The Colorado Rockies' current run is so beyond the hopes and dreams of even the most optimistic fan that it simultaneously inspires delight at the way events keep turning in the team's favor and fear that the slightest cosmic miscalculation will bring the whole crazy streak to a premature end. After all, the squad's spent more of its existence resembling Charlie Brown's comically inept strugglers than the 1927 Yankees. So I confess to having been horrorstruck by the main story on page one of the October 14 Denver Post, headlined "Faith on the Field."
Why? Because it brought back bad memories of "Baseball's Rockies Seek Revival on Two Levels," a June 1, 2006 USA Today feature, in which management and numerous players were described as being "guided by Christianity -- open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success." A key quote came from owner Charlie Monfort, who said, "I don't want to offend anyone, but I think character-wise we're stronger than anyone in baseball. Christians, and what they've endured, are some of the strongest people in baseball. I believe God sends signs, and we're seeing those."
So what happened next? The Rockies went into the tank and quickly sank to the bottom.
Since then, the ballers and their bosses have mostly kept their religiosity to themselves, during the difficult early portion of the 2007 season as well as throughout their historic up-turn. For that reason, the decision to cooperate with a Post article exploring the same territory seemed to invite heavenly retribution. I could imagine God sitting in his throne on high, his high-definition television tuned to TBS, and intoning, "Foolish Rockies. You think I've got enough time to help you win just because most of you believe in Me? You need to learn a little lesson." And then, with a single lightning strike aimed at Matt Holliday's chest, it would all be over.
The weather during game three of the National League Championship Series on October 14 certainly looked capable of vomiting out a vengeful bolt or two -- yet somehow, the electricity of the night remained a positive force, leading to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, not a smoking hunk of human charcoal in left field. Even so, guys, please don't tempt fate again by playing the Jesus card. If you think JC is powering your performance, great. But save the proselytizing until after the season's over, okay?
Do it for God's sake. And for ours. -- Michael Roberts