Baseball and Religion


As a historian of religion(academically speaking, a technologist by career, and life long lover of baseball), I am fascinated by the similarities between religion and baseball and how people adjust or don’t accept change, rules, canons, and practices over time.

As we all know, David Bentley Hart loves baseball, as do many theologians and historians. We may see a post in the future on the new changes coming in 2023 by not only critics of baseball but theologians, philosophers, and historians.

MLB is adopting a pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts, and larger bases! Really? OK, they want to shorten the game and increase offense in a tradition-bound sport;

The batter automatically gets the base if the infielders are in a shift when the pitch is thrown. In addition, The rules include:

  • A first-ever pitch clock.
  • The elimination of the shift.
  • Bigger bases.
  • A limit to how many times a pitcher can disengage from the rubber.

The question is, as in religion, how will this all be enforced? What will the players and the fans think of the new rules once they start to play baseball in 2023? For many, the game of baseball is a form of “liturgy” or even a “religious” experience. Will we see debate among the “theologians of baseball” regarding the fundamental shift in the tradition of the sport?


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