Tagged: Catholics

The Attention They Don’t Deserve


In all the furor that erupted over certain remarks the editors of RSBS made concerning the Evil Empire in the past couple weeks, other remarks made by public figures missed getting the attention they deserve.

For instance, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, Carl Paladino, ignited a not-so-small firestorm when he told a gathering that “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and
much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t
want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally
valid and successful option — it isn’t.”  Granted, this wasn’t quite as incendiary as what was omitted from the speech but it didn’t do much to help his popularity.  It also didn’t help that the only people who came to his defense were a whacky rabbi and Ann Coulter.  Not exactly expanding his base with those two.

Meanwhile in Belgium, he head of the country’s Catholic church described AIDS as “a sort of inherent justice.”  Really guy?  That line of argument didn’t play well for Falwell after 9/11 and it’s not like it has gotten any better since then:

You know what?  I think I’d rather just go back to talking about the Yankees.  At least there you can chalk up the crazy to fandom and blame any absence of logic on the eight dollar beers.  This is just sad.



Thanking the Carters

selleck_tigers.jpgSome things just don’t feel right unless they’re together.  Like, how can you have pizza without pepperoni?  Ok, yes, there is the Hawaiian but that’s a rare exception.  Or what about Tom Selleck without a mustache?  Catholicism without the pope…..or scandal.

Baseball is the same way but to an even greater degree.  In a way, baseball just isn’t baseball without them.  But if I had to choose just one thing that completes baseball, I’d say beer.

Now when I first went to games and was old enough to drink, the options were pretty limited.  Usually there was Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite and maybe some sort of local favorite like Old Style.  But that has all changed in recent years.  When I visit Nats’ Park, I can choose between the regulars or something like Blue Moon.  Out in San Francisco one of the vendors had Anchor Steam on draft and that made me very happy.

It makes me wonder who I have to thank for all this malty and hoppy goodness.  What brave soul forged a path through uncharted wilderness to make sure that my ballpark experience lived up to my expectations?

The answer will probably surprise you as much as it surprised me: Jimmy Carter.

Yes, the man who is best known for growing peanuts, botching the hostage rescue and overseeing the oil shocks of the 70’s also inadvertently created the conditions for the microbrewery explosion that continues today.

So, the next time you’re at the park, skip the Bud and drink a microbrew for Jimmy instead.  If nothing else, it’s definitely better than a Billy Beer.


Re-Specter Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self

arlen specter.jpg“I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican Party.”
        — Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania

Welcome to the club, Arlen!

Folks, this is a big deal.


a Cardinal fan rooting for the Cubs, a Red Sox fan pledging allegiance
to the Evil Empire, a Dodgers fan embracing Barry Bonds while chanting

As crazy and fantastical as those scenarios seem,
longtime Republican (albeit a moderate one as he opposed Clinton’s
impeachment and didn’t get along with Dubya so well) has done just that
by crossing back over the visible division line to find his rightful spot among US Americans who pine to progress, lean to logic, veer to victory.

Ahhhhhh snap!!!

No more filibustering power for the GOP?

You betchya!  Guess from now on those smattering political diatribes of malcontent will be reserved for Fox News and the Vatican.

cardinals cubs fight.jpgAnd
while this obvious jockeying crossover amuses me like Gary Sheffield’s
defensive capabilities, in all honesty, I hope it does not become a
trend.  I mean, besides needing a multi-party system with checks and
balances, I am afraid that without Republicans, I would not have any
material to rouse fuming arguments on this site, family reunions or bathroom walls.

Let’s face it: we Cardinal fans could not survive without the
incessant, whiny yappings of hopeless Cub fans every year.  As much as
we hate to admit it, ours is a symbiotic relationship built on mutual
antipathy, fundamental dislike and drunken slander — all for the love
of the game.

Dear readers, before making such a monumental switch, remember to chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self ‘cuz wavering loyalties are, ultimately, bad for yo health.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



(Specter image courtesy of the US Government)
(Cardinals/Cubs image courtesy of Deadspin)

Why Not Invoke Thy Holy Goat?

bishop tom burns.jpgVerily!  Every baseball season I, Jeffery Lung, walk through the valley of the shadow of death… also known as Wrigley Field.

I have been punched in the back of the head.  I have been called a f^g.  I have been kicked in the legs while relieving myself in the men’s room in between innings.

I have been told my mother will rot in hell.  I have had beer thrown on me.  I have been spit on.

So it is certainly no surprise to me that a bunch of Wrigleyville yahoos placed a severed goat head atop the infamously scary Harry Caray statue on the corner of Sheffield and Addison yesterday.

The curse of the billy goat — still haunting the not-so-friendly-if-you-wear-Cardinal-red confines — lives on, dear readers; and apparently, people still take it seriously.  Very seriously.

They take it so seriously that they are willing to act like bigger a-holes than they are already perceived to be.  

But such is life as a “lovable loser”, I suppose.

Impressed was I last year, before the National League Division Series, when the Cubs went for a more subtle approach to ending their poor luck: praying to God.  After the Greek Orthodox Reverend Father spread holy water throughout the clubhouse, Ryan Dempster responded by quickly walking seven batters; and the Cubs went on to lose three straight lackluster games to the Los Angeles (perhaps Holy) Dodgers.

Guess God don’t like no posers, ya’ll.

I was just thinking, Cub fans: perhaps ye should combine thy wasted efforts into one successful go-for-all.  Call on Bishop Tom Burns and his iconic regimental mascot (a goat no less) to bless thy dump of a field in that oh-so-vigilante neighborhood and ask him to pray for your forgiveness — for all thy slander-slinging, grudge-grovelling and curse-coveting. 

Couldn’t hurt, right?

Well… nah… I just realized, when your fan base is more known for this…

…than winning baseball games, you really don’t have a prayer, do you?

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.



Good Friday? Try Great!

easter_bunny.jpgIt’s a little strange. Here we are, late Friday afternoon, and despite the Tigers playing their home opener during “holy hours,” the city of Detroit did not burst into flame nor did the world end. It’s almost like, well, maybe the whole thing was a minor incident blown way out of proportion by a vocal minority.

You know what’s even more strange, though? We’re five games into the season and the Tigers have won 40% of those games. I know, I know, it’s not great. But considering the all-but-certain World Series contenders were 0-5 at the same point last year despite opening the season with four games against the Royals, well, you can see why I might be feeling all right. Not only that but Galarraga showed that his decent outings last season were no fluke.

But, this being Good Friday and all, I think a little sacrilege and blasphemy are in order. After all, why else do you keep coming back to RSBS unless it’s to be alternately offended and amazed?

I’ll start with the Pope. Now, he hasn’t had an easy go of it so far but it really doesn’t help when he continuously manages to make GWB look like a model of reservedness and diplomacy. Exhorting the words of early church bigots? Denigrating the one thing that has brought a killer epidemic under control? Is this really how he wants to be remembered? There’s a lot to be said for the rapprochement that John Paul II effected between Catholics and the rest of the religious world but Benedict seems determined to make a hash of it.

Now, I’m not saying that Catholics have some sort of monopoly on ignorance. Lord knows the Protestants, the Jews, the Muslims, the atheists and every other religious (or anti-religious) groups have their fair share of moments, too.

That’s why I think it’s important to bring things full circle to something we can all agree on. And today the thing that we can all get behind is the continued brilliance of Tracy Morgan:

A Little Thursday Afternoon Theology

Christus_Ravenna_Mosaic.jpgIn life there are two topics one should never discuss in polite company: Politics and religion. Well, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to refer to the blogosphere (god I hate that word) as polite company so it seems kind of odd that this is the first time that RSBS has managed to stray into such contentious territory. Apparently there are quite a few baseball loving Catholics out there.

Now, I don’t think that either Jeff or myself have attempted to hide our obvious political and religious leanings. Even our nonstop chatter during last year’s election season didn’t bring about quite the same amount of vehement commentary as did my friend’s entry yesterday.

But, despite the risk involved with wading back into that fray, I have to say that I think he hit it right on the head. Why should the Tigers not play their home opener on Good Friday at 1:05? As one commenter noted, there’s basketball on Christmas Day and some sort of sporting event pretty much every other day of the year. Why not Good Friday, too?

Here’s how it breaks down. I used to live in New York City and on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, half the city didn’t show up for work. But you know what, they all took personal days. The hundreds of thousands of Muslims who live in this country receive no preferential treatment during Ramadan when they are fasting from sun-up to sun-down. Have you gone 12 hours without eating or drinking while trying to work a full day? For a month? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Why should it matter if the Tigers play their game at noon or 7PM? If you want to go to church, do like the millions of people in this country who aren’t Christian and make that choice and the accompanying sacrifice.

Here’s the theology part of it. The Jesus of the Bible took almost sinful delight in ridiculing the Pharisees and their incredibly strict interpretation of Abrahamic law. At every possible opportunity he poked holes in their ostentatious piety and continuously pointed out that he had come to show a new way to god. It was no longer about rigid doctrine and observance of the law. Instead, Jesus focused on a personal relationship that also prescribed personal choice. It wasn’t about showing up for services. It was about showing who you were in your daily life. The freedom from orthodoxy meant that religion became a personal choice and free will took over from blind observance of laws and traditions.

And that leads us right back to the decision that Tigers fans will have to make in a little over a week. Do they go to Good Friday services or go to the game? For some people, that might be a really tough choice. But you know what, you’re going to have to make that decision for yourself. And that probably also means you’re going to have to make a sacrifice. But when you think about it, that should sound kind of familiar.


I Will Stop Just Short of Saying “All Catholics Are Crazy”

cute nun.jpgJesus was a cool dude.  He talked to anyone and everyone, from hookers to farmers to gladiators to fisherman.  I bet he’d even talk to Cub fans. 

He had long hair.  He had no earthly possessions.  He was nice to everyone.  He was compassionate, well-spoken and he didn’t judge others based on their ideas or actions; he left that up to his daddy.

So after two thousand years I have to ask: where did all those ideals go?

Catholic church, I think it’s about time you get over yourself.

The Tigers’ home opener is on a Good Friday, during holy hours?  This offends you, Catholics?  Whaa whaa whaa!  Cry me a river so I can walk on it and impress my friends with my mad Jesus skillz.  What!?! 


Your hardline is just as insane.

Take it easy on the Tigers, will ya, Catholics.  They’re in terrible shape and the last thing they need right now is a religious scandal scarring their opening day attendance.  Besides, have you taken a look at the empty industrial shell known as the city of Detroit?  Do you think the city or the team actually cares about what offends you and what doesn’t?  The Tigers organization (and I can’t believe I’m defending them here) is a business. Business.  How many other businesses will close during your precious holy hours just because you think they should and you will be offended if they don’t?  Will McDonald’s close its doors?  How about the crack dealers?  Will there be a moratorium on rock sales during the holy hours?  Will you police that if they don’t?  And what about Little Caesars?  Do you think they’ll shut down shop during your holy hours?  No, sir, not while there are $5 pizzas that taste like crap to sell in order to pay off Gary Sheffield’s walking papers to the tune of some 14 million bucks! 

But the story doesn’t end there, does it?  You’re always in a tiff about something.  Whaa whaa whaa, we don’t want Barack Obama, the leader of the free world, to give a commencement day speech at Notre Dame because he supports stem cell research — an effort that only aims to help people, heal people, give people hope.  You don’t want Obama on your campus because he promotes progressive thinking, the freedom to choose, the American dream… and I guess all those awful, terrible ideals just don’t have a place in the rigid backwardness of the Catholic church, do they?

No, not as long as your higher-ups continue to challenge the existence of the Holocaust; not as long as your bishops suggest more Catholics died during the Holocaust than did the Jews; not as long as your elders continue to diddle little boys and get away with it.

Ask yourselves this, Catholics: What would Jesus do?

I’m pretty sure Jesus would say: Play Ball!

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.