.13

My Friday Five is somewhat of a mishmash of stuff I have recently seen around the interwebs, some of which I actually kept track of and others, I just remembered upon the writing of this post. Enjoy.

ONE – For years friends have been given me flack for liking the movie Titanic. Whatever. You are dead inside 😉 So yeah, I went to see the 3D version this past week – by myself, thank you very much – and Leo and Kate haven’t changed a bit . . . it was just as good, just as scmalzty and just as fun as the first time. If you are one of those who poo-poo the whole Titanic phenomenon, take a read of this recent post by Dana Stevens about her Titanic conversion.

Titanic isn’t subtle or tasteful or novel—if those are the only qualities you prize in movies, this one’s brushstrokes will probably be too broad for you—but it’s indisputably big and bold and beautiful. The movie’s themes—which go beyond star-crossed love to include class conflict, the ephemerality of human existence, and feminist empowerment through nude modeling—seem to swell up in recurrent waves, like leitmotifs in an opera. A soap opera, sure, but an opera nonetheless . . .

And just remember, “I’ll never let go . . .”

TWO – For those of you who love comics, here is one to add to your list. It’s called Angry Little Girls and the creator is Lela Lee. Her books including, Angry Little Girls in Love and Fairy Tales for Angry Little Girls that chronicle the life of one angry little girl, Kim, as she interacts with unsuspecting friends have spawned a little cult following for Lee. PG-13 for sure, but oh so good.

THREE – Last night I participated in my very first Fantasy Baseball Draft. For years I have been a baseball fan and die-hard Oakland A’s supporter and I think that my hesitancy in playing fantasy baseball is that I now have to root for players for who play for other teams . . . even those from the dreaded Yankees and the Red Sox. But like they say, “It’s not personal, it’s business” and I am out to win the inaugural season of the Presbyterian Baseball League. Also, went to my first game of the year and overheard this classy heckler.

FOUR – out what song she was going to work on next with her piano teacher. After the third time of her have to remind me that even catchy songs like Bruno Mars’, The Lazy Song, might be inappropriate – dad really should listen past the first verse – we dove into the world of child singers. The whole child singer on youtube was a little overwhelming, but we did find some great young voices out there: Vasquez Sounds’ cover of Lenka’s The Show, Alexa Goddard’s cover of Whitney’s Greatest Love of All, Kayla Stewart’s cover of Bruno Mars’ It Will Rain and Maddi Jane’s cover of Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts were just a few. Oh, and we most certainly did not watch over and over and over this gassy parody of Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA . . . yes, I said gassy.

FIVE – Lastly, here are a few churchy things that I would love for folks to check out. An organization that has been fighting for equality and justice for LGBTQ folks in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for decades, The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is searching for a new Executive Director [job posting]. If you didn’t read my blog post from this week, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA is undergoing an intensive process of reflection and would love your feedback on this ONE PAGE SURVEY. And lastly, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area on April 21, 2012, The Pacific School of Religion, where I am an Adjunct Instructor, is holding a very cool event called Sacred Snapshots:

In one day, you can try anything from drumming, to Taize, to Tai Chi, to dance. Try poetry as a spiritual practice, sing gospel or chant mantras, walk a labyrinth. Learn about Buddhist, Sikh, or Hindu meditation. Join Christians for prayer and devotional song. Study the Quran. Experience Shabbat. Immerse yourself in 12-step spirituality or yoga. Develop a shamanic journey practice. As Rumi says: “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Come and find your way.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for joining me this Friday. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you around the interwebs. In the meantime, take a listen to Maddi Jane’s cover of Jar of Hearts.