know people who believe May is the most spiritual month of the
For them, the spirituality of May surpasses the spiritual
life of Christmas in December or Easter in March or April. May
is the month when they lose themselves in ritual and worship,
when they gather in cathedrals to share their faith.
Their spiritual life is immersed and saturated in baseball.
They believe May is when baseball season gets down to business.
I do not share their beliefs.
My memories of baseball stretch back to my father dragging me
outdoors each spring and pitching to me. It was supposed to be
an opportunity for me to practice batting, but I remember
spending more time sneezing than perfecting my swing.
One summer when I was a teenager I played on a slow-pitch,
16-inch softball team. I was the pitcher and we won the
championship. For me, our achievement meant only one thing; I
never intended to play again.
I think I have attended a baseball game about once every ten
years or so, sometimes under duress.
I have no love for baseball. There are many aspects of the
sport I either do not understand or find ironic.
For example, the best possible result for a batter is to end
up exactly where you started.
A baseball field only has boundaries on two sides. On the
other sides nothing is out of bounds.
There is no regulation length of a game, and no time limit.
The “season” is more than six months long, which does not
even include spring training.
Is it really a sport when the people who are actually playing
in a game spend more time sitting down than on the field?
It bothers me when baseball managers wear the same uniforms
as the players. Football, basketball, and hockey coaches do not
wear their teams' uniforms.
All those obscure statistics which only have initials.
People play outdoors, but even a few drops of rain can delay,
or even stop, the whole game.
Football is more in line with the history of the United
States: long committee meetings interrupted by periods of
Basketball is more consistent with our values as a country:
ten people who are in excellent physical condition getting
exercise, surrounded by thousands of people who need more
exercise but are sitting and eating unhealthy food.
Even people I know who are contemplative think baseball “can
be a little slow.”
The only time anything interesting happens in a baseball game
is while I am getting something to eat or drink.
There is one part of baseball which even I find deeply
spiritual. When the weather is just right, on one of those
perfect May afternoon, sitting in the stands with a great craft
beer and a Dodger dog.
The action on the field does not always capture my attention
and I often find myself distracted by other thoughts. I do not
remember anything particular about games in which I played or
those I have seen.
I do remember it was at a baseball game where I bought my
first beer. It was not a craft beer, and might have been before
there was any craft beer. I was fifteen years old, doing my best
to look eighteen, and apparently got away with it.
If you get the opportunity, I encourage you to spend a
perfect May afternoon in the sun at a baseball game. Enjoy a hot
dog and a great craft beer. They are easier to find now than the
summer I was fifteen.
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena,
California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and
monks and monastic life. Greg has served as an assistant
district attorney and an associate university professor. Greg’s
website is StrategicMonk.com
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com
and he writes a blog for the Contemplative