Salon Asks, “What Would Jesus Colome Do?”

Posted in Religion at 11:43 pm by

So, I’m pretty much piggy-backing on Gerard’s catch about the Colorado Rockies, but in reading about the Rox’ clubhouse-wide dedication to The Deity, I was reminded of a long piece that ran at Salon.com several weeks ago. I didn’t post about it because I usually only post on developments involving a possible new Mets stadium or how bad the Royals are. And also because Salon’s articles are sometimes hidden behind a premium subscription wall. If you’re a subscriber, you can read it. If not, you can watch a commercial in exchange for seeing a picture of George Wrighster and Kyle Brady praying together (that’s a plurality of Jacksonville’s tight ends!) and what I found to be a fairly interesting overview of clubhouse evangelicals. Turns out they’re rather conservative Christians. I was also shocked. Tom Krattenmaker reports:

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which claims the Bible is “the only infallible, authoritative Word of God,” strives to “see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.” Similarly, (Athletes In Action) states that it “exists to boldly proclaim the love and truth of Jesus Christ to those uniquely impacted by sport.” Houston Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg (above), who has worked with AIA, put it succinctly in an interview with Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. “The entire reason that I play baseball is so that I get a chance to speak about Christ,” he said.

To promoters of sports-world Christianity, faith is a wholesome force that helps players curb the worst temptations in pro sports — violence and greed, for starters. Chaplains of pro sports teams say their role is to offer prayer services and spiritual counseling to religious players, whose demanding schedules often prevent them from attending church. Today, by most estimates, anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of players on a team, sometimes more, participate in Christian Bible studies and prayer services held by team chaplains, a percentage that mirrors Americans who attend church weekly.

But the Christianizing of sports comes at a scarcely examined cost, both to fans who would prefer watching the game without a dose of in-your-face religion and, in the view of some critics, to religion itself. The problem is that the sports-world faith movement isn’t only bringing religion to professional locker rooms but a potentially divisive brand of conservative Christianity, replete with a worldview shaped by an intolerance of gays and lesbians, women’s rights and other religions.

There’s more, including the inevitable quote from Etan “More Than An Athlete” Thomas, and the slightly less-inevitable quote from wild Samoan Esera Tuaolo (above) :

“I went to a Bible study, and, lo and behold, it was about homosexuality,” recalls Tuaolo, who came out as a gay man after his retirement. “I was thinking, ‘Is this a sign?’ That was what really turned me off.”

The choicest bits, though, come from a former NFL journeyman named Anthony Prior, who went on to write a book entitled The Slave Side of Sunday.

“How can you say Jesus helped you score that touchdown when the player you beat believes in Jesus too?” asks Prior. “You’ve embarrassed him in front of his fans. God answers your prayer and not his?

In training camp, Prior adds, some marginal players vying for roster spots carry around their Bibles and attend religious services to impress management. If they’re still on the roster after the final cuts, “then their Bible is nowhere to be found,” Prior says. “Until they get injured, of course, and then the Bible is back in your hand.”

Cubs Acquire Nevin

Posted in Baseball at 9:04 pm by

The Human Trade Rumor, 1B Phil Nevin (above, right), is taking his .216 batting average to Wrigley. Texas traded Nevin to the Cubs Wednesday in exchange for Jerry Hairston Jr.

For Chicago, desperately seeking a way of replacing Derrek Lee’s production, there’s little to lose, particularly as the Rangers are picking up the lion’s share of Nevin’s salary. But even a lion would’ve known better than to have signed Chan Ho Park and A-Rod to those massive deals, so perhaps such a statement is grossly unfair to one of the animal kingdom’s most beautiful specimens.

The offensively challenged Cubs have continued to struggle tonight, managing just a pair of Juan Pierre singles against the Reds’ Eric Milton, as Cincinnati leads, 3-0 through 7 innings. Ken Griffey Jr.(above, rubbing noses with Ryan Dunn) has a pair of RBI’s, one of them coming on a solo HR off Carlos Zambrano in the 6th. Zambrano can commiserate with Pedro Martinez (and Brandon Webb) on the lack of run support they’ve received tonight, though hopefully Carlos won’t insist he was the winning pitcher if the Reds lose the game.

The Miz, RIP

Posted in Billiards at 6:00 pm by

Four-time US Open billiards champion Steve Mizerak has passed away at the age of 61.

Van Hammersly was unavailable for comment.

Praise The Lord And Pass The Coors Light

Posted in Baseball, Religion at 4:04 pm by

(Choo Freeman, Matt Holiday, Jamiy Carroll and Todd Helton show their disappointment upon viewing the long-awaited “Frantix Story” DVD)

Well, at least I know I’m not hearing things. The Colorado Rockies, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, have an agenda of some sort or another.

No copies of Playboy or Penthouse are in the clubhouse of baseball’s Colorado Rockies. There’s not even a Maxim. The only reading materials are daily newspapers, sports and car magazines and the Bible.

Music filled with obscenities, wildly popular with youth today and in many other clubhouses, is not played. A player will curse occasionally but usually in hushed tones. Quotes from Scripture are posted in the weight room. Chapel service is packed on Sundays. Prayer and fellowship groups each Tuesday are well-attended. It’s not unusual for the front office executives to pray together.

On the field, the Rockies are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons and only the second time in their 14-year history. Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity ” open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.

From ownership on down, it’s an approach the Rockies are proud of ” and something they are wary about publicizing. “We’re nervous, to be honest with you,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd says. “It’s the first time we ever talked about these issues publicly. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone because of our beliefs.”

What could possibly be offensive about describing your workforce as “all good Christians?” Unless, of course, you’re pretty confident that you’re doing business in a part of the world where non-Christians don’t exist.

If Simon Jordan Is The Mark Cuban Of The Football League…

Posted in Football at 3:16 pm by

…Charlton had better hope that doesn’t make Iain Dowie their Don Nelson. From the Guardian’s Andrew Fifield.

(please no comments like “Jordan and Dowie in happier times. How happy could one be having to listen to the guy on the left?)

Iain Dowie’s unveiling Tuesday as the head coach of Charlton Athletic descended into farce when he was served with a high court writ by his former employers Crystal Palace for allegedly misrepresenting the reasons for his departure from Selhurst Park.

Dowie had completed 20 minutes of his inaugural press conference at the Valley when he was interrupted by a bailiff representing Fladgate Fielder, the London-based law firm acting on behalf of Palace and their outspoken chairman Simon Jordan. The bailiff tried to serve him with legal documents and was initially prevented from doing so but succeeded later in the afternoon.

Jordan had jokingly said he would “not be very happy” if Dowie subsequently decided to join Palace’s local rivals, but his worst fears were realised yesterday when the 41-year-old signed a three-year contract to take over from Alan Curbishley and also suggested that he was ready to relocate to south London.

Palace’s claim for damages centres on a series of private conversations between Jordan and Dowie just prior to his departure on May 22. Jordan alleged that Dowie lied about his reasons for wanting to end his contract and that Palace consequently waived a £1m compensation settlement which would have applied had he resigned to take over at another club.

“The level of deceit that is being used needs to be in the public domain,” Jordan said. “The sole reason Iain Dowie was released from his contract was because he wanted to go to the north and I was empathetic to the fact that he didn’t see his boys. He also specifically told me that he wasn’t going to Charlton because of his relationship with Palace and the credibility he would lose by doing so.”

Baird Fired, Delicious Frozen Desert Innovator Expired

Posted in Baseball, Food at 3:04 pm by

It’s not that Kansas City’s Allard Baird didn’t have a job for life. But who knew that the lifespan in question would be that of Mister Softee inventor James Conway, Sr.?

From the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton.

The Royals fired general manager Allard Baird this morning in anticipation of announcing the hiring of Atlanta assistant Dayton Moore as his replacement.

The club declined official comment regarding the moves, but Baird confirmed he had been fired.

œI was told this morning, he said. œBeyond that, I don™t have anything to say.

Sources say Moore is getting a five-year contract and complete control over baseball operations in a commitment to turn around a franchise that has lost 100 or more games in three of the last four seasons.

Moore, 39, is expected to take control, officially, next week upon completion of baseball™s two-day draft. Sources said assistant general manager Muzzy Jackson will replace Baird on an interim basis.

Almost on cue, the Royals are blowing a chance to Win One For Muzzy. Scott Elarton allowed a first inning 2-run HR to Oakland’s Frank Thomas, and the A’s lead, 2-0.

Because Man (And Woman) Cannot Live By Old “Sportscenter” Ads & Slam Dunk Footage

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 2:25 pm by

Void, at the Wilson Center, July 1, 1983. Thanks to Jesper for the link.