He Wasn’T Good For The Game

At the conclusion of the World Series last October, Sparky Anderson, manager of the World Champion Reds, made an earth-shaking announcement. Sparky said that the 1975 World Series had been “good for baseball.” The close games, the exciting plays, the contested calls had given the game a shot in the arm, according to Anderson.

Two months later, Joe Morgan (also from the Reds) was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Joe said his selection was “good for baseball.” A little man who played well-balanced ball (Joe ran, hit, and fielded well) had proven that the big, homerun sluggers don’t always have to win the award.

Not everyone is good for baseball. I can think of two pitchers who weren’t. One was Jim Bouton, who wrote a bestselling exposé (aren’t all exposés bestsellers?) of the players and the game. Another was Bo Belinsky, who threw a no-hitter, used a combination of iodine and baby lotion to develop a deep tan, and was considered a genuine flake. When Jim and Bo left the scene, I’m sure some managers said, “I’m glad they’re gone. They weren’t good for the game.”

Personally I don’t know what’s good or bad for baseball. But those quotes made me wonder. If Jesus were to arrive today, would most Christians say, “You know, he’s good for Christianity”?

I don’t think so.

Jesus would seem inconsistent to some. (Inconsistency doesn’t win awards.) Jesus would announce the kingdom was at hand and then tell some of those he healed not to tell who did it.

He would alienate the establishment. (You don’t preserve the unity and integrity of the game by alienating the establishment.) Being compassionate toward losers and tough on the religious winners is not the way to win friends and influence people.

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