One of my issues with the Faith Night is that it's targeted exclusively to Christians. If the league is going to do events like this, I want equal time for other faiths.
The Nationals say that they don't want to exclude anyone and that the Lerner family, the team's owners, who are observant Jews, are particularly sensitive to any use of religion that might alienate fans. Burnett says the club would happily stage events for any denomination.
But that misses the point: Baseball is a secular church, an elaborate belief system with its own symbols, martyrs and gods. As Michael Novak has written, sports offer rituals and liturgies, "teach religious qualities of heart and soul," and provide significance and order to our lives.
Or, as Annie Savoy, the character Susan Sarandon played in "Bull Durham," put it: "I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball."