Baseball

Yay, Giants!!!  Mostly I think baseball is the most boring game ever invented, with the possible exception of golf.  But I did enjoy following the World Series, and it feels good to have been rooting for the winning team (for a change!).  I have even become a mild fan of Tim Lincecum, impessed by his utter focus and intensity on the mound.  I am left, however, with two very profound questions.  1) Do you think major league baseball players ever get tired of the game?  I mean, how long can you care about throwing and hitting a little ball?  (I think this possibly may be a gender issue, but am not sure).  And 2) What is with all the spitting?  They spit, on average, every 23 seconds.  At first I thought maybe it’s kind of a power trip, a sign of dominance (or would-be dominance); then I thought maybe it expresses disgust about something, but that doesn’t seem to answer; and lastly I am wondering if it’s a nervous tic, a tension-releaser, like horses chewing on fences – or maybe a weird form of Tourette’s syndrome?  Then again, maybe it’s just that their mothers didn’t teach them proper behavior with bodily fluids?  What do you think?

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11 Responses to Baseball

  1. Jim says:

    You forgot bowling. When a guy chews, saliva increases. It is a sign of manhood to chew something, seeds, gum, tabaccie, or the fat! As for baseball, one never tires of it. When you can’t play anymore watching and remembering the feelings, smells, sounds and sights are good enough. Isn’t it about enough? I don’t think there will be any sports in heaven though. We won’t need that excitement.

  2. Kim says:

    I am not much of a sports fan, unless I have a grandkid playing, but I, too, got a bit involved in this World Series. I had a little trouble , however, rooting against Texas, because in general, I tend to admire all that Texan gumption in life, as opposed to silly San Franciscans. Sorry everybody. But, I like the home team to win as much as anybody else, and I was impressed by Lincecum too.

    As Jim says, with their lips and jaws packed with chew, they have to keep spitting to keep from gagging. I kind of gag from watching them spit!

    As I asked my Jim the other night (after conceding that I understand the thrill of victory and winning and all) after the game, after all the uproar, then what? I mean for the fans. Does it change their lives the next day?

    I just wonder sometimes. It was a fun diversion while it lasted though!

  3. Fr. Thomas says:

    How could you ever get tired of a game like baseball?! Have you ever seen the skit that George Carlin did contrasting baseball and football? Worth it… Watch “Field of Dreams.” Especially James Earl Jones’ great speech near the end of the movie… Through it all there has always been “baseball.” Our latest example was 9/11. Remember President Bush throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series in New York?? It was then that “God Bless America” began to be sung without fail at all baseball games … That does not happen at football games.

    As for spitting, well now that is a Mystery….. Notice that I captialized the “M” in Mystery. Spitting and other related behaviors is just part of the Liturgical rhythm… Wearing hats inside out on top of one’s head to facilitate a rally??? That black beard thing… Yikes!!! And the dog collars that the pitchers wear…. Now that is logical behavior for sure!!

    There is definitely some gender stuff going on!! Bravo for it too. Men being men in a setting that harkens back to the warriors of Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, etc. without apologies…

    The players are not packing their mouths with all that stuff to just calm their nerves. They are conquering…

    There is a lot of Mystery in all of this. American culture’s sacramental theology … By the way. I published 2 blog posts last week on “spitting” that you might be interested in reading. Hmm…

  4. I think the Giants have proven once gain for San Francisco ( and for our whole state for that matter) that in diversity there is strength. There couldn’t BE a more varied group of individuals on that team, and they all pulled together. Look at Lincecum verus Posey, for instance. The free spirit versus the “old soul”. Then there is wiry Ross and laid back Renteria. California was always the land of opportunity—drawing people of all backgrounds with all kinds of needs through history with the same goal of “making it”. That is why we have the diversity we do, and I love it and celebrate it. I think it takes more strength to exist with and make progress with people who are different from us than with people who are just like us.

  5. Fr. Thomas says:

    Karin,

    You say “they all pulled together” and you are right. You admire the picture of strenght in diversity and you are right once again. Truly, the picture is one of strenght in diversity…

    However, I am wondering…. You obviously have something in mind. We as Californians exemplify the same kind of strength in diversity as the Giants ? How are the Giants an example of the same kind of diversity? I don’t follow or agree with the logic.

    It is my conviction that the kind of diversity exemplified by San Francisco and California is of a totally different kind and not so admirable… I will leave it at that…

  6. Commentators have called them “misfits” ever since the pre-series began, and it made me laugh. One blogger here mentioned the “silly” San Franciscans versus the Texas “gumption”. Not sure what she meant by that exactly. Perhaps that is where I need clarification. It seemed to me that statement was an over-generalization as probably was mine. Thanks for calling me on this, Fr. Thomas. I am rather defensive about potrayals of our state as being made up of a bunch of weak weirdos. We have more problems here because of our diversity, but I think it is exciting to live here. I am still looking for a place to be part of the “solution”.

  7. Fr. Thomas says:

    Karin,

    I am not at all sure that Susan would want this to become a political discussion. However, you are making some statements that beg for it to become one.

    Once again, the baseball analogy of “victorous diversity” is not on target. There is one that is on target, namely, the Body of Christ… The beautiful formula of admirable diversity exemplified by the Giants will last only as long as the contracts do… Salaries and money. When the members of this Giants team start playing the way they played for FREE then I will begin to buy that analogy. So much for the altruism for most of the sports scene.

    Now, as to the diversity of San Francisco and California. I speak as an “outsider.” I was not born and raised in San Francisco or California (the “native born” trump card gets played sooner or later in most discussions whether it be CA. or TX. or MN. etc…). I came here from the Bible Belt and a conservative Judeo-Christian upbringing. My frame of reference is not typically Californian.

    It is my personal conviction (and that is all it is) that California is not a place known for attempting to find solutions. It is known in other places for “exclsive inclusivity.” A double standard that ends up not finding a solution but doing something else. I have a hard time articulating what that “something else” is, but it is not the success story of diversity. Diversity is an illusion in California (and many other areas of the country and world, including some conservative strongholds). Once again, what usually passes for diversity is really “exclusive inclusivity” — a kind of desire to have people who represent the “other side” as long as they do not challenge “the powers that be.”

    California is not a “solution” state. It could be if there was a real willingness to embrace authentic diversity. The definition of that kind of diversity would require more space and i have used up too much space spouting off.

  8. Susan says:

    Wow, what a conversation! Thank you all. It’s wonderful.

    I want to weigh in a little on the “diversity” issue. I agree that the Giants are a diverse bunch, probably in more respects than are apparent. They are united by their love of the game, and their desire to win. What impressed me was their team spirit. There was no big star, gathering all the glory around himself. Each one of those men contributed to their success, each was needed, and each celebrated the achievements of the others.

    To me, diversity in itself is no great virtue. Any given group of people is diverse in some way. What is admirable is mutual appreciation and respect, and coming together to achieve something great.

    As I write, I see both spiritual and political applications. Politically, I think the emphasis on “diversity” in and of itself has been divisive. What we need is to come together as Californians, or as Americans, and let that banner make us into a cohesive team.

    Spiritually, the Giants might be a metaphor for a healthy church – a ragtag bunch with varying gifts, who are brought together by their love for God and desire for His Kingdom, and who learn to love each other along the way.

    Gotta get to Fr. Thomas’ blog! And get back to work! I slacked off yesterday, but got to 5,500 words this morning and hope to continue on this afternoon.

  9. Susan says:

    P.S. Thank you, Fr. Thomas – wonderful ponderings on spit. “Men being men, without apology.” And especially “just a part of the liturgical rhythm” in the “American cultural sacrament.” Love it! I really enjoy seeing these connections.

  10. Note: If you are reading me on this blog—you are in the WRONG place! Go turn on the parade! Go GIANTS!

  11. To Fr. Thomas:

    But aren’t we ALL part of the (diverse) body of Christ? I used to be on a team of middle school teachers who TRIED to teach those wild ones), but we loved being considered an interdisciplinary family. We truly pulled together to make that family successful (my BEST teaching years), and they were definitely a diverse group of students every year. Yes, we got paid for what we did, but we were all Christians, too, and believed we owed it to God, to ourselves, and to the children to do our very best. I am discouraged with the extravagant salaries and the resultant shallow loyalites, too. We all long for those days of the true team spirit (I want to see it in thier eyes as they play—maybe I did in that parade?). I hope, though, that perhaps SOME of this good feeling might endure (I know I am an idealist). One can only hope. I just think SF might be bouyed by this win—it is my belief that success in one area might carry over to wanting it in others was well. Historically, sports have been a way to bring hope to the country at bad times. And, boy, does CA need THAT right now! Not sure I have a grasp on “exclusive inclusivity”. Will give it more thought…

    To Susan: I LOVED your entire piece. Inspired, really. thanks.

    To all: I think I’d better get off MY soapbox now and let others take over for a while. I find this very interesting and fun.

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