For years, while growing up in Minnesota this editor was a big "Twins" fan before migrating to San Diego after my college years. I can remember my greatest thrill was in 1965 working the pressbox as a U of M journalism intern (yes, they had interns back then, but not the notorious type of today) at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota and how the Twin Cities went crazy over the "Twinkies" for that was the first year the Minnesota team went to the World Series as well as hosting their first All-Star game. It was a time one can still feel and taste today, as if it were just yesterday. Remember that phrase above about "time standing still?" Probably one of the fondest memories was watching the good, holy pious nuns - the St. Joseph Sisters, the Benedictines, the Notre Dame Sisters, Sisters of Mercy, and other orders - sitting there in box seats rooting for their team, habits flowing and flying! Everybody credited their presence as one of the reasons for the Twins' success that year. But other cities have their religious contingents at games. Just look around Wrigley Field on any afternoon during the Summer, or along the baseline at Fenway Park in Boston, or sitting behind the dugout in the New Camden Yards in Baltimore. Don't forget the fervent followers who pray for their teams in Catholic strongholds such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, even New York, Cleveland and many other cities throughout the country; even bible-belt places like Arlington, Texas, Atlanta, Kansas City and Houston have their diocesan dandies pulling for their favorites. We can't forget the "Dodger" contingent born in old Ebbets Field in where die-hard Catholics bequeathed their seats to priests and nuns so God would always smile on "da Bums." West Coasters would say He did when they moved to Los Angeles, but Brooklynites would argue that and latch onto a new loyalty - the "Mets." No matter where you go, baseball fever reaches from the pulpit to the bleachers where people of all faiths cheer in unison for their teams. Yet, if they don't win, they don't hang their heads and curse the heavens, they don't take it out on others, or feel depressed because, after all, it's baseball, and, unlike football, there's another game tomorrow! Hope springs eternal!
The point is that life is a lot like baseball, because no matter how down we might feel, how discouraging we might view things today, tomorrow always holds hope! Jesus assured this when He gave us the Sacraments and His Holy Church along with the promise that He would be with us always and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Like baseball, we can't win them all, we can't pitch a perfect game every day, we can't bat 1.000 throughout life. That's the beauty of the game and the beauty of life, we can play .300 and be a success, but no matter what average we hit for, if we follow the rules of the game and life - and what God has asked - we can't help but be contenders. Oh, the world, the flesh and the devil will score against us; we'll be thrown for a curve now and then, a spitter or slider might knock us down, we'll make some errors and give up quite a few walks as well as striking out once in awhile, but the Big Manager in the sky won't pull us. He won't demote us to the minors if we show we're really trying, if we're giving it all we've got and striving to do whatever He asks. He constantly encourages us and has even sent His Number One Cheerleader - His very Own Blessed Mother to urge us on. When we finally gell, when we work in cooperation, then we form a team, working in unison with God and our fellow man. If we can do that, we'll win our share of games and definitely be there for the final Series. Unlike baseball, however, where no one knows who is going to win it all, we've got a lock on the Celestine Championship Trophy if we play ball with God! Assured of this, we can be confident of our chances because, on Opening Day, Hope springs eternal!