WTWJRF = What Team Would Jesus Root For?

Do you hate when Athletes thank God?

Many people, including folks that say they believe in God can be put off by hearing someone thank God in an interview-after a win or at an award ceremony. I have thought to myself; how is it possible that God would be rooting for one team over the other? From what I’ve read around the web this act of thanking God in public is a touchy subject and can most certainly be miss-understood by the speaker and the listener.

Here are some Bible verses that came to mind:

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”-1Thes.5:18

We don’t always get to hear comments from athletes after a loss, but it would be cool to hear someone thank the Lord after loosing a big game. Would that not be the best time to publicly show the kind of strength that Jesus demonstrated in suffering on the cross?

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”-1Cor.10:31

This verse is answering a question about a religious practice of diet, but it caused me to seek the answer (about this subject) in prayer to God; What is the best way to point to (God) without upstaging (Him)? The key must be in our heart. It must be in our motivation, the reason why we do-what we do. My kids thanked me for the pizza I brought home last night and I noticed my thought was “Thank God”…I did that fist to the heart/point up thing and I saw the “AH-HA” moment in their eyes. That was sweet…I felt an appreciation to God-my provider by providing for my children.

As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” 2Cor.10:17

The person with a real heart for God can’t help but to point to the one that gives them strength. It can not possibly be that God is on one side or the other in a competition since God often allows us to fall order to make us stronger. It must be that when we hear a star athlete with a heart for the Lord thank God, they are giving the glory to Him. They are acknowledging that God has put them on that stage to be seen by us…for us to come to know Him.

It makes me appreciate God even more to realize how often I miss-understand and criticize Him (aloud, in my thoughts and/or agreeing with others in opposition to Him) and yet God continues to reach out to me. In fact God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. When I think about what that verse from the book of John chapter 3, verse 16 actually means it makes me want to shout PRAISE THE LORD GOD IN HEAVEN!

What’s In A Name?

95.7 Sports Radio Facebook Page July, 8 2011:

“The A’s have been the Redheaded Stepchild in the SF Bay Area…until now! 95.7 is paving the way for San Jose!” -big_e

Nic Caciappo asks the question:

If the 49ers move to a new stadium in Santa Clara will they still be the SAN FRANCISCO 49ers, or the Silicon Valley 49ers?? Santa Clara 49ers??? 7 hours ago

Enrico Christion My fellow Bay-Areans: Our regional aka to the USA is in fact the “San Francisco Bay Area”…The Raiders and A’s (who by the way put Oakland on the map) could just as well be associated with the city of San Francisco by the same standard…unless they went big picture: like – Golden State Warriors, Texas Rangers…etc – naming rights in the modern era of baseball is now all about $$$- see LAA.

“49ers” refers to the historical event known as the “Gold Rush”, synonymous with San Francisco. It makes sense on many levels for the name to remain SF-49ers, on the other hand $an Jose carriers a big bat!

The A’s; owned by a man who speaks softly and swings a big wrecking ball will only build a stadium where corporate sponsorship eliminates the need for failed marketing ploys such as free-parking Tuesdays. His target market is no doubt in the South Bay, populated by all of us spoiled-geeks that work in adult jungle-gym office environments…”there’s gold in them-thar hills!”…valley this is.

I moved here to the Bay Area in 1987 and tried to be a 49er fan, but the glove didn’t fit and there was no where to sit….the wait list was over 20 years long for a season ticket. When the Raiders moved back in ’95 I could sit on the 50 yard line with a $5K-5 year PSL, no problem. The 49er bandwagon has since thinned out and with the invention of Stub Hub one can sit anywhere one can afford.

But here’s the thing that should make one go hmmmmm???- If I want to see the Raiders, I have to go to the game, yet somehow the half empty lop-sided monster-stick in not blacked out…what’s up with that is called corporate sponsorship. The 49ers have it even in the dump they play in. It’s self evident Al Davis has hung on to the wheel of “how we always did it”. Mount Davis speaks volumes to the level of class that it attracts (including vanilla-ice-a-lattes like me). Oakland/East Bay residents report to have this notion that their lack of attendance to their own team’s home games have something to do with the inferior quality of the facility, like oxymorons wrapped in an enigma these faithful but few fans seem to be drinking this “if we build it they will come” kool-aid concoction.

I, like most of the population of California, am not native to this land. I grew up loving the Raiders and A’s in spite of (and because of) their history of dysfunction and identification with everything that is BLING!. The mystique of “THE RAIDERS” for me, is larger than the city of Oakland and/or LA….if Mr.Davis could swing a shared stadium deal in Santa Clara, a home town moniker for the Raider Nation would be irrelevant. I believe the Silver & Black have the moxy to be the first (and only) team to pull off an aka like the artist formally known as “Prince”…to simply be known by just *The Shield* (logo). As for the that other “-Bay Area” NFL team, their most popular logo is an SF in a football shaped thingy same as the football Giants *NY* who make their home in the “Meadowlands”-WHATEVER!

The relocation of the 49ers is a similar situation to the one in New York. It’s more about providing an appropriate modern facility for a storied franchise with an imbedded supportive fan base than an issue being associated with the name of the city it is located in. The relocation of the A’s to a viable marketplace creates an issue that carries with it a perceived stigma by the local fans of a team with a history transcending it’s current location.

I’m a big fan of all pioneers of progress in the face of adversity, with a spirit of advancement at the cost of controversy. Al Davis, one of the a founders of the AFC, first owner to hire a black coach among other important advancements to sports moved the Raiders from Oakland to LA and back again. Charlie Finley the P.T. Barnum of baseball. As ringmaster of the Kansas City and Oakland A’s for two decades introduced some “far-out” ideas such as Day-Glo orange balls, the designated runner, multicolored uniforms, Hot Pants Day, Mustache Day (discount admission for anyone with a ‘stache) and Senior Citizens Day (discount for everyone 65 and over, provided they were accompanied by their parents). Charlie also championed the designated hitter rule originally proposed in 1906 by the great Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack.

The DH rule is the one thing that differentiates the AL from NL and in my opinion is an example of a progressive advancement of baseball. I personally favor Quest-Tech balls & strikes, a one time replay challenge and/or anything that will enhance the quality of the game. I think MLB should let the A’s use aluminum bats as long as they sit on the decision to build a suitable ballpark where the A’s can attract and retain veteran sluggers.

The A’s, like the Raiders carry a tag of a rebellious, radical attitude augmented by trend setting facial hair-a tradition of bucking tradition itself. Regardless of their current city of origin both the Raiders and the Athletics have been able to maintain an attractive quality of progressive youthful desire in the pursuit of excellence. The Green & Gold branding is the perfect role model to spin for the likes of this want-it now-now-now generation, that college-educated yet casual energy-conservationist-cro​wd peddling those crazy colored bikes around the campus of Google…and every the other similar structured company headquartered the South Bay.

The founders of the Fairmont Plaza who do just happen to have $450+ million to privately fund a modern sports venue, most certainly have done there homework and have publicly declared that the Capitol of Silicon Valley has in place the perfect down-town cost model to make this puppy fly. There’s a lot of zeros on the end of the figures involved on all sides of this deal. Lew Wolf’s Frat-buddy Bud has got to make sure no rock is left unturned and this business plan is air-tight. The city/naming rights, a very lucrative component and no small detail of this deal is a crucial aspect of the A’s relocation – unlike that NFL team from the side of the self named bay, the name on my new A’s grey road jersey will most certainly be  “San Jose”; nothing personal, it’s just business.

Exorcism of Futility For A New Facility

Big-e was in the House last night ya’ll along with a whopping 11,438 other die-hards to welcome home the Oakland A’s.

The 2011 Athletics returned to the other city by the bay Tuesday, June 14th.  There’s no place like their multi-purposed home field corporately dubbed Overstock.com Coliseum. While they were out getting run-over on the road the A’s received a face-lift as well as the outfield lawn trampled under foot from a U2 Concert. Excitement was in the air tonight and you could cut it with a knife. This was the first home game for the new skipper “Bo-Mel” Bob Melvin, replacing the lack-luster manager/scape-goat Bob Geren;  who’da-thunk-it- Billy Boy Wonder suddenly fired his best man mid-season.

The BOB is Dead, Long Live the BOB!

The once lack-luster visiting club from Kansas City came to town and surely the Royal Punching Bag of old would have been just the thing the A’s needed to burrow-out of a ditch they’ve dug  skidding on a 1 win – 11 loss June-Gloom-Doom. After being swept out of town by the Yankees, the A’s returned to their homely-home from a 1-9 losing road trip and yet the “O” was almost one-third full! There’s got to be something bigger happening here than just a game. If you were there too, you would have seen what all the buzz was. Revolutionary Fan-Fare proudly hung out to dry like laundry on a close line, (proley not seen on TV)   defiant decorative demonstrations of,   love?.  Some of my favorites slogans include  “don’t take our A’s away” & “Fisher-Slumlord Billionaire” It was hard to deny the passion expressed on the banners in right field…unless you weren’t there and chances are you were not. hmmmm, now that puts the diss in dysfunctional! I just can’t figure out what all the fuss is about…anyone that’s ever trekked through the Fairmont Plaza at Christmas in the Park knows The Wolf means business.  Even if English isn’t your first language you can clearly read the writing on the wall…well, it might as well be-

As soon as I made it down from the West Side Club to my MVP box seat at the top of the 1st inning, I found it hard to focus on the game. There was a surreal effect from the sodium lights reflecting off the sea-air molecules contrasted by shadows covering the field. I was either hypnotized from Trevor’s psychedelic warm up song or had a contact high from my mouth breathing neighbors.  Sitting in yet another sparse hammered crowd the game rolled in to the 3rd & 4th inning and I began squinting at the sight of my beloved A’s once stellar defense flounder, wincing with our Ace struggling on every pitch, having absolutely no confidence that poor Derrick Barton can put the ball in play ever again…the full moon rising over the C lot seemed to be the only spectacle worth the price of admission, until…

Godzilla lines one on a rope to Matsui-Land, then later Jamile Weeks puts a charge on the ball deep in the gap, flying around the bases-diving in for his third triple since being called up only a hand full of days ago…WOW-even Breslow came in and starting dealing!

Schwing!-the A’s are fighting back, but I too began to find myself fighting back negative thoughts of the Money-Ball-Wizard sitting somewhere behind the diamond seat curtain winding tape back and forth, freezing replays of Cahill-Sweeny-Weeks, spinning scenarios of yet another multi-team trade with young phenoms for aging veterans as a stop gap measure to salvage one more hopeless season…trying to pull out of this patterned spiral of anxiety, pep-talkin’ to myself; ” big_e -gotta stay positive buoy”…

… then waves of cold reality started crashing in…first I blow the call on which cap the dibs are under (it’s never under the same cap that it starts at, right?)…then BOOM-ump#83 blows an obvious tag out call at third…and now I’m cranking up the volume on the play-by-play in an attempt to drown-out the steaming mad belligerents’ firing off f-bomb chants over what proved to be the unrecoverable pivotal point in the game…the volume is already up as loud as it goes!!!-

…just then the battery on my FM dies and an eerie hush envelopes my senses like I’m in the Twilight Zone……..,

…. I glanced out to the virtually empty outfield bleachers and wondered if Sweet-Lew Wolf is going to see those make-shift hate signs when he shows up with his grand-kids to sit in his on-camera home plate seats…my heart sank as the thought creeped into my mind;

“they’re going to sit Weeks when Ellie comes of the DL…oh-no, they may even send the one spark of hope I’ve seen tonight back down to sac-town to make room for the same-old-fail-mold”

WELL-Today is a new day…got to look on the bright side and trust in the frat-brother-powers that be…Thank the Lord  for 95.7 home of the * A’s *, San Jose Sharks and Dexter Posey :^)  I’m thankful to be able to tune in to this oasis of quasi-positive media coverage for the long time step-children of the soon to be South Bay-A’s.

While I was listening in to my fellow-fanatic pawns of pain sound off with hypothetical postulation about the viability of a new ballpark in San Jose vs. Oakland – I composed this little expose for San Jose in an effort to build hope and endurance for my next arduous traffic jam up the 880:

>free parking Tuesday promo-($40/gas commute from San Jose),

>face value for two front row stub-hub MVP seats $110.00,

>no waiting for a table at the glass in the West Side Club-$58,…

>walking two blocks down San Carlos Ave. to Cisco Filed 75+ times a season-PRICELESS!

Sometimes When You Loose You Win

amputeeplayer.jpg

This story has been weighing on my conscious since it broke back in February. 16 year old pitcher Anthony Burruto — who has prosthetic legs,
can throw an 80-mph fastball and was featured on the cover of ESPN the
Magazine — was cut after he tried out for a High School
varsity team in Florida. Dr. Phillps High School coach Mike Bradley’s main concern about this bionic boy wonder was him trying to field bunts off the pitcher’s mound. Principal Gene Trochinski stands by the coach’s decision, believing his coach made a determination of who could contribute to the team this year “…
not that Anthony couldn’t, but other kids could at a higher level.”

Despite the setback, Anthony doesn’t make any excuses for being cut. “I want to earn my position on the team. I want him to say I’m good enough to play,” he told an Orlando paper. That statement in itself says to me that the level Anthony is on is higher than almost everyone of us will ever reach.

I would like to lift Anthony up in prayer to God as high as he has lifted my spirit. I want a faith a fraction of the size of his fortitude. I believe that God has a great plan for each one of us, and Anthony Burruto is a beacon of hope that The Light that gives life to everyone is shinning through for you and me to see.

I would also like to offer a prayer for coach Mike Bradley, Principal Gene Trochinski and everyone that believes “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. My son made a profound statement when he was about six years old. We were at an A’s/Rangers game in Arlington and the crowd was booing Pudge Rodriguez for striking out, he said; “shouldn’t his fans be encouraging him?” It made me really think about how serious us hard core fans can make a game that is supposed to be fun….and even more so how we measure ourselves and others by the definition of what the world defines as winning.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see the A’s take a beating. Every game I watched on TV last year was a recording of at least a 45 minute delay, in part to skip through redundant adds and in part to fast forward through moments of the game when the bad guys were raking our pitchers. Okay, so I still have a ways to go to fully recover from an obsessive sports addiction, but my desire here is to seek higher ground.

This story is about High School baseball not the MLB…and I’m here to twist it around even more and make it about Jesus The moral of this story has been pretty well documented, debated and blogged about for well over a month now. The spin move I beg to offer is one not only of inspiration but of restoration. I’ve read the slams against the coach, principal and high school sports system as well as the defensive comments by the do-or-die-hard that thinks “the crippled kid should go play in the Special Olympics”.

No matter what side you’re on, I’m sure I’m on the right one. But in order for there to be restoration, one of us has got to die. Someone on the opposition has to die to the idea that they know is right. Then God can begin to restore us. This is what Jesus did. He willingly died for us when we were yet sinners. His selfless act of love moves us to respond in love for Him.

He told us to love our enemy and pray for those that persecute us. In doing so we enable the Holy Spirit to restore harmony within us and our enemy. Anthony Burruto’s courage to succeed combined with his integrity to make no excuses for being cut is quite an admirable virtue in deed. The example God wants to demonstrate to us through Anthony’s perseverance is for us then to bless the coach, principal or any apparently heartless ******* that would bunt the ball on a paraplegic pitcher to win the game. A concept that is as about as easy to wrap our mind around as it would be to hit this kid’s 80 mph fastball.

A’s New Home Jersey

strikegold-1.jpgA Facebook friend of mine saw this
and did a double take, thinking at first the headline read;

A’s New
Home:
Jersey
………………oh nooooo,……………….
The “Hoboken Athletics

His LMAO comment reminded me of the three alarm anxiety I felt when I first heard Lew Wolf’s plan B to move the A’s to Omaha Nebraska. I could identify with the abandonment plagued Oakland area natives experience with yet another of their team’s pending exodus looming on the smoggy horizon…and the subsequent obvious revelation that I may be storing up treasure on a sinking ship rather than investing in eternal things, the things that bring real meaning and purpose in life.

Everyone that knows me knows I’m a hard core A’s fan, love ‘em long time season ticket holder and obsessive compulsive sports memorabilia collector. I’ve paid a stiff price learning the hard way that being an Oakland Athletic Supporter is a slippery game in which we the peeps can get sucked in to more than what we’ve bargained for. The past couple of decades of musical chairs with Oakland’s star players has been shocking and disappointing. Passing on Miggy’s due value for the affordable Cry-Bobby Crosby, forcing Jason G’s hand to go play for the Dark Side, the breakup of the big three (Hudson-Mulder-Zito) rocked the house that Reggie built. The apparent solution to filling the salary gap seems to be the very hole Lew Wolf has spent the past several years digging for; the perfect plot to break ground and build a new stadium.  We know that He knows where that place is, the space makes the best horse sense to erect his high-tech cathedral of the future. It’s so ridiculous that the team directly across the bridge owns marketing rights in a territory thirty miles away, in a city that can actually sell out a new stadium, the self proclaimed Capitol of Silicon Valley; San Jose. Did I just hear someone in Oakland say “be careful what you wish for”?

True-dat, a brand new big ticket price stadium can’t stop the merry go round free agency created, it may just slow it down long enough for the ink to dry on my Josh Willingham autographed gold baseball…but when will this viscous cycle end? Which brings me to the point I really want to share with my fellow sports addicts and/or anyone else that God has lead to this page in life. The realization that maybe I’ve sunk way too much time, money and effort in something that is ultimately doomed to let me down.

It was no secret that 2006 would be Zito’s last year with the A’s, yet
I still wanted to add his #75 home white to my collection. I even paid
to have the Bill King patch sewn on…Barry left Oakland in style and he
was sure to be an icon at his next gig, right? The next season, spring 2007, in an attempt to endear myself to another Oakland A, I kicked down full price on an authentic Swisherlicious, a most colorful fun-loving character. As fast as you can say; SHEEKABOOMBA-2008 dude’s dealt to another team…so when I saw “Oakland’s Man In Black” (Justin The Duke) on the cover of the September issue of the Athletics Magazine that year, I could hear Ken Harrelson’s voice in
my head proclaim; “He Gone”. A born sucker for the alternate black cool base, I seriously considered
having a #32 version tagged [CUST OUT] but thank
God for bringing me back to reality. And thank God for giving us one franchise player so I can safely stock pile all that #3 garb available, amen? ….I break the bank writing checks that my balance sheet can’t cash, Mr. Franchise broke his back leaving it all on the field of dreams…Sorry Chavey, you’re heading for the retirement home-team down stream while I’m up floating up cash creek without a paddle to my name.

So now that I have 24 feet of wardrobe space full of mustard stained jerseys, none of them with a player on their current team, some of them only fit my beer belly evil twin, and all of them aint going with me to heaven…but, the grace and mercy of the Lord brought me to a place of restoration. God is making a youth leader and tailgate minister out of me. I can now see a day when I will be able to reach the lost dressed up like Ice Cube in “Are We There Yet”.

We will never be fulfilled to the full satisfaction of our need by anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ. He is the one who we all want to believe in. The following famous quote has been attributed to renowned mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal:

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be
filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known
through Jesus.”

Life is the pursuit of fulfilling basic human needs. If we try to meet
them with our own understanding, we will become disillusioned,
frustrated, discouraged, and depressed. However, if we follow God’s
design, we will experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from
achieving our basic life purposes. I would like to recommend a web site that outlines a book called Seven Basic Needs. LifePurposeHealth.com

May the Lord bless you and lead you to fulfill His purpose for your life…

A'sbury-Park-NJ.jpg
….wish you were here,

e

Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name

e11plasticlarge.02.jpgAllow me to introduce myself, I’m a man with an AKA…several of them in fact. I would like to make my first mark on the MLBlog by posting my story, the extended version, in hopes to stain my reputation right from the get go. I’m a die hard Oakland fan but an even more frantically zealous, life long rebel of everything that advances the instrument of change.

I’m all in favor of the Giants and 49ers having the whole upper half of the San Francisco Bay Area; a very nice place to visit, but I don’t live there. I’m a born again Christian with my finger on the trigger of a weapon of mass reconstruction, a life long member of that dreaded radical denomination, often times mocked as a meek and lowly bunch of athletic supporters promoting the A’s exodus to the center of the new millennium; San Jose, California.

What seems to many to be unfair times the impossible is where faith rears it’s unpopular righteous head. If the conservative, we’ve always done it that way group of contestants to this relocation from here to there and back again will just back up to a broader place of perspective, I believe we will all view in hindsight the A’s ball park in San Jose is for the greater good, not just for the A’s but also for the MLB, the entire SF Bay Area and yah-sure, me personally. If you’re still reading this and care to dig deeper in to the mystery of the one with the multitude of aka’s, by all means necessary not excluding a king’s size carafe of Christian crank…read on, there’s something here sure to offend everyone.

Born in 1960 down river from Detroit, Michigan I grew up watching Tiger games with my “paw-paws” in living color on WJBK TV 2. My Grandpa Olson played in the minor leagues, caught fire hot foul balls at Tiger Stadium with his bare hand and taught me to throw a wicked Uncle Charlie when I was 10. My Grandpa Susewitz, a hard nose little league coach gave me the nickname Enrico Rodriguez Immanuel Continuez (aka E.R.I.C. my real first name) my Dad added to this moniker…El Fartos deTurd, but later shortened it to simply “Rodriguez”; the fearless one”. He taught me to play Ty Cobb style base-brawl, I broke my own record every year for being hit by the pitch. I lived, slept and breathed baseball. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I was good enough to make the traveling team the first year at Sietz Jr. High in Riverview. I could have been great, I could have been a contender! Until this thing called Desegregation showed up in my vocabulary. My ultra-white conservative parents moved the family out to the sticks to escape the threat of forced busing.

Hartland Michigan for me, was a creepy small minded town with one traffic light and no street lamps the middle of nowhere. I rarely saw my Grandpa except for dysfunctional alcoholic holiday’s, Polish weddings and special visits usually planned around a trip to Tiger Stadium.  When the Oakland Athletics came to town I made sure I was there. Despite being decked out in what I thought to be clown colors, the A’s were real cool man! They had long hair, mustaches and they were, during my little league career the World Champions. I became an Oakland Rebel. I was raised in an All American Johnny Bench hick-town and my boyhood heroes were the likes of OJ Simpson (that’s another story) and Reggie Jackson; Mr. October! Touted as a traitor (not by me though-see my favorite current player list: Curtis “Grandy”…Nick “Swisherlisous”), Reggie bailed on his blue-collar team and went to play on the big stage for the Yankees. I followed in his foot-steps (sort-of) in 1979 accepted to Parson’s School of Design in New York to pursue an art degree.

The education I received on the streets of New York was just what the Lord had in mind for me graduating with dishonor from the school of hard knocks…to make a long story relevant; I found God at the bottom of a bottle in Dallas Texas in 1984. After enduring an underwhelming reception from the art world to my first one man show documenting my walk to Christ I hopped on board the Amtrack, arriving at the Deardon Station-San Jose, California in 1987 (next to the proposed future home of the San Jose A’s). By the grace of God, my little brother and his Michigan transplant friends I wound right side up in the commercial furniture industry. I’m now the proud father to four diverse and equally dynamic children. I proposed marriage in section 124, row 23 at the Oakland Coliseum to a blond bombshell-execu/babe California native, not necessarily in any particular order.

I celebrated my 50th birthday on September 25th 2010 with 24 friends and family in suite 83 wearing a Josh Hamilton American League All Star Jersey. The Texas Rangers clinched the American League West that day and went on as you know to loose the World Series to the upstart SF Giants, my wife’s family’s favorite team…and the saga continues…I pray each waking moment to hear that booming voice of gold announce “Come up Hear”…or that other booming voice over the Public Address System on the corner of Montgomery and San Carlos; …YOUR SAN JOSE A’s! which ever comes first.

 

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