Sunday, October 27, 2013

Theology and Baseball

Alan Craig of my home-town St. Louis Cardinals, called safe at home after the ump ruled "Obstruction" by the Red Sox third baseman, scoring the winning run in the ninth inning of World Series Game Three in St. Louis


It occurred to me last night that this World Series Game Three thing is analogous to much of what we deal with in the Church.

"That was a judgment call!  That was an arbitrary rule interfering with the outcome of a game!" Red Sox fans and others are shouting.

Well, this attitude implies that all "judgment" is arbitrary.  The goal of judgement or prudence is to align our decision with what's objectively true.

In this case, the ump did just that.  He applied a rule that is far from arbitrary: it's a rule that guarantees the integrity of the game; and in doing so, he saw to it that one team was not cheated out of a just and fair outcome by another team.

The Sox feel cheated by the ump ruling that one of their players obstructed one of our players.  But had the ump not called that, the Cardinals would not have simply "felt" cheated; we would have "been" cheated.  The play in question was classic Obstruction - though unintentional ("intent" has no bearing on Obstruction).  And the ump had the courage to call it.

But we don't like form or constraint.  We hate "rules" and since we don't understand that no game can be played without "rules", and also since we can't see that this was the right call to make, regardless of which team benefited, or whether this was a call at the end of the game (as it was) or somewhere in the middle, at one of the other bases - we don't want to admit that what's right is right, at all times, under all circumstances.  Even in Game Three of the World Series.

And it's more than just Boston Red Sox fans who feel this way.

It's pretty much everyone in church alongside you this morning.



1 comment:

Joey Higgins said...

I agree with what you are saying except for one part: it was intentional obstructionism.

Having played sports in the past and not always played fair, to me, it was clear that the player raised his feet as the base runner was trying to get by.

For the player, it's a stragegic move:

1. you already screwed up by missing the catch. It wasn't a good throw, but he should have caught it or at least knocked it down (even with the base runner in the way)

2. If you get called on obstructionism, he scores, but there's a chance that you don't. He's going to score otherwise.

3. Tripping someone up is pretty "natural" when trying to prevent them from running away or getting to some goal.

That's just my take though, it could have been accidental - not that it matters.