over the past six months or so, i have gone on a complete baseball book binge. i am in the early phases of doing extensive research on the topics of baseball and spirituality. i believe there are countless connections to be made between the two, and i hope to explore those intersections in the future. this is just a quick sampling, but for example…
- what can opening day in major league baseball teach us about our perspective of hope in the world?
- how does tradition influence both our fandom and how we understand God and how we approach Scripture?
- what can we learn about sacred space from ballparks like wrigley field and fenway park?
- what are blessings and curses, and what involvement does God have in them?
- how do faith and doubt get played out in our life as fans and as spiritual beings?
- theologically speaking, what is the importance of playing games like baseball at all?
- what is the role of storytelling in all of this? how do we tell stories and why are they necessary?
- what is the importance family systems and self-differentiation in the life of a baseball fan and as a human being?
- what role do myth and history play in both baseball and spiritual life?
- what can we learn about the importance of community and camaraderie from ballplayers and fans?
- does God even care about winning or losing?
as a seminary student, i’m right in the middle of my theological education, but i am working hard to educate myself on the game of baseball as well: histories, biographies, stories, movies, essays, fiction and non-fiction. if you follow me on twitter, you know that baseball is pretty much all i have anything to say anything about nowadays. (also, on a somewhat funny side note: i’ve lost 11 twitter followers in the past two weeks. october baseball has that effect, and i refuse to apologize about single mindedness.)
anyway. here’s what i need from you guys – resource suggestions. as you read the questions above, what books (theological or baseball-related) come to mind? what baseball memories do these questions conjure in your mind? or maybe you have other questions that i didn’t include here, what are they?
here’s a list of the baseball books i’ve already got in my initial arsenal…
The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract – Bill James
The Faith of 50 Million: Baseball, Religion and American Culture – Christopher H. Evens & William R. Herzog II
Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game – George Vecsey
The Machine – Joe Posnanski
The Soul of Baseball – Joe Posnanski
The Head Game – Baseball Seen from the Pitcher’s Mound – Roger Kahn
The Boys of Summer – Roger Kahn
Baseball as a Road to God – John Sexton
The Natural – Bernard Malamud
The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbauch
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis
The Universal Baseball Association Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. – Robert Coover
Shoeless Joe – W.P. Kinsella
The Physics of Baseball – Robert K. Adair, Ph.D.
The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told – Jeff Silverman
The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals and Secrets Beneath the Stitches – Zack Hample
30 Ballparks in 30 Days: A Journey from the Road – Travis Greene
Up, Up and Away: The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-Fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos – Jonah Keri (pre-ordered)
The Kevin Costner Baseball Trilogy
obviously this is nothing close to a completely holistic list, so which ones am i missing? so fellow baseball fans…what do i need to read? any favorites of yours? what major books am i leaving out?
…and ministry, theology, church friends…what resources would you recommend as i explore these questions?
thanks everyone. excited to see where this research goes!