world series, the “angels” won

Looks like the San Fransisco Giants had higher ranking “angels” than the Texas Rangers. Hope Sister Maggie Hession and Sister Frances Evans weren’t too disappointed that their beloved team didn’t win. I’ll say a prayer for them. I think I’ll say one for the teams as well.

“We Love You, but at That Price? exclaims a recent Wall Street Journal article. The subtitle reads “Yesterday’s Postseason Heroes Can Become Tomorrow’s Cost Burdens; the Giants’ Tough Choices. While athletes and ballet dancers may not have salaries in common, seems job security might be something that can plague both sets of professionals.

Whose baseball careers are being called into question? Looks like “several generally mediocre or aging…(who) have played some of the best baseball of their careers and become local legends in the process.” Giant’s managing general partner, Bill Neukom, is concerned about the consistency of his ball players. Not swayed by their performance “in the heat of the moment,” he’s looking for staying power. “‘What you see most recently is at the front of your mind, but what you always worry about is a recession to the mean…It’s important for us to be hard on ourselves, and not be emotional about any one particular player.'” Prime examples mentioned in the article are “pitcher Barry Zito and outfielder Aaron Rowand, who will collect more than $183 million from the club and barely played in the just-ended postseason.” Outfielder Jose Guillen earned $12 million this year and hit 3 home runs in 42 games. Beginning this season with a payroll of $98.6 million, “$38 million has already been committed in 2011 to Mr. Zito, Mr.Rowand and backup infielder Mark De Rosa, who hit .194 in 26 games.”

Authors of the article, Matthew Futterman and Mike Sielski, are uncertain that  postseason heroes, first baseman Aubrey Huff and hitter Cody Ross, should keep their jobs either. “There’s a reason Mr. Huff was out of a job last winter. He hit .241 with a meager .694 on-base plus slugging percentage in 2009.” Of Ross, the writers argue that while “he emerged as their most productive and feared power hitter in the postseason, slamming five home runs and toting an eye-popping 1.076 OPS…In none of the four regular seasons in which he has played at least 120 games has he had an OPS higher than .084.” Earning $4.45 million this year, Ross isn’t eligible for free agency until after next season. Without a signed contract for 2011, “the Giants must decide whether to sign him to a multi-year deal before he hits the market.” Ross’s attitude?  “‘If we take care of this here, in the offseason that will take care of itself. But I really want to stay here.'”

The Rangers are in less of a pickle it seems, for their core players are “locked up.” Although there are concerns with “ace Cliff Lee,” who’s eligible for free agency, with a price tag of more than $25 million a year.  “‘Cliff’s the only guy where we might not have a say in the matter’, ” according to general manager John Daniels. Then there’s “Vladimir Guerrero, the creaky but still slugging designated hitter whose contract has a mutual option for next season worth $9 million.”

General Manager of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who won the World Series, Joe Garagiola Jr., currently serving as the MLB’s senior VP of baseball operations asks  “‘Was this what this guy does? Is it what he’s likely to keep doing? Is it some high-water mark that he’s not going to reach again?'”  Tampa Bay Rays’ senior VP Gerry Hunsicker poses a “larger reason for the shotgun weddings.” Even though there might be regrets after the fact, he claims  “‘Nobody wants to hear about five-year plans…They want to be successful now.'”  Unfortunately, that seems to be the way of the industrialized world these days.

Having evolved into a “plastic” society, where instant gratification can be bought with a credit card, perhaps our mindset is also inclined in that direction. I’ve heard employers speak of new hires wanting to hop-scotch over entry-level positions, straight into higher paying management jobs.

I personally know one young man who quit college just shy of 3 credits, announcing that he was going to “flip houses” to begin earning the millions he’d always envisioned for himself. He felt there was no more he could learn from his professors. With the implosion of  the real estate market, he is now trying to sell houses as a realtor. Unlike him, his business partner,  disciplined in old-fashioned beliefs, was able to “fall back” on his degree, and expertise as a former programmer.

It’s difficult to say who really “won” the World Series, the ballplayers, the owners, the fans, the bookies? Personally, I think the real winners are Sister Hessian and Sister Evans. They followed their hearts, maybe a good thing when hedging one’s bets. They went into the Series with wholehearted passion for their team, and, in my estimation, hit the winning “home run.” Two Catholic nuns, devoted fans, not looking for fame or money, just out rooting for a baseball team.

Isn’t that what baseball was all about in the good old days? Isn’t that what life was  also about, back then? Or am I just being overly nostalgic? Remember, I’m all about antiques and vintage collectibles. So what do I know about the World Series, about sports?

just old, i guess…hugmamma.

“texas rangers, all the way!” or “angels in the outfield!”

I’m not a baseball fan. It’s too slow a game, causing my mind to wander, more so than at Sunday Mass, I might add. But after reading about 2 devout fans in a Wall Street Journal article, I’m rooting for the Texas Rangers, sight unseen. Let’s say I have a soft spot in my heart for the 2 women who’ve been rooting their team on since 1972, when they played their first game in Arlington.

Season ticket holders since forever, Maggie Hession, an 82-year-old Catholic nun, and her companion “in crime,” Frances Evans, 84 years-old, would make anyone proud to call them fans. These two have dedicated themselves to supporting their favorite baseball players just as, it seems, they have dedicated themselves to serving God. 

The nuns have faithfully attended Rangers games for 39 years, “listening to the play-by-play on their transistor radios and beating a drum they inherited from another fan.” They accompanied the team to New York for the playoff series in ’96, ’98 and ’99. Staying at the same hotel, the nuns rode the team’s bus to Yankee Stadium, sitting in the dugout during one game. Every day the devoted fans visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan to pray; unfortunately, the team still lost.

Occupying an area of their shared duplex, is a shrine erected by Hession and Evans, “decorated with religious figurines, crosses, refrigerator magnets of past players and three dozen signed baseballs, each enclosed in plexiglass. …There is also a framed portrait of the sisters in Rangers uniforms, taken when they attended Texas Rangers Baseball Fantasy Camp in the early ’90s.” During camp, Sister Frances, a self-described “ornery renegade,” broke her thumb when she was hit by a ball. Nonetheless, both she and Sister Maggie were thrilled when they hit the ball, and ran to first base.

Aside from the special attention bestowed on them by the Rangers, the nuns also received other perks. “The first season, they saved their money for tickets, but, after that, benefactors, including past Rangers owners and local businessmen, picked up the tab. ‘We like to say, “God provides,” ‘ Sister Maggie says.” At the stadium, they have parking space No. 1. And for many years, they flew to spring training in Florida, gratis the generosity of friends they’d made.

Having been schooled by Catholic nuns for 12 years, I know for a fact that they’re not the least bit shy about offering advice, requested or not. Hession and Evans were no different. They told Tom Schieffer, president of the Rangers, from 1991 to 1999, how to run the team, including “which player ‘needed to pay attention to his personal life.’ ” Sister Frances was displeased with former owner Tom Hicks, who signed Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million dollar contract, which forced Hicks to sell the team in bankruptcy court this past summer. Hicks agrees with her about Rodriguez saying, ” ‘I do hope Sister Frances understands that I know I made errors, but they were all done because I was trying to deliver a winning team to Rangers fans,…Prayerfully, I hope Sister Frances can forgive and forget my past errors, especially as she is watching the Rangers in the 2010 World Series.’ ”

The nuns are delighted with the new president and part-owner, former, Ranger, star pitcher Nolan Ryan. When he saw a specialist for a hand problem, they were in the waiting room praying for him. Sister Frances had been encouraging Ryan to buy the team for years. She leaves him messages with coaching tips, like ” ‘If those guys would stay loose and have fun playing the game, they will play well.’ ”

The Rangers’ most religious fans, Sisters Frances and Maggie, will be at every home game against the San Francisco Giants, sitting in their 14th-row seats behind home plate. As for the away games, they’ll watch them on TV with the sound off, and the radio on, listening to the play-by-play calls. ” ‘You hear a lot of tidbits you don’t get from those TV announcers,’ Sister Frances says.” Despite losing the first two games of the Series, the nuns still feel the Rangers can win it. According to Sister Frances, ” ‘God’s time frame and mine are never the same,…but I really believe this is the year, this is the team.’ ”

from her lips to God’s ears…hugmamma.