Signs and Wonders
Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez looks on as the Braves defeat the Washington Nationals Sunday.
Associated Press/Photo by Photo by Evan Vucci
Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez looks on as the Braves defeat the Washington Nationals Sunday.

Signs and Wonders: Baseball on the field and in the theaters

Newsworthy

Braves blowout. That baseball is the greatest game ever devised by mankind is, of course, a settled truth. Recent surveys show that those who doubt this truth are also likely to believe the earth is flat, Elvis is not dead, and aliens landed at Area 51. But I digress. My real point is to observe new chapters to ongoing stories. The first is that of the Atlanta Braves. Many doubted whether the Braves’ winning tradition could continue without sure-fire Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, and with two key players on the disabled list. But the Braves are off to an 11-1 start. Their win over the Washington Nationals yesterday was a 9-0 blowout, which was all the more impressive since many sports watchers expect the Nats to go deep into the postseason. So far this season, the Braves have outscored the opposition 62-23 and have built a 20-6 advantage in home runs. “It’s early,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I don’t think we’re going to play .998 baseball the rest of the way, but it sure is better than 1-11.”

Knuckling down. The other baseball story many of us are following is that of pitcher R.A. Dickey. Dickey’s story of determination and faith has won him many fans, especially in the Christian community. After winning the National League Cy Young Award playing for the New York Mets last year, the knuckleballer signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. It was a Cinderella ending for the man who had bounced around in the minors for most of 14 years. But this year, he’s had a rocky start, with two losses and an ERA of 8.44 after his first two starts. It was hard not to wonder if last year might have been a bright and shining—but fleeting—moment. But Dickey looked great Saturday night and his Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2. One win does not a season make, but it’s good to see him take a step in the right direction.

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Breaking the “God line.” The movie 42 tells the story of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color line. It opened this weekend to great reviews (including one from WORLD). It was also a home run at the box office, leading all movies this weekend with about $27 million in ticket sales. But my friend Eric Metaxas wrote in USA Today that the movie failed to approach what he cleverly called the “God line” by avoiding any discussion of the strong Christian faith of both Robinson and the man who signed him to a contract with the Dodgers, Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey. As Metaxas wrote, “To put it in baseball terms, they decided to pitch around it.” Hollywood is apparently either uncomfortable with faith, or it wants us to believe that humans can be good, moral creatures without faith. Metaxas concludes with an exhortation to filmmakers: “Isn’t it time Hollywood integrated faith into stories where it rightfully belongs? Why should such stories be excluded from the mainstream in a nation that’s filled with people of faith? If filmmakers do the right thing—and break the “God line”—they’ll find there are countless millions who’d cheer stories like that. And who’d pay to see them too.”

First AIDS, Now this? When Brett Shaad, of West Hollywood, Calif., got bacterial meningitis last week and died, it was a tragedy. But when officials said the disease could be transmitted sexually and that Shaad was openly homosexual, the news sent shudders through the homosexual community. Last Friday, Los Angeles County officials warned sexually active homosexual men to be aware of the disease. Health officials are doing tests to see if the strain of illness is similar to the meningococcal infections that have circulated among homosexuals in New York City since 2010. That disease has infected 22 people and has resulted in seven deaths. “We don’t want to panic people,” said West Hollywood Councilman John Duran. “But we learned 30 years ago the consequences of delay in the response to AIDS.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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