Major TV markets would generally include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami.  This fact alone makes it more difficult in some facets of sports for smaller cities such as Pittsburgh, Green Bay or Jacksonville to compete in categories such as Cable revenue, Public Relations or investments in their farm teams of AA ball.  When Roberto Clemente died lending aid to victims of the earthquake in Nicaragua, my memory is that it solidified my support of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Of course it did not hurt that they won the World Series surprisingly once over the Yankees and the other time over the Baltimore Orioles.  So, a recent article in the July edition of Columbia, a magazine for the Knights of Columbus caught my eye, because it featured Danny Murtaugh who had managed the Pirates for some years.  He never missed Sunday Mass, would often attend during the week and invite other coaches to come along.  I must say, I had the same experience when I was stationed at Holy Redeemer in Kissimmee with the coaches of the Houston Astros during spring training.  They were often at the vigil Mass, depending on the game schedule, but always made a point of remaining in the background.  The nuns where Danny Murtaugh’s children attended elementary school often remarked to the students, “Watch Danny Murtaugh when he goes to receive the Eucharist. If he can be devout so can you.”  Now, years after Murtaugh died at the age of 59, following the 1976 season, I wonder if some of us would do well to remember the likes of Danny Murtaugh.  Some seem to miss the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because of a volleyball tournament, a trip north on I-95 or a weekend at the beach.  We seem very casual at times as Catholics in our belief that if Christ did not die on the Cross or rise from the dead, our Salvation is a question mark and the Eucharist is little more than a mirage.  Sanctifying the Sabbath is, of course, one of the Ten Commandments. If folks in the public eye make time, our explanations seem feeble at best. On another note, after winning the World Series, on a quiet evening at home while reading the sports section, Danny asked his wife, “Kate, how many great managers do you think there are in baseball?”   Without looking up from her knitting, Kate replied, ‘”I THINK THERE IS ONE LESS THAN YOU DO.”

God Bless,
Fr. John