Baseball’s Christianist Assholes; Or: Go Boston!

I was getting ready to root for the Rockies in the World Series, partly because I love a newcomer / underdog & partly because I think more than one championship a century would be bad for Boston's soul. And then Michael O'Hare at the RBC blog had to ruin my (admittedly superficial) fan-affiliation by linking to this story. Full disclosure: I loved baseball when I was a boy & followed it with considerable attention into my thirties, losing interest as the game became increasingly corportatized. (When I was in grad school in Iowa in the 1980s I had a Ford Pinto with an AM radio, which meant that I listened to country music & White Sox games. This was during the Sox dark night of the soul. And my own, but that's another story.) These days, I pay attention to baseball only at World Series time. So I was going to root for the Rockies. West versus East, Inexperience versus Experience -- all the stuff I like. Until, that is, I learned that a large proportion of the team apparently believes that God has taken a personal interest in them. Athletes ar, as a group, notable for their solipsism, but their sheer ignorance of the tradition these bozos claim to belong to marks the Rockies as something special, something spectacularly ignorant in a uniquely American way. If this were only the solipsism of baseball players, you could just chalk it up to the celebrity bubble these boys live in, but if you pay attention to the news & the general cultural vibe, you know that a lot of successful Americans feel this way about their lives, "success" in this case being fairly narrowly defined. They deserve what they've got because God has "blessed" them. Actual Christianity, of course, understands this blessing as (undeserved) Grace; but these millionaire suburbanites with their shallow sensibilities chalk it all up to their own good character, which is the current code word for being one of the Elect. The problem with taking one's own good luck as the metaphysical order of things, as the Rockies apparently do, is that luck has a funny way of coming around to balance things out. Luck's logic is the logic of karma, ultimately. The Rockies may win the series, of course, though I am rooting for Boston, but whatever the outcome, I'll take comfort in the fact that karma has all the time in the world. Still, a Boston sweep would be a fine, fine thing.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

11 thoughts on “Baseball’s Christianist Assholes; Or: Go Boston!”

  1. By having your god’s blessing for your success you can more easily disdain or ignore those who don’t have your same success. You don’t have to feel guilty for having plenty is a world of want. Correspondingly, if someone else is unsuccessful, you can convince yourself that they unloved by their god. Thus you don’t have to worry about them.

    So where does this leave the Kansas City Royals?

  2. Joe, I have never understood athletes who think that God cares about the outcome of a sporting event. I think there is quite a bit of false humilty in the act of dropping to one knee, bowing one’s head, and thanking God in front of a stadium full of screaming fans.

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