Support the Café
Search our site

Fundamentalism enters the church of baseball

Fundamentalism enters the church of baseball

Will instant replay turn the “church of baseball” into a fundamentalist religion? Killing the Buddha asks:

There is a long and often ridiculous history of comparing baseball to a religion. Rule-bound, slow to change, cyclic, and timeless; an assembly of people presided over by men in funny outfits, who say what is safe and what is out; a space sealed-off from the rest of society, yet definitional to a national culture: the comparisons aren’t too difficult to make. As noted in the movie Bull Durham, there are 108 stitches on a baseball, and 108 beads in a Catholic rosary. Coincidence?

Well, yes. It’s a coincidence (or a function of the exceptional divisibility of the number 108). Religious phenomena have plenty of overlaps with other products of human culture, but the whole game of “but is it a religion?” is obnoxious at best. None of which changes the fact that, when Major League Baseball announced last week that it was planning to introduce instant replay to games, thereby allowing umpires to stop play after a difficult call and watch the whole thing again in slow-motion, all I could think, with a tinge of sadness, was that a new, especially virulent kind of fundamentalism had arrived in America’s First Church.

Naturally, then, baseball is a technologically conservative place. Players use wooden bats. They chew tobacco instead of smoking it. They wear knickers. And umpires rely only on sight to make calls—aware, perhaps, in that way we so often forget to be, here in our modern world, that a kind of truth thrives in the realm of fate and subjective judgment, and not in the absolutes.

Dislike (0)
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Apps 55753818692 1675970731 F785b701a6d1b8c33f0408

Going off on a tangent here: I'm unaware of a version of the Rosary with 108 beads. Mine (the traditional 5 decade Roman Rosary) has 59 beads. The "full" 15 decade Rosary would have 177 beads and the "new" 20 decade version of the Rosary would have 236 beads.

-Cullin R. Schooley

Like (0)
Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café