My posts seem to come in bunches. I am not the guy who steps up to the plate ready or not and produces consistently good contributions regularly, say, twice, or even, once a week. So, here I am again back after some six weeks ready to take some swings and produce a hit or two. I think I am up for a bunch of posts in the next few weeks.
The Chicago Cubs are looking good in the playoffs. God may have to forgive my thinking here, but it seems to me that a well-played baseball game is an apt metaphor for the discipline needed to live a good Christian life. Could this be the reason baseball, or any sport for that matter, has fanatical fans who follow their teams religiously?
We erect statues of the gods of baseball and place them in or alongside stadiums we call “shrines.” An errant contact between ball and bat is “foul,” outside the lines, just as sin is foul and out of line. The bases are safe places and where the batter stands at the plate is home, just like a church building can be home and the benches are safe places. Happiness pours down like grace if the home team snatches a victory.
Lots of people are followers of a particular team but not really fans. The fanatics think of nothing but baseball, for example, during its season. While the boys of summer play, a fanatic lives or dies with the final score. I knew a man in his sixties who would get physically sick enough to go to bed if the Cubs lost a game, any game.
Fanatics are those who will now pay any price for a seat in Wrigley Field, the shrine at which they worship in the play offs. $20,000 for a grandstand seat would not be unthinkable. The last time the cubs won a world series was in 1908. No one is living who ever saw the Cubbies win a world series.
I know a dog named “Wrigley,” a cat named “Addison”and a parakeet called “Cubby Blue.” Fans erect flag poles in their yards, not to fly “Old Glory” but a huge blue “W” when the cubs win. I have been asked many times, and always privately: “Father, say a prayer for the Cubs!”
Yes, sacred ritual (The visitors always bat first, then the home team bats) and anthems (“Oh, say can you see….”) are played out in the play-offs, just as they are in every other game d”uring the regular year.
Today, I was passing a large Catholic Church in a prosperous Chicago suburb. Its marquee read “HAVE FAITH!” and under that imperative were the following holy words: “Go Cubs!”