Author Topic: "An Athiest at the Home Run Derby" - from the WaPost  (Read 3723 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 14658
  • babble on
An Atheist at the Home Run Derby
I have always wondered at the intersection between baseball and religion. Many players point up to the heavens when they hit a home run, thank god in their post-game interview or wear a religious icon around their necks - not to mention the pre-game prayer meetings that some teams hold. I have always thought it odd that these guys think that God cares about their batting average. But then I don't believe in God, although I do believe in baseball.

My favorite part of the game is the fact that there is always hope, there is always the possibility of a comeback (no matter how many runs down your team is) or a player who has been an "ofer" (as in 0 for 5 times at the plate) might be the walk off home run hitter, might be redeemed.

The story I heard during this year's Home Run Derby (yes, I like baseball enough to watch that!) was definitely one of redemption: a kid who almost ruined his career, not to mention his life, with drugs and alcohol is now the home run king. His career is back on track, his family is reunited at his side, his teammates love him and the public adores him.

Josh Hamilton's young life story is a great one - complete with a horrible fall and a rise to glory. I enjoyed hearing it (although the ESPN announcers told it a few too many times...but then they had a lot of air time to fill during the Home Run Derby, and let's face it the Derby is nothing but hype, pageantry and show - which is why I like it even though I am not a home-run lover but rather I prefer good pitching match-up) and I cheered for him to win the Derby. He did not, however, even though he hit more home runs in the 10 outs given than any other player has. I cheered, that is until one of the ESPN announcers put a damper on my evening.

Every time Mr. Hamilton was interviewed by the pretty blond lady on the field or one of the aging ballplayers turned announcers, he mentioned God, he praised Jesus, he was humble and thankful for all that had been given to him by heaven above. I have no problem with that. Even though I don't think that his comeback is because of anyone other than himself, a great human tale of someone who pulled himself up by his cleat laces, reversed some of his truly terrible decisions, and turned his life around through clean living, hard work and self respect. If he thinks that God, or his belief in a god or gods, had something to do with his new direction that is fine with me. I am not one of the atheists who feels that need to debunk others beliefs. But I am an atheist, so when one of the guys in the booth commented on the amazing streak of home runs that Hamilton hit out to the upper decks or onto the black part of the bleachers at Yankee Stadium I saw no reason why he would have to disrespect me as a non-believer. The announcer said, as the 20th or so ball sailed out of the park, "well, it looks like it is a lousy night to be an atheist!"

"Lousy night to be an atheist?" I gasped. I had no idea why he would even be saying that. Then the other announcer, the bald guy, or the guy with the beard, said something about Hamilton's faith and how his story is so great and how he helps kids by talking to them about staying away from drugs. Ah, yes, I thought, the announcer-guy (and after hours of listening to them they all start to sound the same) thinks that because Hamilton is religious he is succeeding. So he figures, God is thumbing his nose at those of us who don't believe. I guess the other guys who participated in the home run derby were non-believers, since they did not hit near the 28 that Hamilton did in that first round. But then, maybe Justin Morneau is actually more of a Christian, since he ultimately won the Derby in the 3rd round by hitting 6 home runs to Hamilton's 3. And just imagine if Mr. Ex-Ballplayer turned ESPN sportscaster had said "well, tonight is a lousy night to be a Christian" when that result was announced.

Of course, any supposition that God favors one ball player over another, or that God had anything to do with the out come of the Home Run Derby or any other sporting event is pretty ridiculous. And I know that believers of all stripes will say that I have missed the point of the kind of faith shown by Mr. Hamilton or by the other ball players who thank God for their talent and success.

In truth the Monday night of the Home Run Derby was a great night to be an atheist. Here was a true story of the human spirit rising above adversity, here was a human success story, a tale of a person who came back from the ashes. Those are just the kinds of stories that make me happy to be an atheist, that confirm my feelings that we are responsible for our actions and directions in this life, and that we ultimately must judge ourselves and take the best path we can forge. Belief can be part of that journey, but we (as individuals) are the ones to choose to hold that belief, or not.

The truth is that night was a great night to be a baseball fan, as is every night of the baseball season. Because win or lose, home run-fest or low-scoring pitchers duel, baseball is a great game. There is nothing better that a warm summer breeze, a cold drink and a game on. So Mr. Guy in the booth with the microphone, next time hold your derisive comments and celebrate the true meaning of the All Star break, and in fact baseball itself - humanity, humility, hope...and the well hit ball.


Offline BBQ

  • Posts: 1973
  • Not Werth it.
too long for me to read got a summary lol? thanks anyway...

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6033
too long for me to read got a summary lol? thanks anyway...

This explains so much

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6033
Either people havent woken up yet or heads are about to explode from internet posting restraint or they are working on 8 page essays to post

Offline Mathguy

  • Posts: 7553
  • Whoa That Was A Good One ! Poke His Brain Here !
    • Outer Banks Beach House
I don't know if anyone really cares about this statement.
Either people havent woken up yet or heads are about to explode from internet posting restraint or they are working on 8 page essays to post

Offline spidernat

  • Posts: 69743
  • The Lerners are Cheap AND Crooked
I cheered, that is until one of the ESPN announcers put a damper on my evening.




I saw no reason why he would have to disrespect me as a non-believer.





"Lousy night to be an atheist?" I gasped. I had no idea why he would even be saying that.






So Mr. Guy in the booth with the microphone, next time hold your derisive comments and celebrate the true meaning of the All Star break, and in fact baseball itself - humanity, humility, hope...and the well hit ball.






Offline JMUalumni

  • Posts: 7786
I remember hearing the announcer make the atheist comment, laughable really.  I don't know if this guy needed to go write a whole article about it, but to each his own.  I did particularly like the final statement:

Quote
The truth is that night was a great night to be a baseball fan, as is every night of the baseball season. Because win or lose, home run-fest or low-scoring pitchers duel, baseball is a great game. There is nothing better that a warm summer breeze, a cold drink and a game on. So Mr. Guy in the booth with the microphone, next time hold your derisive comments and celebrate the true meaning of the All Star break, and in fact baseball itself - humanity, humility, hope...and the well hit ball.

Offline spidernat

  • Posts: 69743
  • The Lerners are Cheap AND Crooked
I remember hearing the announcer make the atheist comment, laughable really.  I don't know if this guy needed to go write a whole article about it, but to each his own.  I did particularly like the final statement:


That was the most pathetic comment in the whole article.

Offline JMUalumni

  • Posts: 7786
That was the most pathetic comment in the whole article.

well, I was referring to the first part of the paragraph  more than that last bit about the guy in the booth.  I don't know why I liked it, maybe it explained my feelings toward the game in a simplistic way, I suppose.

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6033
I would love somebody to say something like:

"I would like to thank science and chance for providing me with a lineage of genes that came to together in just the right way for several generations to provide me with amazing hand eye coordination and a mesomorphic steady state 6'4" 200 lb frame which, through working out and supplementing with protein powder, because it would be near impossible to eat 4 lbs of dry chicken breasts everyday, has been able to grow to 230 lbs"

Offline ronnynat

  • Posts: 23268
People get offended by everything these days. I'm an atheist, too, but this writer went way overboard. I do wish people would start giving themselves more credit for their own great accomplishments, though.

I would love somebody to say something like:

"I would like to thank science and chance for providing me with a lineage of genes that came to together in just the right way for several generations to provide me with amazing hand eye coordination and a mesomorphic steady state 6'4" 200 lb frame which, through working out and supplementing with protein powder, because it would be near impossible to eat 4 lbs of dry chicken breasts everyday, has been able to grow to 230 lbs"



"I'd like to thank my hands for being so great..."

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6033
People get offended by everything these days. I'm an atheist, too, but this writer went way overboard. I do wish people would start giving themselves more credit for their own great accomplishments, though.

I think the tone is not so much that he is upset, but more commenting on the practice of thanking god for everything no matter how trivial.  He throws in the announcer comments to show the widespread buy-in to the thinking and just to illustrate a double standard, which I guess also further supports the buy-in

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6033
"I'd like to thank my hands for being so great..."

I vaguely remember that. Although I'd like more of a longwinded rant

Was that after the 4th and 26?

Offline blue911

  • Posts: 17671
I would love somebody to say something like:

"I would like to thank science and chance for providing me with a lineage of genes that came to together in just the right way for several generations to provide me with amazing hand eye coordination and a mesomorphic steady state 6'4" 200 lb frame which, through working out and supplementing with protein powder, because it would be near impossible to eat 4 lbs of dry chicken breasts everyday, has been able to grow to 230 lbs"

I thought Barry Bonds gave that speech already.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 14658
  • babble on
I pretty much threw it out there for craps and giggles...I thought the piece itself was fairly overwrought, though I was pleasantly surprised to see something in the paper that managed to mix baseball and religious oversaturation.

Offline GburgNatsFan

  • Posts: 19053
Thankfully, this thread gave you the chance to say it, and I'm still laughing about it.

I would love somebody to say something like:

"I would like to thank science and chance for providing me with a lineage of genes that came to together in just the right way for several generations to provide me with amazing hand eye coordination and a mesomorphic steady state 6'4" 200 lb frame which, through working out and supplementing with protein powder, because it would be near impossible to eat 4 lbs of dry chicken breasts everyday, has been able to grow to 230 lbs"

Offline tomterp

  • Global Moderator
  • ****
  • Posts: 33088
  • Hell yes!
It irks me when people thank God for defeating their opponent, as if God weighs the worthiness of each team and makes value judgements on who should win each day.  Is God really such a micro manager? 

Offline GburgNatsFan

  • Posts: 19053
I'm usually thankful when an athlete understands that if there is a God, s/he is not it. I don't mind it when they give thanks for their gifts: they are gifted.

As long as they don't infer that God is on their side, like somehow God is gifting them with the win because they are more righteous/fervent/in favor than the other.

It irks me when people thank God for defeating their opponent, as if God weighs the worthiness of each team and makes value judgements on who should win each day.  Is God really such a micro manager? 

Offline JMUalumni

  • Posts: 7786
It irks me when people thank God for defeating their opponent, as if God weighs the worthiness of each team and makes value judgements on who should win each day.  Is God really such a micro manager? 

It reminds me of the Crusades

Offline spidernat

  • Posts: 69743
  • The Lerners are Cheap AND Crooked
It irks me when people thank God for defeating their opponent,


I have never heard anyone say "I want to thank God for helping me defeat my opponent" or even "I want to thank God for defeating my opponent".

Offline blue911

  • Posts: 17671
Not to get off topic but Josh Hamilton has never credited a higher being for any of his successes either on or off the field. What he has stated is that his acceptance of a higher being has enabled him to turn his life around.

Offline JMUalumni

  • Posts: 7786

I have never heard anyone say "I want to thank God for helping me defeat my opponent" or even "I want to thank God for defeating my opponent".

I have heard "God was on our side today"

Offline blue911

  • Posts: 17671
I have heard "God was on our side today"

I've heard "G.D. do we suck" which would be the yin to your yang.

Offline JMUalumni

  • Posts: 7786
I've heard "G.D. do we suck" which would be the yin to your yang.

touche