Baseball: Bad Sport, Bad Religion, National Security Threat

I greet the spring like characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: with relief, weary gratitude and ebullience. As the month of … Continued

I greet the spring like characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: with relief, weary gratitude and ebullience. As the month of March expires I praise the sky and salute the sun. I smile toothily at forlorn pansies that cross my path.

Yet there is one rite of spring which leaves me decidedly glum. I refer to the start of baseball season. Compounding my despair is the veritable Cult of Baseball that predominates in the newsrooms of America. Question: How do you know it’s Opening Day? Answer: When half the (often secular) pundits nationwide are writing columns about baseball being like religion. Like their religion.

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Why credible opinion makers lack any modicum of objectivity when addressing this subject is beyond me. But it has not escaped my attention that nearly every psalmist of The Diamond lets slip something to the effect of “My dad used to take me to the ballpark.” The infection sets in early.

Baseball may indeed be like religion. But religions, I have been saying all along, are bewildering admixtures of negative and positive attributes. In the name of righting certain journalistic wrongs, allow me a brief departure from the campaign trail to restrict my attention to the former as they pertain to our national pastime.

Let’s start with the basics. The game is slow–a dance of stasis. With the exception of the pitcher and catcher, most of the players on the field scarcely move. In terms of the ground they cover baseball players are not that different from chess pieces, albeit ones that that spit and scratch their unmentionables.

If teamwork is defined as “individuals making sacrifices for their team,” then there is very little teamwork in baseball. Aside from a sacrifice bunt or purposefully sticking one’s head into the path of an oncoming fastball, little in the sport demands that the individual suffer for the greater good. (One wonders what a “Wedge Buster” in the NFL—the concussion-addled chap instructed during kickoffs to hurl himself at top speed into a wall of four very large men who also happen to be running at top speed—would make of baseball’s liberal conception of “sacrifice.”)

The season is pointlessly long, stretching from Grapefruit Leagues of February to the final out of the World Series in November. This has never once prevented a journalist from declaiming on New Year’s Day: “only a few more weeks until pitchers and catchers!”

The ball is actually in play for about three minutes of a tortuous five-hour ordeal. Indeed, few sports do so much to prevent their players from displaying their wares as this one does. Why would an athlete–and I don’t doubt that many baseball players are phenomenal athletes– who is neither a pitcher nor a catcher want to participate in a sport where his talents are activated for about the length of a commercial break?

Perhaps, the tedium accounts for the curiosity that baseball players often consume snacks during the game. Peanuts, sunflower seeds, beer, popcorn, Osso Bucco, Flan–few other sports provide so much time and space for culinary explorations. Which brings us to a major embarrassment: First- and Third-Bases Coaches who are part of the “action”. No strangers to Osso Bucco and beer, these men actually instruct players to do something that most athletes know instinctually: when and when not to run.

One could forgive the game’s allergy to movement and physical exertion. One could ignore that recurring visual trope of the spectacle: the center field camera gazing lovingly on the pitcher’s immobile backside. But the unspeakable truth is that baseball is a threat to homeland security. The sport is still inexplicably popular among the nation’s youth. As such, it becomes something of a feeder program for advanced careers in sloth and obesity.

Compare, if you will, the post-game rituals of seven-year old soccer and baseball players. The footballers are spent. Some are sprawled out like Marmaduke. Others are voraciously inhaling pre-sliced tangerines. The little leaguers, by contrast, are numbed. After an afternoon of standing around in the sun and consuming SlimJims some ponder the possibility of going home to do some exercise.

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Let me conclude by returning to our religious metaphor. It was one of the greatest insights of the sociologist Emile Durkheim to recognize that people don’t usually know the real reasons motivating their thought and action. Baseball, I submit, is the prooftext for this “theory of misrecognition.”

Few games could be duller than this one. Few deserve the devotion of their supporters less than the national pastime. But the quasi-religious awe for the game remains. I submit that this awe is inspired by motivations which agents rarely understand. “My dad used to take me to the ballpark”—therein lies the best explanation I know of for the Cult of Baseball. For that bond is sacred. And for the health of the nation, we can only hope that today’s families forge that bond through different sports.

(For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs)

The God Vote: Clinton, Obama and Benedict

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
April 8, 2008; 8:07 AM ET

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The God Vote


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  • Craig Whitney

    For a man who has written a book subtitled “Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously,” it is mind boggling to read such a myopic and misguided screed against America’s greatest game. While I fully understand that tastes differ and that Mr. Berlinerblau is entitled to prefer football or whatever other sport he prefers, his obvious lack of understanding of the game of baseball and his cheap, Freud-by-way-of-Field-of-Dreams dismissal of its fans completely undermines any merits that that argument might have had in his essay.

  • John Kruk

    First of all, I’m not a professional athlete, I’m a baseball player.

  • Craig Whitney

    For a man who has written a book subtitled “Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously,” it is mind boggling to read such a myopic and misguided screed against America’s greatest game. While I fully understand that tastes differ and that Mr. Berlinerblau is entitled to prefer football or whatever other sport he prefers, his obvious lack of understanding of the game of baseball and his cheap, Freud-by-way-of-Field-of-Dreams dismissal of its fans completely undermines any merits that that argument might have had in his essay.

  • Craig Whitney

    For a man who has written a book subtitled “Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously,” it is mind boggling to read such a myopic and misguided screed against America’s greatest game. While I fully understand that tastes differ and that Mr. Berlinerblau is entitled to prefer football or whatever other sport he prefers, his obvious lack of understanding of the game of baseball and his cheap, Freud-by-way-of-Field-of-Dreams dismissal of its fans completely undermines any merits that that argument might have had in his essay.

  • skeptimal

    Professor Berlinerblau,As a skeptic, I can agree with your concern about separation of church and state. I salute your commentary on the improper role of religion in our government and in the election process.But when you start picking on baseball, you’re dooming yourself to the eternal fires of the hell I don’t believe exists. REPEEEENT! :^)

  • Bert Gregory

    Baseball is a thinking man’s game. Obviously beyond Jacques. The interplay of the hardest task in sport- hitting a round object moving at 90mph with another round object- with the strategy of how to score the elusive winning run is high drama to those that understand the subtleties of the game. The reason the season is so long (other the reality of economics) is to allow the real value of individual performance to contribute to a team concept. A short stretch of abnormally good luck will not decide the outcome of a season as it does in some short season sports.

  • Arminius

    Bert Gregory:Right you are about baseball. The difficulties are incredible. That ball coming toward the batter at 90+ mph – the batter has about 3/5 of a second to look at the stitches on the ball to try to determine what kind of a pitch it is. You are also right about the conditioning. And the skill needed to play MLB is unreachable by most. Look at Michael Jordan, arguably one of the finest basketball players ever. He tried baseball, and was a dismal failure. And another example – a man whose life’s ambition was to be a baseball player. He tried and tried, but could not make it even in the minors. So he went to his other sport – boxing. Rocky Marciano was his name.Arminius

  • Scott Hughes

    The avoidance of dullness is absolutely critical to a well-lived life. I avoid dullness by watching baseball games, not by avoiding them. My baseball watching is limited only by my employment and my marriage, two institutions that conspire to keep baseball lovers otherwise occupied. Is the ball in play for a whole three minutes? The games might be better if there was less hitting, not more. The excitement of baseball is the tension between memorable moments, rather than the moments themself. A 125-110 basketball game has the ball in play more, but might be less memorable than a baseball game that ends with a wild pitch, a home run, or a strikeout. The excitement comes from not knowing when – in that interminable three hourse – the moment will arise. These sports writers say that baseball is like religion because they’re afraid to say the truth: It’s better.

  • A baseball fan, trying to be objective

    Jacques,I recognize that you’re doing the same thing many of us do when we are called on to write on a regular basis – blow off steam by throwing in some humor or sarcasm. I’ve done this myself in my regular columns in newsletters. It just frustrates me that you couldn’t have been a little more tongue-in-cheek with your observations. Instead, it looks as if you’ve promoted your own opinions and biases to truth claims, and that sounds a lot like fundamentalism to me. How do we go about discrediting these type of people when we begin to sound like them ourselves?

  • Natsfan

    Can we deport this guy? He obviously has no understanding of the game. I would rather have the excitement of a baseball game then that of soccer (probably his sport). Why anyone would pay to see that mess is beyond me. The only thing soccer has going for it is that its easy for the poor to play.

  • TJ

    Don’t make me get out TAB (transcendental argument for baseball). Let’s just say that if it weren’t for baseball you wouldn’t even be able to tie your shoes.

  • spiderman2

    Jacques wrote : ” It was one of the greatest insights of the sociologist Emile Durkheim to recognize that people don’t usually know the real reasons motivating their thought and action.”For me it describes the stupidity among atheists/secularists/evolutionists and followers of false religions.Don’t worry Jacques, you are many in this category.****Speaking of stupidity? Here’s one to prove it.Which came first, the chicken or the egg? To make the question easier let’s try another one. Which should come first, 1 or 1 million? Of course it’s 1. Going back to the question of chicken and egg, egg has 1 DNA while chicken has more than a million so the scientific answer to this and to end this puzzle once and for all, the answer is the EGG. What makes evolution stupid is that instead of finding out how the DNA was being formed in that egg, their energies are more focused on HOW WILL THAT CHICKEN TURN INTO A DUCK or to that effect.You can’t build a type of science from a foundation of 1+1=1. That’s possible in fiction writing, but not in science. If you want evolution to continue, put it under the subject of philosophy and not science.And this is what Congress has to do to erase 150 years of stupidity.

  • FunTravelAdventure

    When you go to a baseball game, they always deliver what was promised.Church’s, mosques or synagogues never do. Religion=The world’s biggest scam.

  • Sasquatch

    Ahhh, Jacques, which is more dull, a baseball game or a high Mass? Since you are Jewish, you did not grow up in the cult of Catholicism, so your appreciation of Mass, like your appreciation of baseball, is from the perspective of an outsider.As someone else has written, you are probably a fan of the “beautiful game,” which rivals watching grass grow as an exciting hobby.Now let’s look at more important matters. For starters, how about the morality of the Walsh SFS hiring onto the faculty two former members of the Bush Administration — Doug Feith and George Tenet — who were instrumental in getting this country into an illegal war that has killed tens of thousands of people.Jacques, perhaps your time would be better spent and less wasted if you stopped musing about the dullness of baseball and focusing on the stench that permeates your school.I write this an an alumnus of the College of Arts & Sciences, an alumnus who has told Georgetown that it will get no contributions from me so long as the two unindicted criminals remain on teh faculty of SFS.

  • BGone

    If you think about it baseball and religion go hand in hand like war and religion. True or Hollywood script writers makes no difference. Patton ordering the chaplain to produce a prayer for good weather, battle of the bulge, 1944, is right on target. Baseball, all ball is war. Those with the strongest supernatural being on their side will prevail.And you or no one else can prove it isn’t so.The only reasonable argument I’ve ever heard comes from that hoax buster web site now banned on this blog, and others too no doubt. Humans are not ready for the truth. The more sensible the argument the stronger the rejection.That great sportsbeing Lucifer just loves baseball, all ball, a poor being’s substitute for war. Politics are war, peaceful(?) revolution you know. Where there’s conflict, winners and losers you’ll find Lucifer and other demons from hell just hanging around. Gonna win the game gotta get them on your side.

  • Chris Cody

    The author only thinks of baseball from the point of a spectator- most likely because that is the only relationship he has ever had with the game. I connect to the joys I had playing the game every time I watch it, and the author strikes me as that kid who was always picked last and sat out in right field bored and rationalizing his inferiority.

  • Ray Barcia

    Here is a Britons take…Baseball is the best game ever, followed by Tennis and Soccer…American Football?

  • Andrew

    I take offense to anyone who would criticize the way any father and son, or family, for that matter, might spend an afternoon or evening together; particularly one that is as innocuous as baseball. Baseball is a thinking man’s game with far more subtleties, nuances, possible variations, situations and plays than any other sport. It is not a game that is easily learned. Baseball can be a slow game. That is true. But it is also part of its charm. The length of games is not all that much longer than football and/or basketball these day, which take two to three times as long as the actual amount of time alloted to the game because of all the time outs and endless television breaks. In football, the ball is hardly any more in play than it is in baseball. There are at most 80-100 plays in a football game, each lasting at most, at most, 10 seconds, with the majority only being 3 or 5. Most of the game is spent watching players huddle and then interminably running out the play clock, or worse, running out the clock at the end of a half or game. Watching the clock run down.Baseball does take a tremendous amount of team work. Being supportive of one another is foremost. Knowing where to throw the ball, relays, double plays, covering bases, depending on the various situations. Hitting in various situations; moving runners over, hitting a flyball or a ground ball to the proper side when needed; things which also depend on a skill (hitting the ball in the first place), that few of us will ever master. And also the fact that everyone is contributing to the same goal — to win the game. While football or basketball might seemingly require more “teamwork” There are far many more instances of individual celebrations, showboating, padding of personal stats and selfishness. Why is sacrificing one’s body like a football player more noble than a player sacrifice bunting or hitting a sacrifice fly? In bunting and sacrifice flies, a player is giving up a chance to pad personal stats or being a “star” in a given situation, in effort to set up his teammate batting behind him’s success and improve his team’s chance to score.And finally, the pace and atmosphere of a baseball game actually allows for a father and son, or a family, or friends, or whoever attends a game to hold a conversation. To talk. To bond. To communicate. This is nearly impossible with football, basketball, hockey or soccer. And it’s certainly not happening during any religious service.

  • Friends of Space Ship Earth

    Is there such a thing as “Sports/Wom/Man” Jealousy Psychosis?? And not only “Religion”! Like in praying for a ‘Base-Ball G-D’ or a ‘Hand-Ball G-D’, Soccer G-D or Hockey G-D, Race-Horse G-D etc…Remember: Making-Money is just another Sport.

  • Angela

    Jacques Berlinerblau, if you don’t like baseball; that’s your choice but to waste a whole post on whining about how you feel about it is a waste of space. Alot of people love baseball and it really doesn’t matter what you think about it either. In addition, you should probably stop posting on an OnFaith blog as all you do is murmur and complain.

  • Brian

    I’d love to hear another such thesis against golf, tennis, bowling or any other highly-paid pseudo-sport. Why the hate? Why get your panties all in a bunch? Come on, dude, it’s just a game.

  • Andrew

    This has gotten me a bit riled up. As I’m sure was Mr. Berlinerblau’s intention. A thought as to why baseball verges on religion:Baseball is the only sport in which one might get to witness perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect game in any other sport. In baseball perfection is attainable; and this is why many of the “Gods” in American history have been baseball players. To see a perfect game, or a no hitter, or a hitter go 5 for 5 is unlike anything in any other sport, especially if you have any appreciation of difficult the game is to play. And for whatever reason, there is nothing in sports as awe inspiring as to see a towering homerun in person. It’s even better when it’s hit by your favorite player, when the game is on the line. The notion, the possibility of perfection, is perhaps the game’s greatest appeal. And it’s not unlike worshipping the perfection of God.In no other sport can you enter a stadium, even a brand new one like Nationals Park, and feel a connection to past generations (maybe specifically to The Greatest Genration — the game’s heyday) and to history — American history, as you can in baseball. Yes, our fathers took us to games. And their fathers to them to games. And their fathers to them to games. And whether one finds the sport detestable or not, one cannot judge the significance and beauty of that.

  • Amir

    That was the dumbest column I’ve ever read. One can make arguments galore about the stupidity and uselessness of any sport or, even better, the futility of professional sports altogether (the second one actually holds a lot of water – see Noam Chomsky’s views on the subject). But to waste a whole column on a rant against a particular sport and not even bother to try to make it funny? Come on …Besides, as an avid baseball fan who’s also a relatively intelligent and athletic person, I kind of took offense at the author’s tone.

  • Brambleton

    Jacques,It’s okay if you don’t enjoy watching or playing baseball. Believe me, I know plenty of people who have lived in America their entire lives and don’t find it that interesting either. I get it.But please don’t try and dissect a sport that you obviously know very little about. From your analysis, one would assume that players merely showed up at the park five minutes before a game, picked up a bat, and tried to hit the ball. I guess you just missed the countless hours that ballplayers spend watching tape so they’re not completely guessing when a pitcher is likely to throw a 90mph fastball high and inside.Perhaps you should spend a little less time whining about what you do see, and a lot more time trying to understand what you don’t see. But, alas, that would require time and effort.

  • Mr Mark

    We get it, Jacques – you don’t get baseball.BTW – every time an infielder throws a batted ball to record an out at first base, there’s teamwork involved. I’ve yet to see a shortstop fielding a grounder and running the 120 feet to first to make the out all by himself. Perhaps you need to expand your concept of teamwork? It doesn’t have to include broken or dislocated bones.As far as the game being slow and boring, well, I don’t see it that way. I find basketball to be fast and boring with too many points scored per game. I like World Cup soccer, baseball and hockey, all for different reasons, but I kinda like games where a score of 1 to 0 can win the game. I prefer the slow burn scoring of baseball to the meaningless scoring of basketball where an entire game often comes down to the last milliseconds and Team A beats Team B by a score of 151 to 150. You need to chill out. Spend a few hours looking at the grass and watch the boys play their game. Might I suggest a baseball game?

  • Baseball Fan

    You’re an idiot.

  • Paul Slater

    Clearly standards of education have slipped in religious studies at Georgetown.

  • ed l

    Blasphemer!

  • O’s believer

    Jacques: You’re just bitter ’cause they can’t get your last name on a BB jersey …

  • Pequod

    Spoken just as someone who has only a superficial knowledge of the game would speak. Thanks for your shallow analysis. Berlinerblau wrote that the only evidence of teamwork in baseball is the sacrifice bunt. What about hitting behind the runner to advance him? What about a swinging strike on a steal attempt? What about throwing to the cut-off man on a play at the plate? What about a rolling slide at second to break up a double play? What about pitch outs? What about giving yourself up in a rundown to allow the trailing baserunner a chance to advance? I suggest that Berlinerblau doesn’t have a clue what half these things are. The beauty of baseball is that it is a game that requires team effort as well as affording a stage for individual performance, but to understand that teamwork, you have to understand the game on a level a little deeper than the one you got by walking past the TV set. Berlinerblau complains about the small amount of time the baseball is actually in play in a game. If it’s that kind of action you want, go take a roll of quarters to a pinball arcade. The ball is always in play, B’blau.Finally, my dad took me a lot of places and that included package stores. Fulton County Stadium was another place he took me, and there he taught me a deeper understanding of the game and an appreciation for teamwork. I have no great desire to hang around package stores, but I do enjoy returning to the ballpark to partake of the ritual and teamwork of baseball. Baseball is tied up intimately with my memories of my father — and those memories include teamwork. Richard Lampe

  • BGone

    Now that you have the sports fans opinion about your opinion of baseball maybe you could give us your opinion on javelin throwing. Ever hear the expression, “nice catch?”

  • George in Alaska

    Jacques wrote : ” It was one of the greatest insights of the sociologist Emile Durkheim to recognize that people don’t usually know the real reasons motivating their thought and action.”Based on your own quote above, you obviously do no know why you wrote this post, which explains the pointlessness of it. If you, Jacques, are French, though your last name sound decidedly German, then you are familiar with rugby, though I cannot see you on the pitch enjoying YOUR own national pastime. No doubt, you’re a little too pristine for such a game. As for baseball, no, it does not require some of the outright athletic ability that other sports do, but then the number of “athletes” who played another sport AND baseball successfully at the pro level is amazingly low. In recent years, only 2 names come to mind – Bo Jackson and Dion Sanders – both of whom played football, by the way. Having a great uncle in the Hall of Fame, I would not expect you to appreciate what it takes to accomplish such a feat, for it is the capstone to a life’s work, not just a few years of work. You, on the other hand, will come and go, your name “prestigiously” on some books, articles, etc. But when your career is over, who remembers. I guess that’s what separates those who accomplish something at the highest level, in this case in baseball, and dime a dozen Joes like you. You think too much – try picking up a bat and ball, go to a local batting cage and see what an 80-90 mile an hour pitch looks like and if you can even swing at it. Or do us a favor and try to kiss one.

  • L’Enfant Terrible

    Your column shows one way in which baseball is like Judaism: many who don’t understand it seem unable to stop at disinterest, instead proceeding headlong into attacking it.

  • Mr Mark

    One thing should be clear to Jacques from this column: it’s more acceptable to attack religion than baseball in the USA!

  • L’Enfant Terrible

    I almost forgot one of the best baseball quotes of all time, which might clear things up a bit:”A man. A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone, but in the field, what? Part of a team. Looks, throws, catches, hustles, part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day — Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field, what is he? You follow me? No one! Sunny day, the stands are full of fans, what does he have to say? ‘I’m going out there for myself, but I get nowhere unless the team wins.’” Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!

  • Mitch

    Religion serves the purpose of letting people FANTASIZE there is something beyond this world. And maybe there is but NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN, HEARD OR PROVEN anything. period. Not interpretation. Not ‘nature’. Not some ‘spiritual leader including Billy Graham AND/OR The Dalai Lama (who is VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED to homosexuality). NO ONE HAS EVER SPOKEN, COMMUNICATED, PROVEN THERE IS ANYONE OR ANYTHING THAT QUALIFIES as a Dog…

  • candide

    Baseball, like all sports, is a device for preventing male bonding. Bonding around sports talk guarantees superficiality and vacuity.

  • Athena

    Sorry about the double post. I got distracted.

  • Eric C

    People hate what they don’t understand.Berlinerblau is just as qualified to write an article critiquing baseball as I am to write a thesis paper on religious rhetoric in the election.Please, please, please just stick with what you know.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Jacques,The only relevant comment in your long commentary about how you did not make your Little League team was the lack of exercise in baseball. This is easily corrected by doing wind sprints to your position and doing pushups between pitches.

  • dw

    I have always loved baseball and feel it is the sport for intelligent people while football is for the dummies. (of course I love football too, so what do I know.)

  • J.D.

    Obviously Jacques Berlinerblau never saw that great film, “Bull Durham”:”I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. (…) It’s a long season and you gotta trust. I’ve tried ‘em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.” (from Susan Sarandon’s opening monologue)Or, there’s simply Wes Westrum: “Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand.”I’d also recommend the Post’s own Thomas Boswell’s column (even though it’s 20 years old now) “99 Reasons Why Baseball is Better than Football.”

  • Patrick O’Donnell

    Dear Sir, Your anti-baseball column is the equivalent of the Dutch cartoons of Muhammad – designed to incite fear, loathing and violence. You will have to take full responsibility if angry crowds of avid baseball fans attack and burn Washington Post newsstands as they justifiably would do tomorrow were it not for the Nationals second home game. Who knows what unresolved anger issues led to your inflammatory screed? Perhaps a Little League pitcher buzzed you high and tight with some 50 mph gas and you still have flashbacks. Perhaps you froze up and missed that “can of corn” fly ball to right field that lost the game. Whatever the reason, one would have hoped an editor had exercised some adult supervision before you unfairly and gratuitously antagonized an entire people whose culture and nicknames you don’t understand. Why if I didn’t have a hot dog, some cheese covered tortilla chips, a bag of peanuts and a soft pretzel in my lap and a full 2 quart size beer cup in my hand, I have half a mind to log off your website and concentrate entirely on my copy of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Count yourself lucky rook!Sincerly, Patrick “Beer Can” O’Donnell

  • Arminius

    JD, your advice was,And I took it. THANK YOU!!! Grinning and laughing the whole time. Saved on disk. Arminius

  • Garyd

    As fine a demonstration of ignorance as any you have yet produced Mr. Berlinerblau. You have obviously never watched more than 2 minutes of baseball in you entirely useless life.No team work obviously you’ve never seen a double play turned or a sacrifice laid down to advance a runner into scoring position.What you don’t know about baseball and most other things would and has filled dozens of books. I suggest you read some of them.

  • Garrett

    “Entirely useless life”?Wow. I think the Post should start requiring picture ID with all posted comments. It might give cause for those frustrated among us to think before opening our entirely useless mouths … or keypads, or whatever. I would bet most of the insults hurled in these forums would never be uttered in polite company and if not for the anonymity the Internet affords.Baseball is boring, well to me anyway. But I like soccer so screw all of you, Internet world.

  • Garrett

    “Entirely useless life”?Wow. I think the Post should start requiring picture ID with all posted comments. It might give cause for those frustrated among us to think before opening our entirely useless mouths … or keypads, or whatever. I would bet most of the insults hurled in these forums would never be uttered in polite company and if not for the anonymity the Internet affords.Baseball is boring, well to me anyway. But I like soccer so screw all of you, Internet world.

  • Menke

    What position did Jesus play?I think Jesus is a second baseman. And that’s a double play combination to rival Tinkers to Evers to Chance: “The Father, to the Son, to the Holy Ghost”.Amen.

  • Garyd

    I have said worse things to people face. You sir are dreaming. You do know what photo shop is? That’s why the average internet date looks nothing like the photo you get via emailed.There are few people in my life from whom I have not learned at least a few things. Mr. Berlinerblau has only informed me of two. One of which is that he is an ignoramus concerning both religion and baseball and the other is that if he leaned any further left he’d have to roll rather than walk.

  • J.D.

    Arminius,Happy to share. Thomas Boswell is the sportswriter’s sportswriter, in my opinion.(Oh, and just for the record, I like soccer/football, too. I’m a man for all seasons: baseball season, football season, basketball season, soccer, hockey, etc. etc.)”Whoever would understand the hearts and minds of America had best learn baseball.” — Jacques Barzun

  • Russ

    Sadly growing up I never played baseball on a team. My son on the other hand is some what of a natural at 9 and plays on a travel team.Watching him playing and practice I’ve never seen a sport that has more team work. The beauty of baseball is a great team makes it LOOK like there’s no team work going and the likes the author and others who don’t really follow the game can go and write blogs about it. A great baseball team is like a well oiled machine and every play has a purpose and a strategy. The base coaches are there to help move the managers strategy forward not to just tell the players when to run or not. Also sir, have you ever seen a baseball practice? It is very intense so that when the time comes in the game they can make that sprinting diving catch on the fence or beat the throw to first. Last I checked very few baseball games go “5 hours” but all football games go at least 3 and they stop for 2 – 5 minutes between every play and I’ve never seen a baseball player that qualifies as obese but just about every lineman in the NFL is a heart attack waiting to happen!

  • Arminius

    What a pity Jacques has not the interest – or the courage – to read our replies and reply to them, the way Susan Jacoby does. Apparently all he is intereste in is stirring up a hornet’s nest. Well, he did it, and I am proud to be a hornet.Arminius

  • _kt_

    No one gets beaten up by rampaging baseball fans.

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Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

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My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

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Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

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The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

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Why I Want to Be Culturally Evangelical

I’ve lost my faith. Do I have to lose my heritage, too?

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What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

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An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

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Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

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Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

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Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

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“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

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Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

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From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

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Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

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God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

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The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

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Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.