~ I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex. There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I’d never sleep with a player hitting under .250… not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there’s a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I’ve got a ballplayer alone, I’ll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. ‘Course, a guy’ll listen to anything if he thinks it’s foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. ‘Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake? It’s a long season and you gotta trust. I’ve tried ‘em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.~
Baseball is the universal religion.Â It has the ability to start wars, and somehow make peace.Â For nine innings, more if we get lucky, all is right with the world.Â No matter the controversies and allegations baseball is still pure.Â It still takes me back to the days when Jack Buck was my ESPN.Â I guess that’s why some days I would rather go to the games by myself.Â It’s also why for years I heard, “I don’t even know if I’m going to watch them this year, and if I do, it’s the last year!”Â Â Â This was something my Pop said about those “Billy Goats” aka St Louis Cardinals to me many times.Â Each time we had that conversation, I said a little prayer that he was wrong because I knew the only way his heart would not be in each and every game was for it to stop beating.Â Last September 30th at the end of his 85th season, his statement came true.
Thank you Ed Koerdt and George Tencleve for teaching me to love the game as you did.Â It will be hard not calling either one of them from the games, but I know they will beÂ there with me.Â I also know that they are getting a chuckle out of how I worked Annie Savoy into a story with them.Â No, it is no mistake that there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and 108 stitches in a baseball.