This Week

"This Week" Continued...

Issue: "Rethinking divorce," June 13, 1998

Chin music and divine protection

Two months into the major-league season, the New York Yankees are sporting the best record in baseball, and one of their best players has been Andy Pettitte, a 25-year-old left-handed starting pitcher who is open about his Christian faith. Mr. Pettitte and the Yankees are keenly aware that other teams are gunning for them now and are trying to intimidate them. Recently, after he gave up a home run, Baltimore Orioles reliever Armando Benitez intentionally hit a Yankee player with a pitch just below the back of his neck. The on-purpose plunk caused both benches and bullpens to empty, and a full-scale brawl worthy of promotion by Don King ensued on the field and in the visitors' dugout at Yankee Stadium. When WORLD caught up with Mr. Pettitte during a Yankee stop at Boston's Fenway Park, he said that he was "not really a fighter," but he defended the involvement of Christians in such bench-clashing battles. "Nothing happened to me personally in that Orioles game," Mr. Pettitte noted, "but something happened to my teammate. It looked like someone was trying to hurt one of my teammates. The Lord doesn't want me to be a wimp, or to just say, 'Go ahead and keep drilling us. We're going to keep taking it.' You have to take a stand sometimes. You do have to control your emotions a little bit, but you also have to let the other team know that you're not real happy about what they're doing." What about brushback pitches and beanballs? Should a follower of Christ be pitching inside and administering a little chin music to batters, a la Armando Benitez? "It's part of the game," Mr. Pettitte answered. "The Lord wants me to do my job on the mound to the best of my ability, and if a guy gets in the batter's box and feels too comfortable against me when I'm pitching, then I'm not going to be able to pitch to the best of my ability. So I'm going to throw inside just as much as anybody else does. I'm not trying to hit anybody, but sometimes when you pitch inside you're going to hit someone." WORLD also asked Mr. Pettitte about being struck by line drives hit back to him. Pettitte was recently hit twice, on the right knee and on the right leg, and he pitched poorly in subsequent appearances. Is there a fear factor involved while pitching, or concern that a career could be snuffed out with one swing of a bat? "No," Mr. Pettitte replied. "Before every start I ask the Lord to watch over me and to keep me safe. I never ask for wins. I just pray that I can stay healthy and not do anything to let my testimony for him down. I just pray that he will take care of me on the mound."

Viagra: Leading men into temptation?

Did your boyfriend dump you? Maybe Viagra made him do it. Seventy-year-old construction executive Francis Bernardo popped the tiny blue pill last month. Two days later, he left his common-law wife in search of someone new. He even left her a note bragging about his new energy. The pair had been shacking up since they first met at a Hilton Head country club in 1988; now it's over. So says the longtime companion, Roberta Burke. That's why she's suing her man for $2 million. She claims the impotence drug led him to infidelity. "I was looking forward to our old age," she says, "holding hands and walking on the beach." Widower Bernando says his thrice-married live-in just wants his money. "Have you ever heard of an inanimate object breaking up your marriage?" says his lawyer, Raoul Felder.

Nation in brief

Drudge in the lions' den
Matt Drudge, the gadfly Internet journalist no journalist in Washington will call a journalist, met the "mainstream" press last week on its home turf, the National Press Club. Mr. Drudge held court during the lunch hour, delivering a short speech and parrying mostly hostile questions to some laughter and smatterings of applause. He was introduced by Doug Harbrecht, Washington news editor of Business Week, who duly noted Mr. Drudge's unpopularity with the group. But Mr. Harbrecht noted, "My children, ages 20 and 17, know who Matt Drudge is, but they don't know who David Broder and Helen Thomas are, two of Washington's legendary journalists." MFN: Mustn't forget nukes?
As his high-profile trip to the edge of Tienanman Square in Beijing edged closer, President Clinton urged Congress last week to renew Most Favored Nation trading status for China. Mr. Clinton argued MFN would help during this time of tension in Asia, especially between India and Pakistan. On Capitol Hill, human-rights activists and lawmakers marked the ninth anniversary of the Tienanman Square massacre (June 4, 1989) with anti-Beijing rallies and congressional resolutions. The president's MFN request, said Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, "overlooks the fact that stability in Asia has worsened, the transfer of weapons of mass destruction has continued, and now, thanks to his policies, Chinese missiles are better able to target Americans." Fat and fatter
Americans may not necessarily be getting fatter, but the government threshold for fat got slimmer last week. A panel of government experts concluded that a person with a body mass index as low as 25 should be considered overweight and anyone with a body mass index of 30 or above is obese. Using those new guidelines, about 55 percent of the population would be considered overweight or obese. March for Jesus
Local March for Jesus rallies captured the attention of newspapers across the country last week; most of the papers noted the ecumenical spirit of the events, which drew an estimated 1 million Americans in 700 U.S. cities and some 10 million other believers in 160 countries. The Kansas City Star, the Omaha World-Herald, and Denver's Rocky Mountain News called particular attention to the denominational diversity. Theological distinctives were often swept aside, several papers noted. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported two Protestant ministers led the local throng in prayers for the persecuted church in China, parts of Africa, and the Middle East; later a Roman Catholic led a prayer for Christian martyrs, past and present.

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