Monday, February 4, 2008

Baseball Chapel

I've followed baseball closer than most people I know for, oh, thirty years or so, and I've never heard of this:
Baseball Chapel, an evangelical group, has existed for 35 years and supplies Sunday morning chapel leaders to all major and minor league teams. “Our purpose is to glorify Jesus Christ!” its Web site,, proclaims . . .

. . . In chapel services for the teams, players have the option of attending or not. Umpires may not realistically have that option. “The players go to a separate room,” Miller said of the chapel services for the team. “For umpires, they always came to our room. They didn’t want to mix players with umpires even though they often mix the teams.” The Sunday routine left Jewish umpires, like Miller, in a difficult position. With the umpires’ locker room as a setting for Christian prayer, they could not avoid it.
I'm not a Christian fella, and I have learned to politely tune out Christian prayer in captive-audience situations. It doesn't really bother me personally -- there are people espousing things I don't agree with in my presence all the time, and it's easier to fake it than fight it -- but I can understand why non-Christian umps would be uncomfortable.

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