Miracle Rockies Downplay Christian Label
Twenty-one wins in twenty-two games. An improbable run to the World Series. One of the hottest streaks to end a season in the history of baseball. And not two pitchers the average fan could even name. Ladies and gents, your Colorado Rockies: a team performing what even an atheist could call a baseball miracle. And "miracle" is an appropriate term for a team that riled the baseball world last year by claiming that filling the dugout with Christian players would grease the skids to greatness. Last year the Rockies went public with the news that the organization was looking for players with "character." And according to team management, "character" means players who have chosen Jesus as their personal Lord and manager. "We're nervous, to be honest with you,"
But as the team makes its miracle run to the series against the Boston Red Sox this year, the
"Do we like players with character? There is absolutely no doubt about that," O'Dowd said in the New York Times today. "If people want to interpret character as a religious-based issue because it appears many times in the Bible, that's their decision. I believe that character is an innate part of developing an organization, and to me, it is nothing more than doing the right thing at the right time when nobody's looking. Nothing more complicated than that. You don't have to be a Christian to make that decision." "There are guys who are religious, sure, but they don't impress it upon anybody," Jewish pitcher Jason Hirsh also stepped forward to say. "It's not like they hung a cross in my locker or anything. They've accepted me for who I am and what I believe in."
Humility and confidence are fine -- indeed, novel -- traits in an athlete. But the troubling part of that statement is the assumption that Christianity by definition brings character to the table. Maybe it's because I live in
But for those of us who believe that freedom of religion also should mean freedom from religion at the ballpark, it doesn't matter if you call it Buddha-Jesus-Jewish-Vishnu-Islamic-Wicca Awareness Day. We just want to go to the ballpark without feeling like we're covertly funding Focus on the Family's gay-retraining programs. Religion and sports: It's a marriage in desperate need of a divorce.
That's why it was hard not to feel a tiny taste of supernatural satisfaction upon learning Tuesday that the team website crashed following what
So who could be the perpetrator of this "external and malicious" attack on the
Dave Zirin writes about sports for The Nation magazine, and is the author of "What's My Name, Fool?" Sports and Resistance in the