Thursday, October 24, 2002

WALK? I'LL DECLINE
Rob Neyer and Hugo Lindgren both lament the many intentional walks issued to Barry Bonds, and the lack of any way outlaw them.

Maybe baseball can borrow an idea from football -- allow the batter to decline a walk. I suppose is a pitcher was really determined not to deail with a hitter it would get boring, but the pitcher would wear himself out throwing that many pitches.

Maybe that's when Neyer's idea could come into play -- if a pticher throws 8 balls, the batter could be awarded 2 bases, 3 bases for 12, and all the way around for 16. Sure, it would be strange to hear of a 7-1 count, but in practice it would rarely happen.
SORRY FOR THE LACK OF POSTS
Been a stressful time at work, and have been resting in the few spare momets I've had.

Anyway, I'm not quitting, just haven't had time to post anything. Hopefully, that will get better.

Interesting that my hit counts don't seem to have trailed off. Maybe that should tell me something...

Thursday, October 03, 2002

GOSPEL OF LIFE
Kevin Miller demonstrates how capital punishment, especially as practiced in the US, is incompatible with both The Gospel of Life and the catechism.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

LOVELY DAY FOR A COMMENT WAR
I'm involved in a discussion in response to this Amy Welborn post about the bishops' appeal to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to cancel an execution for this morning.

It continues to amaze me how many Catholics want to hold impromptu excommunication sessions for anyone who expresses the slightest distance from the Church's teachings in sexual morality, and say that their "dissent" is the reson why we have secaula abuse scandals, but at the same time talk themselves in knots about how they need not join in with the pope's unambuiguous opposition to capital punishment. (I should not that I'm not aware of any of my adversaries in the debate calling for anyone's excommunication, so this criticism may not apply to them).

It also continues to amaze me how any Catholic could defend capital punshment as implmented here in the US. It's pretty much a lottery -- if you kill someone in an identified group (police officers, racial minorites), or your case is significantly high profile, you might get the death penalty. But you might not. If you kill someone with no advocate, you probably won't. The argument that capital punshment somehow affirms our respect for life is absurd. If we executed all murderers, there might be some merit to this argument. But executing only selected murderers sends the message that some lives are more valuable than others, which is the direct antithesis of any "respect for life" argument.

Because if we say that some lives are more valuable than others, then how do we answer the mother who says that the life of her six-year old daughter with cystic fibrosis is more valuable than tiny embryos that may have to be destroyed to find a cure for her? We can't very well say, "all human life is sacred," because we just said that some are more valuable than others. So, having established that, how do we then tell a mother that her daughter is not more valuable than an embryo that may never be born?

The pope and the Church's arguments against the death penalty and all assaults against human life are quite simple: All people are God's creation, made in His own image and likeness. Destroying human life is thus offensive to God, and violates Jesus's command to love our neighbor. Nobody has directly confronted John Paul II's words, but try to find justification for their views in centuries-old documents. Have these folks considered that JPII has probably also read those documnets, and through prayerful reflection and the work of the Holy Spirit, reached a different conclusion?

It's easy to back Church teaching when they only apply to other people. When we're challenged to change it's harder. It's easy to oppose abortion when you will never have an unwanted pregnancy. But it's difficult to oppose the death penalty when it means you may have to reconsider your values, and let go of a desire for vengeance.

As I said in the comment board, I am saddened by every execution, and am ashamed I haven't done more to prevent them. While I look forward to meeting God after death, I do not imagine that I will enjoy the discussion of executions I did not do enough to prevent.
OCTOBER BASEBALL
Andy Petitte ptiches for the Yankees tonight, which means we'll be treated to one of my favorite camera shots in baseball -- from behind home plate we see have a close-up shot of Petttte's face, except all you can see is the brim of his hat. Then he slowly looks up for the sign, and you can see his eyes bearing in on the catcher. Then he starts his delivery.
It's a cool visual, and seems even moreso when the Yanks are in their road grey uniforms. You'll notice that the networks don't use this shot nearly as much for other pitchers.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

ON WEDDINGS AND CELEBRATIONS
I was in Las Vegas this weekend for a wedding in my wife's family (who are not Catholic). This was a high-class affair, and everything was very nice and well done. But it left me thinking some things...

We work so hard and spend so much money to make weddings, baptisms, confirmations, "special." We try so hard to impress others with our great taste. But we forget that these events are special themselves, without any input from us. The only thing we can do is screw it up.

When one of my friends was getting married recently, the advice I gave him is to make things nice enough so that they're not so bad that they're a distraction. If people have to pull out cash to pay for drinks, or the food is cold, or the champagne is flat, or the photographer is rude, that would be distracting.

But when we devote all our time and energy to make things "perfect," we ironically make it more likely that any mistakes or oversights will be magnified. If we keep things simple, and allow the grace and beauty of the sacraments to take center stage, people probably won't notice if the color scheme's a little off or if something's not quite straight. But when we instead make our own decorations or food or whatever the focus, then it's more likely that people will notice what we got wrong.

So my advice to those planning a wedding or a confirmation, or even just a Sunday Mass is to trust the grace of the sacrament. Do enough to eliminate distractions, and then get out of the way so the Holy Spirit can work.