Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Saturday, April 21, 2012
The springtime class had its genesis in the challenge of a skeptic. In the 1998-99 school year, an N.Y.U. law student presented himself to Dr. Sexton to say, “I understand you’re a real baseball fan, and I don’t get it.” Dr. Sexton, invoking the words of his own long-ago mentor at Brooklyn Prep, replied: “Then you are among the great unwashed. But there is hope for your soul.”
By means of evangelism, Dr. Sexton oversaw an independent-study project for the law student, assigning him 10 books about baseball and theology. Word of mouth around campus led more students to ask for a similar tutorial. Dr. Sexton instead devised an entire class, and made it available to undergraduates.
[And the metaphor of baseball as religion, in Dr. Sexton’s hands, is a long way from the cornball claptrap about stadiums being “green cathedrals.” Over the current semester, the students are reading and discussing the work of theologians and cultural historians like Abraham Joshua Heschel, Michael Novak, Robert N. Bellah and Johan Huizinga alongside novels and reportage by literary chroniclers of baseball like Robert Coover, W. P. Kinsella and Doris Kearns Goodwin. (Dr. Sexton is distilling his own ruminations into a book, “Baseball as a Road to God,” which will be published in early 2013.)
Best. Class. Ever.
for his generous support.
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