David Bentley Hart: On the Metaphysical Meaning of Baseball

As I post this, I’m riding home from a minor league baseball game with my family. I got a few free days to go visit for the Fourth of July and we went out to the ballpark tonight. To prepare for the outing, I listened to an audio recording of the above article as I drove home last night. I was not disappointed. An oldie, but a goodie.



On a more perceptible, purely physical level, baseball is the only sport I can play - mostly because it involves a lot of standing around.


So that’s what a holiday in the US feels like :grinning: glad to hear you are enjoying some quality time padre.

1 Like

Who said, “I’m not an athlete, I’m a baseball player!”


On a related note, I have wondered if the Jewish love of baseball has to do with its being a sport that requires keen intelligence every bit as much as, if not more than, physical power and strength. I admire this. I’m not really a fan, but I like baseball and I respect it. (No, I’m not Jewish.)

I was in my mid-fifties before I ever went to a professional baseball game (minor league). Loved it!

1 Like

There are few spectacles in sport as splendid and pitiable as the batter defiantly poised before all that endless openness.

No other game, moreover, is so mercilessly impossible to play well or affords so immense a scope for inevitable failure.

And yet, with the first rumor of spring, the idiot will is revived, the conatus essendi stirs out of the darkness, tanha awakens and pulls us back into the illusory world of hope and longing, and the cycle resumes.

First, there is simply its undeniable element of Edenic nostalgia: that longing for innocence, guileless play, the terrestrial paradise—a longing it both evokes and soothes.

Both have their places. It could be argued that golf, like the spiritual life, is greatly diminished if played as a spectator sport. Baseball works fine either way (provided no parents are allowed near the dugouts).

You left out,

No other game is so interminably boring to watch.



Most years, we actually end up with the high end tickets to the Shriners’ Open, but only go to the closing ceremony (my daughter is one of their ambassadors, and they fixed her 108 degree :scream: scoliosis. So they have kids there to greet the winners, which she’d done, but being past childhood, she largely chats with their VIPS and such about her experiences).

Fortunately, I didn’t have to watch any golf for them to take her in . , ,. :scream::astonished::exploding_head:

(we have the tickets because most years handing those to us is the easiest way for them to get us in for the ceremonies. There are also some other events that she’s helped with).


Baseball is a truly beautiful game. There is a reason why it became so popular among Catholic and Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century.


Any game is boring to watch if you don’t understand it, baseball most of all.


Cristiano Ronaldo is amazing to watch even if you don’t understand anything about soccer. Same goes for every discipline of athletics :grinning:

A lady who’s a golf person?? The surprises never cease…

*Lionel Messi.


And ironically pro baseball “athletes” are the highest paid of the four major sports.

Full transparency: I hate baseball.

Dude, I wish you were my parish priest. We’d go to so many baseball games together.


I am not a golf person, but my aunt was a devoted golf person. (Not fanatical, as she realized not everyone shared her love of the game.) She was apparently very good with the younger golfers, blunt but very positive. I insisted our twins try the game, though, since if they like it they’ll have a sport they can play until they are very old duffers, lol. They do like playing and don’t mind the frustrations of it.

This is very true, if you have the patience to watch that long.
He has a reputation as a world-class flopper, too, though, lol:

I never would have guessed, lol.


Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.
Leo Durocher


In fact he doesn’t. Any competent medical doctor or physical therapist would tell you that recurring injuries have a delicate management. Modern sports medicine advises players to “get off their feet” immediately if they feel specific kinds of pain because any insistence (or ignoring the pain) will exponentially increase lesion recovery time. Those are the best practices all intelligent players in modern teams follow. FYI.

He may not deserve it, but he totally has that reputation. It is a recurring joke.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

“One of the most complete floppers in the world, no doubt.”

Until someone hits the ball in your general direction. And then you could have beautiful displays like these:

The highest paid player in baseball right now is Mike Trout, who is only the seventeenth highest paid athlete in the world. There’s also only four baseball players in the top 50. (And I don’t even think it would be a problem if they were. I’m just pointing out that they aren’t the highest paid.)

With that said, baseball does have some money problems. To quote Moneyball:

Baseball is great live. It’s not as good on TV. A lot of it has to do with the announcers. Good announcers make it more enjoyable. Bad ones get muted and the game is watched while listening to music. If it’s not a local team baseball is difficult to watch on TV. There has to be a rooting interest. If the local team is no good it’s difficult to watch on TV. In contrast football is great on TV. Its better on TV than live. Even without a rooting interest or with a bad local team football is still enjoyable on TV. College, NFL it’s all good. The announcers aren’t as important in football as in baseball but bad ones still get muted. Golf is great live or on TV, especially the majors and other big tournaments. There seems always to be a captivating storyline like last week when the winner was a first time PGA winner. His parents and girlfriend were going home after watching a tournament of his fifteen years ago and their plane crashed killing all three. He could no longer play at the time but fought all the way back. His sister and current girlfriend were there to cheer him on and celebrate with him.

I loved playing golf. My brothers introduced me to it. Once I realized it was a challenge between myself and the landscape I was hooked. (not to be confused with hooking the ball) but unfortunately good golf weather conflicted with good horse weather and the horses won out.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.