“Jesus is alive and so is baseball!”

62 Comments

Good Friday. Passover. Opening Day.  All high holy days for people of various persuasions, all going on today or tonight, somewhere.

But beyond a few glib little comments like that, do these things really justify a vigorous comparison?  The people quoted in this Houston Chronicle article on the matter think they do:

Kicking off the Astros’ season on one of the most solemn days of the church calendar may pose a conflict for some from liturgical traditions, but it also could complement Christians’ understandings of the incarnation and the crucifixion, according to Baylor University professorJohn B. White, director of a seminary program for sports chaplains.

“Why couldn’t one attend a Good Friday service and then go to the ballpark and experience the game differently? Even in the midst of the game, there are themes that go with the Christian understanding of life,” said White, referencing the defeat and victory, death and rising again that happens on a different level in sports.

And:

“When you say the Astros’ opening day is on Good Friday, I have to chuckle because I think of all the pain we have gone through as Astros fans,” said Miller, who used to serve at Houston’s Trinity Episcopal Church and moved to a congregation in Hawaii several years ago. “The themes of loss and loyalty, staying true to one’s calling when things seem most dire, hoping for a resurrection: Those are all things we’ve felt.”

These are religious people/scholars talking, and since it’s their religion it’s their right to make any analogies they want.  And even though I’m a stinkin’ agnostic/atheist type I understand that a huge part of Christianity is taking lessons from Christ’s life, death and resurrection and applying them to the challenges we all face.

But isn’t that, I dunno, a bit … extreme?  It’s just sports, man.  I’m probably wrong though, and for discussion purposes, would love to have the Christians help me out with this, because it’s interesting to me.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
Mark Brown/Getty Images
9 Comments

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?