Get creative, Catholics!

As you may have seen yesterday, some Catholics in Detroit are upset that the Tigers’ home opener will take place on Good Friday:

“It’s sort of an insult for Catholics,” said Michael Ochab, a 47-year-old Tigers fan. He said he’ll miss his first opener in 20 years this year to attend services at St. Florian Catholic Church in Hamtramck. “I’m still hoping the Tigers will change the time” . . .

. . . The Rev. Ed Vilkauskas of downtown Detroit’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church said the game at nearby Comerica Park will keep people from services.

“Nobody is saying baseball isn’t big, but Good Friday is really big,” Vilkauskas told The Detroit News. “It’s 2,000 years old.”

I’m really disappointed with the Catholics. Used to be that when everyone enjoyed something they didn’t care for they’d schedule some big event at the same time in order to co-opt it. You know, like Christmas or Easter or something. Sure, my pagan friends complain about how that cheated them out of their solstice and stuff, but you gotta give the marketing guys down at the church office some credit for moxy and creativity. Now? It’s just complain, complain, complain.

How about this: move Good Friday to Monday — there aren’t nearly as many Monday games scheduled — and go with a baseball theme for an 11 AM Friday Mass. You’ll really increase the gate that way. It’s called synergy, people!

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

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Comments

  1. mch said...

    Craig – don’t count on the music being better, you’ll be listening to Madonna nonstop.  For comedy, you’ll be stuck with Phil Mahr – and when was the last time he was funny … or relevant.

    As for baseball, Bud Selig and company step in it again.  Baseball’s concern for fans is at an all time low.

  2. ditmars1929 said...

    Craig, I know you’re just trying to be cute, but I don’t come to your site to read lame ass cheap shots at my religion, so knock it off and stick to sports if you please.

    Bob, just so you know, I have a very good sense of humor.  This just wasn’t funny.

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    mch—Legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his talent and fame.  Sucks for him, and it would suck for me if I end up with him, but at least it beats Madonna. As for comedy: George Carlin used to end his set by demanding that God strike him down if he truly existed and when he didn’t get zapped, said some disrespectful thing or another.  Carlin always cracked me up, so that’ll be good too.  The way I see it, the only really great artist I’d be missing out on is John Coltrane, and while that’s a loss, I’ll have Miles Davis, so it balances it out.

    As for baseball’c concerns for its fans, again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful here, but I am certain that a freezing cold night game would inconvenience more non-religious Tigers’ fans than the currently scheduled Good Friday day game will inconveneince devout ones.  I will be shocked if the game isn’t a sellout and if TV and radio ratings aren’t as high as they usually are for home openers.

    Maybe that’s a sad comment on our society and maybe it isn’t, but I think it’s an accurate picture of where we find ourselves.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Ditmars—sorry if I offended.  Sorrier if I wasn’t funny.  I have this feeling, however, that the Catholic church will survive my cheap shots.

    Update: and to be clear, because I have this feeling that others may feel the way Ditmars does—you will never see me mock someone’s faith.  I may mock a man-made religious organization from time to time, but I respect the faith of others even if I don’t share it. 

  5. The Common Man said...

    First, don’t ever badmouth synergy.  Second, this mackerel-snapper loves the idea of solemnly contemplating the miracle of Christ’s death and resurrection, as well as the beautiful ebb and flow of the universe, at the ballpark.  For surely, baseball was divinely inspired.  But, of course, Good Friday is meant to be a solemn time of reflection, respect, and awe.  Better, then, to hold Good Friday services at the park before the game (or during).  It’s not like the Tigers are going to be doing anything worth cheering about anyway.

    http://www.the-common-man.com

  6. Jeff said...

    I had a good laugh at this post.  But as the child of 2 hippies, I have no religion to speak of, and take very little offense with much of anything.

    I agree though, if the Tigers scheduled a night game in the 2nd week of April, holy hell would people be upset.  They would be saying the same things about baseball not caring about its fans. The team is in a no win situation here.

    Also, the product on the field should be much better during the day with the likes of Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera not trying to play baseball in parkas and woolen hats!

  7. Jacob Rothberg said...

    Appearing in Cinemas WORLDWIDE the film you’ve all been waiting for ANGELS & SHYSTERS. Watch a thrilling tail as a seemingly mild-mannered baseball wonk delves deep into the secret relationship between Major League Baseball and the Catholic Church. Exposing secret rites and enlightening us to connections that lead all the way to the Big Man himself, BUD SELIG!!!

  8. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    How to boost pageviews:

    1) insult religion
    2) insult race
    3) insult Yanks and/RedSox
    4) insult political affiliation
    5) insult sexual orientation

    The order above might not be wholly accurate.

  9. GBS said...

    How’s this, Jason?

    Let’s talk about Magglio Ordonez’s support for Hugo Chavez.  I also hear he secretly wants to play for the Yankees or Red Sox and has a crush on Mike Piazza, because of the latter’s Italian machismo.

  10. alkaline said...

    If you’re going to be sarcastic and try to offend people, you should at least be funny. You failed at the funny part. Let’s stick to writing about baseball.

  11. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jason—you forgot the part about posting pictures of scantilly-clad women.  That really drives Google Image searches.

    While I’m commenting again, I feel it necessary to add a bit more depth to this.  Yes, I am being cutesy with this post, but my original inspiration for making it was the mild confusion I felt at the complaints set forth in the article to begin with.  I just shared this sentiment with someone offline, but I’ll reproduce it here for general consumption:

    Though I’m off in the wilderness now, I had a Catholic upbringing.  I can’t necessarily extrapolate what kind of Catholic I’d be as an adult, but I think my former religious temperment (and my parents’ religious temperment) would have counseled me that sacrificing things I normally enjoy in the name of my faith is a better course than complaining that I may have to miss out on something, which is what I think is going on here. 

    Maybe it’s infantile of me to think of it in these terms, but I view this thing about the Tigers game like complaining about McDonalds having a 99 cent special on Big Macs on a Friday during lent.  The whole point is to give something up.  Personally, baseball is way more important to me than meat, so wouldn’t I welcome the test to my faith that a Good Friday game presents?  Wouldn’t a single baseball game be pretty insignificant in the face of my faith?  Why should I care what the Tigers do?

    But like I said, I’m a little messed up with this stuff.

  12. matt said...

    I’m not accusing anyone of East Coast bias here, but for everyone deriding the Tigers’ as the only team with a game during those sacred hours, maybe they should look at the schedule more closely.  The Phillies and Rockies play at 4:05 eastern in Colorado on good Friday.  My math skills aren’t what they once were (law school will do that to a fellow), but I’m fairly certain that game will begin at 2:05 local time.  From this I can draw two possible conclusions: 1) The East coast is the only relevant part of America in the minds of the media, or 2) Not only was Jesus an English-speaking Caucasian (thank you American stereotypes), He also lived (or at least died) somewhere between Maine and Florida.

  13. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    @GBS: That’s good stuff!

    Craig, sorry you have to go this far to explain yourself, your upbringing.  If some don’t like or appreciate your attempt at levity, so what?  Don’t let it get under your skin, lest you become ARod-esque in wanted everyone to like you!

    People just get waaayyy too uptight when the issue of religion is raised.

  14. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jason—it’s not under my skin.  I actually enjoy conversations like these. I know I’m not supposed to due to the whole religon/politics rule, but my view is that as long as everyone is playing nice, everything is fair game.

  15. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    This reminds me of how the Red Sox “banned” beer sales on Good Friday in 1998, as if they sold more beer than hot chocolate or coffee in early April.

  16. BT123 said...

    Craig’s almost never funny, almost as a rule. So that’s not the issue here.

    But his sentiment is spot-on more generally. I am an observant Christian, and I am someone who loves baseball way more than I should. Given a conflict between the two, I’d choose the religious service and then pray in gratitude that I live in a place where my hard decisions involve whether to attend a religious service or the greatest game ever invented.

  17. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    So “Michael Ochab, a 47-year-old Tigers fan”, will you be insulted when there’s a game on Yom Kippur?  What will you call the complaints of those affected?

  18. YankeesfanLen said...

    Now Jason is bringing up A(leave him alone)Rod. Craig, I have a similar religous upbringing and the obvious point is- don’t they have Saturday afternoon confessions in Hamtramck anymore?

  19. Craig Calcaterra said...

    “Cool!  Now I can’t wait to see your jokes denigrating Jews on Yom Kippur!”

    You’ll never see that, just like you’ll never see me denigrating Catholics.  I will, however, denigrate their complaints that baseball is insensitive for scheduling something that they believe offends their religion.

    Sandy Koufax or Shawn Green not playing on Yom Kippur was a beautiful and noble thing.  If Sandy Koufax and Shawn Green had instead complained loudly about baseball scheduling a game on Yom Kippur, I would offer the same criticisms I offer here.

  20. DavidB said...

    Cool!  Now I can’t wait to see your jokes denigrating Jews on Yom Kippur!

    And for the record, it’s not “Catholics complaining”, it was a lame article in a failing mainstream media rag.  I live in Detroit, I’m Catholic, and I follow baseball….but I heard nothing about this until yesterday. 

    In fact, I don’t know anybody under the age of 30 who reads the Detroit News or Free Press.  (THT, InfoWars.com, and Reason.com for me.)

    So this is a faux controversy.  Relax, chief.

    And let’s not kid ourselves: Americans’ “faith” is all fake anyway.  We call ourselves Christian and then cheer while 1.3 million+ Arabs are murdered.  Most of the Dixie Chick CD-burning Evangelicals can’t site any Biblical passages except for the Leviticus passage on homosexuality.  So I don’t think that MLB is too nervous about losing business.

  21. DavidB said...

    Sandy Koufax or Shawn Green not playing on Yom Kippur was a beautiful and noble thing. 

    Settle down, old timer.  I don’t think that those two dudes want you slobbering all over them.  (Although from what I hear about Koufax, I don’t think that he’d mind!)

  22. Craig Calcaterra said...

    “(Although from what I hear about Koufax, I don’t think that he’d mind!)”

    Really?  Man, I had never heard that.

  23. GBS said...

    @DavidB – “Americans’ ‘faith’ is all fake anyway.”  Thanks for the stereotype.  I love it when somebody else tells me what I know and think.

  24. Pizza Cutter said...

    My father once said one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard anyone say.  “Religion without a sense of humor is the most dangerous thing in the world.”  I fully expect that when I get to the other side, God will be chuckling about us humans.  We’ve gotta look kinda silly from God’s point of view.

  25. MooseinOhio said...

    Craig – What’s the record for the most responses to a post?  Is this one even close to getting the most hits?  If not, I’m sure someone can drop another grenade or two to stir up some more folks.  DavidB did his best to rile up three of Jason’s five categories with the Yom Kippur, Dixie Chick and Koufax comments.  Maybe I can drop an immigration comments in to get some more traffic.

  26. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Moose—There wer 42 comments to the Longoria/Lord of the Rings piece on Friday, and there were 66 (or maybe more) to a piece in the past couple of weeks, though I’m forgetting which one that was.

  27. Kevin said...

    Craig,

    I completely understand what you are saying, and am rather disappointed with such a “PC” community. People really don’t know how to take jokes, instead we think of ways that we are offended and complain. I grew up Catholic (Atheist Now), and majority of my family is Catholic. It is funny how people complain, should baseball be non-secular? Should it respect every religions “special days”? If so, when could we play baseball? I am sorry it happens to fall on someone’s day of reflection, but the whole world doesn’t stop to accommodate, otherwise that would be selfish.

  28. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    What if the Angels were playing on Good Friday?  Or the Padres?  Would that put them in God’s graces more than another team?

    Padres vs. Angels on Good Friday.  This one’s for ETERNITY!

  29. Brandon Isleib said...

    @ Jason @ IIATMS:

    Coming up midweek: the Giants of Charlton play host to the Titans of Ipswich, making them both seem normal size.

    - from a sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Look

  30. Jacob Rothberg said...

    @Jason @ IIATMS
    really shouldn’t it be the Angels vs. the Rays (nee Devil) on Good Friday… This one’s for our SOULS!!!

  31. Jacob Rothberg said...

    Seriously though, if there has ever been a bigger tempest in a tea kettle than this I’d like to see it. In other words, let’s keep the absurdity on the rise as it is the only fitting response to something this farcical.

  32. Will said...

    Just for the record there’s no mass on Good Friday. On Good Friday there are only Communion services using hosts consecrated at the Holy Thursday mass.

    In any case, having missed the Rockies first-ever home opener because it was on Good Friday, I don’t think that there’s any insult intended. MLB isn’t a religious institution, they aren’t under any obligation to schedule ball games in accordance with Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, or any other calendar. I agree with BT123, if that’s the hardest choice you have to make on Good Friday, you’re in pretty good shape.

  33. Bob Timmermann said...

    There have been baseball games played on Good Friday quite frequently since Opening Day was pushed back into April (or sometimes March). It’s just the nature of the calendar.

    FWIW, Notre Dame is playing a baseball game on Good Friday, although it’s in the evening and it’s on the road at Cincinnati.

    I would imagine that most Catholic college programs are playing on Good Friday since they really don’t have much leeway in scheduling games with the abbreviated college baseball seasons.

  34. Jake (San Diego) said...

    “Though I’m off in the wilderness now, I had a Catholic upbringing.  I can’t necessarily extrapolate what kind of Catholic I’d be as an adult, but I think my former religious temperment (and my parents’ religious temperment) would have counseled me that sacrificing things I normally enjoy in the name of my faith is a better course than complaining that I may have to miss out on something, which is what I think is going on here. 

    Maybe it’s infantile of me to think of it in these terms, but I view this thing about the Tigers game like complaining about McDonalds having a 99 cent special on Big Macs on a Friday during lent.  The whole point is to give something up.  Personally, baseball is way more important to me than meat, so wouldn’t I welcome the test to my faith that a Good Friday game presents?  Wouldn’t a single baseball game be pretty insignificant in the face of my faith?  Why should I care what the Tigers do?”

    This is the golden stuff that should have been in the original post.  I agree completely.  AMEN, and well said, C.C.  (or is it CC?)

  35. Jake (San Diego) said...

    “Though I’m off in the wilderness now, I had a Catholic upbringing.  I can’t necessarily extrapolate what kind of Catholic I’d be as an adult, but I think my former religious temperment (and my parents’ religious temperment) would have counseled me that sacrificing things I normally enjoy in the name of my faith is a better course than complaining that I may have to miss out on something, which is what I think is going on here. 

    Maybe it’s infantile of me to think of it in these terms, but I view this thing about the Tigers game like complaining about McDonalds having a 99 cent special on Big Macs on a Friday during lent.  The whole point is to give something up.  Personally, baseball is way more important to me than meat, so wouldn’t I welcome the test to my faith that a Good Friday game presents?  Wouldn’t a single baseball game be pretty insignificant in the face of my faith?  Why should I care what the Tigers do?”

    This is the golden stuff that should have been in the original post.  I agree completely.  AMEN, and well said, C.C.  (or is it CC?)

  36. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jake—this is the beauty of blogging vs. standard column writing and the critical importance of good comments sections.  If I were writing a column, I’d have whatever idea I came up with—probably a bloated version of my jokey original post—and that would have been that.

    The deeper sentiment you quoted never would have occurred to me (or, wouldn’t have occured to me in anything approaching a timely manner) if it weren’t for the comments of others in the thread.  Because I had their benefit, I could think deeper, reflect, and retrench, eventually providing something of greater value, as has everyone else in this thread.

    So two thumbs up for interactivity.

  37. Jacob Rothberg said...

    Further to the absurdity, I might be an ignorant Canadian, but is there really a place called Hamtramck? How would one even go about pronouncing that mouthful of consonants?

  38. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Jacob—it’s a Detroit suburb (well, it’s an inner municipality surrounded by Detroit).  Very Polish/Catholic.  It’s pronounced Ham-TRAM-ick.

    Or at least that’s how I have always pronounced it.

  39. a person said...

    Craig, don’t let these Yahweh lovers poison a wonderful game like baseball.  If anything, this conflict might bring in to focus the opportunity cost of weekly church attendance – namely, 52xcommutex1 hour.  If you you are Jesus person, just go ahead and remove the ethernet cord from your computer since your feelings are about to get way more hurt on the internet.

  40. Grant Hamming said...

    wow, when I first read the original article I knew this would be an opportunity for a lot of hand-wringing and bliovating. Never been more right in my life. People need to simmer down a bit. I’d be more pissed if MLB was getting involved with a lot of kowtowing to and bending over backwards for religions. But then again I’m barely a Unitarian, so what do I know?

  41. Sara K said...

    FWIW, I thought it was funny.

    And one of the Wahoo threads made 70 comments, if I remember correctly.

  42. Will said...

    Speaking as a Jesus Person, I think your math is wrong, “a person.”
    52 * my commute (10 minutes)* 60 minutes is 31,200 minutes or 21 days.
    I think it should be 52 * (2*Commute + service time).
    For my 10 minute commute and 1 hour service, that works out to 4160 minutes or 2.9 days. Not counting Holy Days of Obligation and other days when I attend church, probably another half a day. Which is not much of a cost, particularly in the terms of Pascal’s Wager.

  43. RoyceTheBaseballHack said...

    You know, as a practicing Catholic and lover of baseball, I find this entire issue very frustrating.  Since we’re kind of inflicting our own slant on this topic, I’ll offer this:  I personally try to take Good Friday off work and spend the day at home – shampooing my carpets. I find few things more reverent than housecleaning (they exist..just not many of them).  Some years, like this one, the demands of my profession dictate that I won’t get to take the day off. So, I’ll practice my faith and project my devotion to God in other ways. I can do this – all practicing Christians can do this. There are a million ways to do this. I know the liquor store will be open for business around 9:00. I won’t be there.  My favorite guitar store opens at 10:00. I won’t be there. The Harley dealer I hang out at opens at 8:30. They won’t see me on Good Friday.  It happens to be my Rangers playing at the sacred hour in Detroit on Good Friday, and even if I were at home behind my carpet shampooer, I wouldn’t have the game on. So – is it my place to practice my faith, and display my observance to it with my own actions, or wield a stick and bash the crap out of everyone in society who, for some unearthly reason, feels the need to insult my beliefs by being open for business?  Christ said it best folks, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Give to God that which is God’s.”  In case I’ve danced around my point too loosely, here it is: If Good Friday is important to you, observe it.    Go see one of the other 80 home games this season.

  44. a person said...

    Not to belabor this argument on a baseball blog too much longer, but anyone coming back to me defending their faith with Pascal’s Wager deserves a great deal of scorn for not being familiar with any number of the arguments that blow it to bits.

    And, lol, obviously commute meant total commute.  What else would I mean?

  45. Will said...

    “A person”, the problem wasn’t the total commute, the problem was your multiplication! One doesn’t multiply the commute by the time at church, work, ballgames, or whatever, in order to figure out how much time has elapsed. The commute time needs to be added to the event time and then multiplied by the number of occurrences. It’s simple mathematics.

    As for Pascal, that was merely a short-hand allusion to the simplest cost-benefit calculation, which is exactly what your utilitarian opportunity cost was.

  46. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Well said, Royce. 

    PS: If you still have that shampooer rented thru Saturday, can you swing by?

  47. RoyceTheBaseballHack said...

    You know, Jason – the real issue isn’t the rental deadline(and, actually… as the owner of two large dogs, I did a cost/benefit analysis on it long ago, and just bought my own..), it’s that my Lenten Vow of sobriety expires at sunset Saturday. After that, I have an obligation to Western Civilization to NOT operate machinery, of any kind, until I sober up.

  48. Melody said...

    “God is a comedian playing to an audience that’s too afraid to laugh.” —Voltaire …

    gotta agree with Pizza Cutter’s dad, who said that religion without a sense of humor is the most dangerous thing in the world.  I understand that we all have those things that offend us or hit the wrong way.  But I do think it’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves. It can be a way of bridging those gaps that otherwise divide us.  I thought Craig’s “joke” was really pretty mild.

    I think it’s funny when groups get angry about jokes that really serve to emphasize who they really are and the strength of their beliefs… for example, the reason “move Good Friday to Monday” is funny is because it’s so ridiculous.  Of course that would never happen, because it’s a sacred day that’s considered very important by Christians.  It reminds me of a Simpsons joke… they were showing “Super Bowl commercials,” one of which showed a guy pulling into a gas station in a red convertible, which was quickly surrounded by scantily clad women dancing around the car, etc.  The camera then zooms toward one woman, showing that she has a cross around her neck.  The voiceover says, “The Catholic Church: We’ve made a few changes.”  Hilarious!  The reason it’s funny is that Catholics would obviously never countenance such a “change.”  If the “ad” was for beer, it wouldn’t have been funny.  It’s the ridiculousness of that juxtaposition that makes it funny.  But, of couse, lots of people were offended. 

    Anyway, I’ve rambled far too long smile

  49. Jacob Rothberg said...

    @ Melody
    In a discussion about Religion, as in most things, there is really only one thing to say to that: Simpsons reference FTW!!!

  50. TC said...

    I would like to thank Jason and Royce, primarily, for making this thread worth reading. 

    I’m a practicing, uh, religious guy.  Grew up Episcopalian, hold Lutheran beliefs, am a registered Presbyterian (USA), and mostly attend services at either a non-denominational, or a Catholic church.  The point is, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the Bible and church history and all that, and can actually tell you what the difference is between PCA and PCUSA churches are, why Catholics are protestants, too, and a whole bunch of other stuff. 

    And I have never, ever, understood all the hostility over jokes.  Some Muslims got upset over a political cartoon a couple of years ago.  Walter Sobchek gets upset about questioning the legitimacy of his Judaism.  And Christians everywhere get hot and bothered about… well, everything.  Evolution, lately (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/03/26/breaking-news-science-wins-in-texas-barely/).

    The religious types just need to chill out, I think.

  51. Bob Sacco said...

    Smart and down right LOL postings like this are why I look forward to reading your blog each day. You should be writing for ESPN (no offense to hardballtimes.com). However, I hope you are wearing a hat today, because I’m guessing that the sense-of-humor challenged among us will rain down their righteous indignation on your head for making jokes about Good Friday. But hey, funny is funny.

    BobS

  52. GBS said...

    Okay, I’m not going to get riled up by the “move Good Friday to Monday” comment.  It’s an absurd attempt at humor, and I’ll leave it at that.

    What I don’t get is the “It’s sort of an insult for Catholics” comment.  Um, what about the rest of the members of the Christian faith?  This conflict isn’t just a Catholic concern.  Christ died for everyone.

  53. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Bob—Thanks.  As a proud agnostic/lapsed Catholic with primarily Jewish relatives and various nuns and stuff floating around the extended family, I’m pretty used to being on the defensive when it comes to this stuff so the hard hat is always at the ready.

    GBS—Good point on the range of the insult. My agnosticism notwithstanding, I have a lot of respect for people of faith, and find it mildly troubling when folks elevate the rituals and mechanics of their specific religious institutions above that which is to be revered, worshipped, whatever in the first place.  Is the complaint here that a day that many hold sacred is also hosting baseball, or is it that one sect’s particular service is being messed with? 

    Crowhop: I don’t know if there’s a heaven, hell, or purgatory, but if it’s like most people imagine it, I at least know that the music will be better wherever I’m going.

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