Angels in the Outfield (1951) was written by Jesuit Richard Grady (pen name “Richard Conlin”) and the 1994 remake with Danny Glover is one of the best baseball movies ever (along with Sandlot and Field of Dreams). Grady’s story telling was a great way to get “religious” realities in front of the minds and hearts of people, and from there one can accompany people as they come to appreciate and deepen the truths of faith. His story has lasted and has had more impact than most theology being published in the 1950s.
Sports have become such a huge aspect of peoples’ culture and lives. The challenge is to relate the realities of our faith to sports, while keeping both in their proper sphere, and keeping both in perspective. To name a team “Padres” or “Angels” is more helpful than prudishly separating ourselves from these arenas wherein people live and move and find some aspects of their being. St. Ignatius taught us to “seek and find God in all things.” Why not in sports?
P.S. I must admit in 2009, I was praying for the Phillies, and the Damn Yankees winning (again!) really makes me wonder where Jesus was during Game Six! We all live with mysteries.