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.

 

What the Body of Christ Can Learn From Fantasy Sports

Buster Posey – photo by thedigitalstory on Flickr

A few months ago my family and I were out at some pizza joint and there was a baseball game on the TV. Being San Francisco, the Giants were playing someone and up stepped catcher, Buster Posey. Now for those who now me, I am not simply a huge baseball and Oakland Athletics fan, but I dislike the San Francisco Giants something fierce. I know, I know, I live in San Francisco, how can I not support the hometown team? Sport allegiances as in musical tastes, sometimes you just like what you like.

Anyhoo . . .

As Posey stepped up to the plate, my eyes were glued to the screen and I found myself hoping he would rip away. And then without thinking I said to my middle daughter,

Hey honey, Buster Posey is up. He’s on my fantasy baseball team, so I hope he gets a hit.

Without looking up from her plate, she responded,

Dad, please never again say that out loud in public.

Well played young one, well played.

Now I do not want to overstate the fantasy sports metaphor as there are many problems with it, but as I have jumped into fantasy sports this year for the first time, I found myself watching the game differently. For those who have no idea what fantasy sports is, each year fantasy teams are formed from all of the players in the league. Fantasy teams are not just made up of players from the same real life teams, but are an amalgamation of the best players from all of the teams. What this means is that no longer can I solely root for my own favorite team, but I must also hope that players on other teams also do well. What fantasy sports forces you to do, if you want to succeed, is to acknowledge that there are some positives aspects about all of the teams. It might only be one batter or one pitcher, but still, you need them to do well no matter what team they play for . . . yes, even if the team is the dastardly New York Yankees.

I wonder what would happen if we applied this same kind of lens to those things that we church folks so easily demonized every day. The ways we so easily and wholeheartedly dismiss certain types of churches, styles of worship and denominational traditions might my not be so easy to do if we could, not only acknowledge that there are parts of all of these things that meet someone’s need and someone’s spiritual growth, but also hope those aspects do well.  ”Success” in faith, which I believe is about being prophetic, pastoral, priestly and poetic in the world, will only be achieved if we engage in these things together. We will never agree on all aspects of the faith, between or within church families, but are there not a few aspects of faith that we can find pockets of common ground and mutual encouragement?

I think so.


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