The theology of baseball | Angelus news


Chris Taylor’s ninth inning game, winning the home run in the wild card playoff game between the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals, may not go on the same level in the annals of Dodger lore as the 1988 Kirk Gibson home run , but it is close to second.

My son and I were lucky enough to watch the game. It turned out to be a memorable event not only for what happened on the field, but also for what happened in the stands during the game.

Attending baseball games or any other sporting event isn’t as fun as it used to be. The same can be said of flying in a plane or going to the market. People are angry. There is an excess of worry, worry and despair and it has torn the collective nerves of civil society.

In addition to economic and global concerns about peace and stability, a pandemic has spawned a crisis that is deeper than the sum of its RNA that turns families against one another and neighbors against neighbors.

Baseball used to be a haven from the world’s problems. Not a cure, but an opportunity to give distracting importance to something we understand deeply in our brains and hearts was not particularly critical to the continued existence of Western civilization. But even baseball is not yet fully vaccinated against the external evils of our culture.

We stopped going to Dodger Stadium when my kids were kids because the crowd had become so wild, profane, and even dangerous. After witnessing a number of violent fights even in the “good” places, we decided that enough was enough. Fortunately, things have improved over time and we have returned.

My now grown children love the Dodgers and go to games when they can, as do my wife and I. On lazy summer evenings, the dodger game will be on our television without exception.

So it was a very special day when we dropped two tickets to the wild card game between the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals. I thought it was a great game. It was, but for a reason that had little to do with what happened between the foul lines, great as that may have been.

My children only knew one grandfather, my own father died years before I met their mother. My father-in-law, God let his soul rest, was a man of calm integrity and decency who knew a thing or two about how to conjugate the word “love”. My kids definitely loved him, and his love for baseball was passed on to them in the process.

But my father-in-law wasn’t perfect. He had a very profound and difficult to reconcile flaw: he was a fan of the San Francisco Giants.

I hit .667 when it comes to protecting my kids from becoming Giants fans. One son who is the only person in our family who doesn’t care about baseball has Giants roots. I am convinced that he is doing this, firstly, to mess with his siblings, and secondly, as an act of solidarity with his beloved grandfather.

One of the many good and even sacred things my father-in-law left his grandchildren was how to treat people with kindness and dignity. He did this every baseball game we went to with him. He might be wearing Giants gear, but he started talking to Dodger fans and before the third inning was over he had friends everywhere.

My son and I sat next to two Cardinals fans during the Wild Card Game. We teased her about her “inappropriate clothing” and before the first game we talked about our mutual love for the game and how she linked her to our fathers and, in the case of my son and me, a grandfather and father-in-law.

We didn’t get their names or our names, but it put into a wonderful perspective a very tense game that could have had a lot more “meaning” than it deserved. Like his grandfather before him, my son was kind and respectful to a stranger. From his grandfather he had learned one of the great Christian commandments: to be kind and respectful.

When the game ended so high for us and so low for our neighbors on the neighboring courts, both my son and I were melancholy. On the drive home, my son mentioned that this incredibly exciting game was so different from anything he had ever experienced, mainly because of the connection we had with these strangers and the mutual joy we had over this brief break from it all what is outside the boundaries of Chavez Gorge.

His grandfather would have smiled and winked at him.


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