The Cafe has an eclectic mix of categories in its compendium of all things interesting about the church today, but one that stands out in particular is "Baseball." Periodically throughout last season, we'd make note of various "Faith Night" events and reflections from the outfield. And now, preseason pundits have taken note yet again of the phenomenon. Murray Chass, writing in the New York Times, is quite frank about his feelings on the matter, and pulls no punches: "It's time ... for baseball’s constitution to dictate separation of church and baseball," noting the connection between "faith night" events and ... marketing.
The idea has caught on in baseball because clubs want to sell tickets. That’s why Major League Baseball will never halt faith nights. Anything for a few dollars more. But it has no place in baseball. Baseball crowds are made up of people of all faiths and no faith. No segment should be singled out.
Third Coast’s Web site says, “Third Coast Sports has partnered with dozens of sports teams to organize, promote and execute successful events that seek to provide churches with opportunities for outreach and churchwide fellowship.”
Does that sound inclusive? Outreach to whom? What its events do is give the company a foothold in baseball marketing.
Just what baseball needs — peanuts, popcorn and proselytizing.