Just when you thought no one in te media could get dumber than our presidential candidates, here comes Colorado Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd claming God is helping the Rockies win.
"The team's chief executive is a born-again Christian. So is the general manager and the team coach. Their two star players, along with many other members of their regular line-up, are not only believers but attend team-organised Bible studies.
The team doesn't like to talk about it much – mainly because the overlords of Major League Baseball don't think it's good for business – but they have an explicit policy to recruit as many Christian ball players as they can.
In other words, the Rockies – uniquely, even in a country as religion-obsessed as America – play faith-based baseball. And, in their view, God just rewarded them – big time.
'You look at some of the moves we made and didn't make,' general manager Dan O'Dowd said in the only interview he has given on the subject, long before the Rockies' remarkable ascension over the past few weeks. 'You look at some of the games we're winning. Those aren't just a coincidence. God has definitely had a hand in this.'
Nothing strikes me as more colossally arrogant than to think the supreme creator of the universe cares whether or not you win a baseball game. It is even more arrogant to think that, were such a being to decide to influence our affairs, we could discern it. Worse yet, do we now have a falsifiable theory here? If God is working for the Rockies, should they not then win the World Series? If they lose, will O'Dowd admit he was mistaken? And what took God so long to get behind his team? After all, the Rockies have been a horrible team for many years. Why the sudden divine interest? Having the breaks go your way every season for say 20 of them would look divine. Having all the breaks go your way one year every 20 or so is just sports.
As bad as that it, it gets better. You'd think were God to covertly make a team win, he'd do so pretty subtly. Maybe give each player a slightly better swing, or more speed, or perhaps give just one ball a goofy bounce that works in their favor. But no, according to O'Dowd, God isn't subtle at all. He just has the refs goof a call:
"That line of Dan O'Dowd's about God having a hand in it may have been more prescient than he realised. Anyone familiar with that other, more widely known sporting 'hand of God' couldn't help notice the manner in which the Rockies clinched their tie-breaker against San Diego last Monday night.
The game was a thriller, the score see-sawing until the two sides were tied at six runs apiece after the regulation nine innings. San Diego eventually broke the game open with two runs in the top half of the 13th inning, only to see the Rockies bounce back with two runs of their own, leaving their star hitter, Matt Holliday, just 90ft away from victory at third base.
On the first pitch faced by the next batter, Holliday came tearing towards home plate and collided with the Padres' catcher, who had the ball in time to intercept him and get him out. But the ball flopped out of the catcher's hand, and the umpire quickly ruled Holliday safe. The run was in, the Rockies were up 9-8, and the game was over.
Except that the umpire appeared to have made the wrong call. Close inspection of the replay suggested Holliday never actually touched home plate, as the rules require, because the catcher's foot was in the way."
There you have it. God makes the Rockies win by causing the refs to screw up. In other words, he cheats. Great family values there. I just wonder how we are supposed to tell divine screw ups from normal referee screwups. Or perhaps this has been the problem all along. I've wondered for years how refs can so consistently blow big calls in big games. Now I have my answer: The Dev, er, God, made them do it.
"When Charlie Monfort, the chief executive, talked to USA Today, he was even more explicit about what it means to be blessed with divine favour. 'I don't want to offend anyone,' he said, 'but I think character-wise we're stronger than anyone in baseball. Christians, and what they've endured, are some of the strongest people in baseball. I believe God sends signs, and we're seeing those.'
Well, let's hope the Red Sox sweep these arrogant fools, and see what sort of sign they decide that is. [Hat tip Pharyngula]