Whittier College is establishing the first “Baseball Reliquary” in the country and will be housed under the Religious Department, with a Professor of Religious Studies and everything. When I read about this at, where else, “Hardball Talk”, the first thing I did was look up Reliquary, to find out it meant a shrine, or place for relics. Curious huh?
The second thing that came to mind was Susan Sarandon’s role as Annie Savoy in “Bull Durham”. And whether you’re a religious zealot or an atheist or somewhere in between, Annie’s “I believe in the church of baseball” line will probably live forever;
“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. ……………I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul is the Church of Baseball.”
The third thing that came to mind was a memorable quote that I like so much I used it in my book, “Garlic Fries and Baseball”:
“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~ Al Gallagher, 1971”
Well, I get it. And I included an original poem in my book, “Dreams and Things” that explains how I get it, this baseball reliquary thing. Just so you know that I know the poem’s a little corny and I’d like to clarify I wasn’t always like this. But as I get a little older each year different things take on different meanings and I have to tell you, when I read how baseball’s popularity is fading, and it’s not long for this earth and it’s boring, I know there are those who “don’t get it”. It’s too bad, really, and right in the middle of the playoffs. Wouldn’t you know?
Here’s the last part of my poem:
“When in the end I realize,
The things that matter most in life,
Are those that bring fond memories
Of people, places, food and things,
Of God and family gatherings,
And Casey at the Bat.”
If there’s any way I could possibly justify taking that course at Whittier I’d do it in a New York minute! Baseball reliquary you say? Get in line folks ~this class is gonna fill up fast!