Spring Training Brings New Hope

This column was the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on February 18th, 2008. It also was linked on UPI’s main website. 

In Northern California spring is a confusing thing. Just the other day I drove three and a half hours from my home in San Jose to eat lunch with my brothers and our dad at an old saloon in the small town of Upper Lake, a journey that took me across the wine country and deep into the hills of California’s Coastal Range. It was a beautiful day, warm enough that we ate our lunch outside. Mustard was blooming in the vineyards—carpets of astonishing gold floating between the rows of bare grapevines and the delicate green of new grass—this blooming in stubborn defiance of the snow that still covered the ridgelines above the lake.

We don’t have groundhogs in California. There is no meteorological prognostication in the beauty of a single day. The next several weeks could belong to the wildflowers or to the snow. We won’t know if spring is coming until it’s already well under way.

This is why we need baseball in Northern California.   Continue reading

Birthday Bonds

This column ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on August 13, 2007.

On August 7, when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record, my mother called to wish me a happy birthday. “A lot of folks are celebrating your birthday tonight,” she said. I was happy because I like the Giants. Despite his grumpy public demeanor, Barry Bonds is fun to watch, and as far as I am concerned, it was downright decent of him to break the American pastime’s greatest record on the day of my birth. Continue reading