Scott has a wonderful plan for your life

microphone sml 01Time for another rimshot here at GetReligion.

Earlier this year, inspired by a laugh-out-loud correction in Newsweek, I wrote what I hoped was a funny column for Scripps Howard asking why so many newsrooms seem to be a few tacos short of a combination platter when it comes to getting basic religion facts right. Then people started sending me other corrections that were just as funny and that led to a second column — built on the now-infamous “crow’s ear” mistake in the International Herald Tribune coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Well, I can sort of understand someone hearing “a salt ministry” and, if they were inclined to a somewhat negative view of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, hearing “assault ministry.” After all, evangelicals often speak in their own code language and expect outsiders to understand what they are saying. And I can imagine, maybe, someone hearing “crosier” and thinking that they heard “crow’s ear” (although I find it hard to understand that happening with a veteran New York Times reporter who is sent to cover one of the biggest religion events of the decade).

But I’m having trouble understanding what happened with the following puzzler from the Los Angeles Times. The story is about ace pitcher Luke Hochevar of the University of Tennessee (which is, let’s face it, in Bible Belt territory) and his professional agent, Scott Boras. Here is the original passage in the story:

Being selected No. 1 overall affirmed that his decision to shun the Dodgers had been the right move, Hochevar said.

“Scott had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked,” Hochevar said. “It was tough through it — you go through it and you fight it — but when it all comes down to it, Scott has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case.”

Now, for the record, here is the correction:

An article in Sports on June 7 quoted pitcher Luke Hochevar, drafted by the Kansas City Royals, as referring to “Scott” — Scott Boras, his agent — when in fact he used the word “God.” Here is the correct quote: “God had a plan in this, and his master plan definitely worked. It was tough through it — you go through it and you fight it — but when it all comes down to it, God has a plan for you, and he definitely worked a miracle in my case.”

For starters, I’m not sure how anyone would hear the word “God,” which is a fairly common word in mainstream American life, and think they heard “Scott.”

But let’s not linger over that. It does appear that the most powerful newspaper on the left coast has a shortage of copy editors who have ever been anywhere near a chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ or any evangelical church youth group in which people learned what millions and millions of people around the world know as the “Four Spiritual Laws.”

After all, spiritual law No. 1 says: “God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.”

Diversity, folks. Newsrooms need diversity.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • metapundit

    Actually, as a baseball fan I could see hearing “God” and thinking “Scott Boras”. Would have made more since if he’d said “the devil” though…

  • Dan Crawford

    Maybe the reporter is hard of hearing. Religion reporters,apparently, are susceptible to the problem.

  • A S Hodel

    Actually, I had this happen to me in reverse. I was walking off stage at church in Madison AL and the preacher (tongue in cheek) said that he was mad at “Scott.” I thought he said he was mad at God (and I’ll stop the story there …)

  • Michael

    I’m not sure even a Campus Crusader would have caught this one, given the fact that (a) athletes often says inarticulate things and (b) athletes love to mix metaphors. It’s easy to see that even the most “Jesus is my personal Lord, and Savior” copy editor could have thought this is what the guy said.

  • Radio 45.

    Thanks for a grea laugh. I don’t know. If I was the copy editor, I think I just might have called for verification.. ” Are you SURE that’s what he said?” Anyway, surely the funniest thing I read all week.

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  • Stephen A.

    I have to concur with Michael on this one. Since the player’s agent was named “Scott,” attributing a “miracle” and a “master plan” to his successful career thus far may not have been too big of a stretch to assume that’s what he was saying. The phrase works both ways.

    And in the context of his #1 pick, perhaps he did indeed work a miracle, of sorts (the agent, that is.)

  • Dr.Dawg

    Great Scott! Thanks for the laugh.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    And of all sports agents, Boras is the one whose name would raise the fewest eyebrows in that context. Heck, it’s even possible that a really sophisticated jock might have been making a joke, playing off “Scott” and “God.”

  • Jay Anderson

    Just ask the Texas Rangers whether Scott Boras has a “plan” for all his clients’ lives.

  • Deborah

    I think Neuhaus’s point (linked to in Terry’s column) about journalists’ mishandling of religion being tied more to ignorance than bias or malice is dead-on. The educational system is now scared to death of teaching anything related to religion, even (and sometimes especially) at the college level. The result is a level of ignorance of all things related to Christian influence on Western history and culture that is just staggering.

    I once had an English professor confess, in hushed tones, that she thought it would be good to introduce a “Bible as Literature” class into the curriculum. (Someone had asked what antediluvian meant.) But she was whispering because we were three doors down from the English Department office. And she was tenured!

  • Stephen A.

    “A really sophisticated jock”?

    Does such a thing exist?

  • Bartholomew

    Could have been worse:

    …a young reporter on the Guardian went to interview a black woman entertainer who had been adopted by the Conservative Party as a European parliamentary candidate. She was reported in the paper as saying, “Now is the time to support apartheid.” This remarkable statement passed through all the Guardian’s checks unchallenged. What she actually said was, “Now is the time to support a party” – namely, the Conservative Party.

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