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The moral circus of major league baseball

Three pitchers show the way, while one shows the path to avoid

Blake Treinen throws a pitch on July 18, 2021, in Denver. Associated Press/Photo by David Zalubowski

The moral circus of major league baseball
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We’re only a few days into June and the Spring/Summer temperatures are surely warming up, especially the cultural tempest around “Pride Month” and the way a few major league baseball players have responded. Some stood heroically, while others collapsed with total surrender.

On May 22, 2023, the Los Angeles Dodgers posted on social media a now-infamous apology to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a pro-LGBT activist organization known for producing degrading and satirical performances of the Christian religion, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. The team’s apology followed a backlash about the group initially being uninvited to the Dodgers’ Pride Night on June 16, 2023.

The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, a Cy Young award-winning pitcher and professing Christian, denounced the decision to honor the group, stating, “This is simply a group that was making fun of a religion. … As a follower of Christ, we’re supposed to love everybody well.”

Furthermore, Dodgers’ pitcher Blake Treinen posted his 2 cents about the decision of his employer: “This group openly mocks Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of my faith, and I want to make it clear that I do not agree with nor support the decision” to honor the profane activist group. Kershaw and Treinen were not alone as they weighed in on the matter. Trevor Williams, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, also stated on Twitter that to “invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion … undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization.”

Now, these responses are clearly grounded in truth, love, and respect for fellow human beings made in the image of God. In fact, Kershaw, Treinen, and Williams seem to be following the principle of the Golden Rule—as spoken by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount.

When our Christian convictions inevitably meet opposition, will we let the mob bring us to our knees and force us to live a lie?

The pitchers’ responses, while in disagreement with the team’s announcement, were not disrespectful toward the Dodgers organization or the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Kershaw, Treinen, and Williams were not shooting from the hip with an equally hateful knee-jerk response, nor are they moved to denounce those who would disagree with them. These men, based upon Scripture, are standing by their biblical convictions and noting what is truly wrong and immoral in the Dodgers’ predicament. These ballplayers, with a vested interest in the reputation of the name of Christ and major league baseball, are publicly calling the Dodgers to stand by their original plan to uninvite the Sisters. And rightly so.

Sadly, the Dodgers gave in to the demands of the LGBT community.

Meanwhile in Canada, pitcher Anthony Bass, of the Toronto Blue Jays shared a video onto his personal Instagram feed offering favorable views about the recent boycott of Target and Bud Light. In no time at all, social media erupted against Bass, ultimately leading him to apologize.

Bass stated, “I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine. I am truly sorry for that … as of right now I am using the Blue Jays' resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward. The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark. We want to welcome everybody.”

Now, before the dust settles, it’s important to take a step back and note the response from Bass. Did he actually do anything wrong? Is there anything about his point of view that demands an apology? In the offending video, Bass seems to lay a foundation as to why he believes it’s wrong to shop at Target, or drink Bud Light, based upon their products and corporate trajectory. And Bass believes, rightly, that their trajectories are wrong and biblically immoral.

But dissenters took to social media and made their voices heard, loud enough for Bass’ employer to pay attention. It’s apparent that someone in the Blue Jays organization believes that Bass’ actions could have a negative effect on their brand and their business, and they forced their pitcher to recant.

Sadly, like the Dodgers, Bass stood down. He blinked. He caved. He surrendered. He did the very thing one cannot do if one is going to stand for Christ in this age. Doing what he did brings reproach to the name of Christ, violates his conscience, and sends a message to others that forced conformity to the company line is the way to play the game.

When our Christian convictions inevitably meet opposition, will we let the mob bring us to our knees and force us to live a lie? Or will we speak the truth in love because the truth alone sets us free?

Cheston Pickard

Cheston Pickard serves as discipleship pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

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