Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Can Jesus throw a curveball?

Fascinating story in the USA TODAY about baseball's Colorado Rockies, who are seeking divine intervention to reverse the franchise's porous history.

On the field, the Rockies are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons and only the second time in their 14-year history. Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity — open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.

From ownership on down, it's an approach the Rockies are proud of — and something they are wary about publicizing. "We're nervous, to be honest with you," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd says. "It's the first time we ever talked about these issues publicly. The last thing we want to do is offend anyone because of our beliefs."

So I guess God has been a Yankees fan all these years. Could he be changing allegiance?

"You look at things that have happened to us this year," O'Dowd says. "You look at some of the moves we made and didn't make. You look at some of the games we're winning. Those aren't just a coincidence. God has definitely had a hand in this."

As opposed to player development, smart free agent signings and judicious trades. And here I thought John Schuerholz was responsible for the Braves' success.

You have to wonder how other major leaguers feel about playing in Colorado. What about Jewish players? Think Sandy Koufax would've been comfortable in the Rockies chapel, er, clubhouse?

"They have a great group of guys over there, but I've never been in a clubhouse where Christianity is the main purpose," says San Francisco Giants first baseman-outfielder Mark Sweeney, a veteran of seven organizations who spent 2003 and 2004 with the Rockies. "You wonder if some people are going along with it just to keep their jobs."

"Look, I pray every day," Sweeney says. "I have faith. It's always been part of my life. But I don't want something forced on me. Do they really have to check to see whether I have a Playboy in my locker?"

Let's put it this way: I'd take nine Babe Ruths over nine evangelicals between the lines any day.

Interesting irony: the Rockies play their home games in Coors -- as in beer, as in Lucifer Juice -- Field.

1 comment:

  1. Why is it that all Colorado teams are so easily hateable?