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Friday, April 06, 2007

Opening Night

Thanks to some unplanned good fortune (h/t to MC) i was able to attend Opening Night ceremonies at the DBAP last night. First time in all my years in Durham that i've made it to the first game of the season. Saw a couple of skydivers floating in while we were waiting in line to enter. That was cool. Didn't catch if there were any special ceremonies announcing the naming of the playing field in honor of Jim Goodmon. I guess the official name is now the Goodmon Field at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which trips off the tongue about as awkwardly as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but i guess most people will still just say, "Hey, going to the Bulls game tonight?"

When we left, the Bulls were up 1-0, with a no-hitter working. (It was cold. We weren't dressed for the occasion.) Turns out they lost 2-1.

That's the breaks.

I did want to call attention to two items, though.

First, the new TV screen and advertisements on the Blue Monster in left field.

They suck.

Out loud.

From our seats behind third base the glare from the TV screen made the hand-operated scoreboard directly below it unreadable. I can't imagine what it's going to do to outfielders trying to play a carom. The ads also are poorly designed and reflect nothing of the long heritage of baseball stadium advertisements. This big a change could have and should have been done in a much more sensitive way that added to the ballpark experience, rather than just being revenue source.

Second, and this ties in with some of the discussion over at Atrios' today about religion and atheism.

I'm not much for organized religion. And generally speaking, i'm even less when it comes to public prayer. My daughter used to play judo, and every time we'd go to a tournament, sometimes driving 6 hours each way for the privilege of competing for less than 10 minutes, the tournament was almost always gotten underway with a solemn public prayer invoking the spirit of Jesus Christ to protect the competitors and bless the mats and what all. I guess they assumed there were no Jews since the tournaments generally took place on Saturdays, and no Muslims, since, well, it was North Carolina.

Public prayer almost always serves to highlight differences between people. And quite frankly, if your God is omnipotent, He's got a pretty good idea of what you need without your having to use a public address system to let Him know.

But one of the Bulls players read a prayer before the game last night (and i wish i knew which one. I'll do my best to find out and post an update) which i assume he had written himself. In it, he called on all the spectators to remember those who could not be in attendance, whether due to illness, infirmity, or poverty. He asked us to remember the sacrifices of loved ones far away from home, as well as the innocent victims of wars and conflicts. He reminded the the players and the fans how special it is to be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, including the great game of baseball. And he did it all without actually mentioning any deities.

If everyone who felt compelled to invoke the glory of the Lord in public for my benefit could speak so movingly, i might actually listen once in a while.



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