John Hamilton of the Texas Rangers was in the Home Run Derby tonight. He needed 8 home runs in round one to advance to the next round.
He cranked out 28.
In the first round.
13 in a row at one point.
(The previous record was Bobby Abreu‘s 24 first round homers in 2005.)
At the end of that first round, Lance Berkman and Justin Morneau were tied for second place. With 8 home runs each.
Hamilton has a history of drug use — heroin and cocaine — which he has since stopped doing.
He’s also a Christian:
… on this particular night, a little boy of about 9 or 10, wearing a Reds cap, handed me a pen and something to sign. Nothing unusual there, but as I was writing the boy said, “Josh, you’re my savior.”
This stopped me. I looked at him and said, “Well, thank you. Do you know who my savior is?”
He thought for a minute. I could see the gears turning. Finally, he smiled and blurted out, “Jesus Christ.” He said it like he’d just come up with the answer to a test. “That’s exactly right,” I said.
So when Hamilton was ripping off home runs tonight, ESPN announcers were talking about his past. They mentioned how he was a crack addict and how he “found God” and turned his life around.
When Hamilton was being interviewed after his performance, he thanked God for helping him turn his life around.
At one point, announcer Rick Reilly said this:
“It’s a lousy night to be an atheist.”
Is that offensive? For me, not really. Reilly was referencing Hamilton’s faith and needed something that was the opposite of Christianity to make the phrase work. He wasn’t critiquing or criticizing atheism or purposely trying to malign atheists.
But a lot of people are starting to talk about this comment… and making a bigger deal of it than I think the phrase deserves.
Then again… if an openly atheist player had the same first round success and a commenter said, “It’s a lousy night to be a Christian,” Bill Donohue and James Dobson would be calling for his head.
By the way, since scores are reset after the first two rounds, Hamilton made it to the final round but ended up losing to Morneau.
[tags]atheism, Home Run Derby[/tags]