September 18, 2005

AMERICA'S PASTIME:

In Baseball Now, More Teams Pray Before They Play (Laura Blumenfeld, 9/18/05, Washington Post)

In 300 ballparks across the country, volunteer chapel leaders hold English and Spanish services for major and minor league teams. Baseball Chapel, the Christian ministry that organizes the prayers, estimates that nearly 3,000 people worship each week in services held in bullpens, under the stands, while sitting on towels in the showers, or huddled in the laundry room reciting the gospel to the thump of dryers.

Once derided as a sign of weakness by managers and trainers, Christian prayers are now accepted and even encouraged before baseball games. In lockers, you'll find Bibles next to the Ambien and Skoal. Participants say the stress to perform, the uncertainty of injuries, and the lack of control over being traded or cut are lightened by their bond with God.

"It's about guys needing Christ," Moeller said. "It could be the security guard, or it could be [first baseman] Nick Johnson. RFK becomes a church on Sundays."

Even the team doctor, Bruce Thomas, supports weekend prayers and Wednesday Bible study. "If a player has total wellness -- their mind, body and their spiritual side -- they perform better," he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2005 12:00 AM
Comments

Just think, one day baseball players may kneel and cross themselves after home runs. You know, like some football players do in the end zone after touchdowns.

Posted by: Brandon at September 18, 2005 9:53 AM

It's only a 20-block walk east from the Supreme Court to RFK Stadium -- once the ACLU hears that religous ceremonies are being conducted in a taxpayer-financed stadium, they'll probably be on the run from Point A to Point B with a restraining order.

Posted by: John at September 18, 2005 11:06 AM

It's the bottom of the ninth, two out, bases are loaded and the count is full, who isn't going to pray.

Posted by: AllenS at September 18, 2005 11:51 AM

Brandon:

Many do.

Posted by: oj at September 18, 2005 1:05 PM
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