One of the joys of being the father of an 8-year old boy is that he is totally into baseball. When I say totally, I mean completely and utterly obsessed. Our trip to Israel this summer has not deterred Jonah in the slightest from watching the highlights every morning on mlb.com. We voted for the All-Star team. And, if Jonah had had his way, we would have woken up at 3 a.m. to watch the All-Star game live (we caught the ninth inning, at 6 a.m. Israel time).
On our walks to shul on Shabbat, Jonah only wants to talk about baseball. “Abba, ask me some baseball trivia questions!” Once we got past “Who was the last pitcher to win 30 games in a season?” (A: Denny McClain, 1968 Tigers) or, “Who was the last player to win the Triple Crown?” (A: Carl Yastrzemski, 1967 Red Sox) and the other questions to which I know the answer, I was out of material. And I’ve been experiencing this desire to channel Jonah’s baseball addiction in a slightly more constructive direction. (Not that baseball in and of itself isn’t a good thing. But, as every parent knows, when your kid really, really wants something, you have an awful lot of leverage.)
So on one of our recent Shabbat walks, I asked, “Jonah, if we made an all-Tanakh baseball team, who do you think would be on it?” This has led to a conversation that has lasted more than two weeks. Here’s where we’re at. Comments welcome.
Lead-off man: For this position, you want someone fast–a guy who can get on base and steal second. Who comes to mind? Jacob, who stole his brother’s birthright.
Clean-up man: Here you want strength. Samson.
Starting pitcher: Who’s the best thrower in the Bible? David, captain of the slingshot.
Relief pitchers: Aaron and Hur, who relieved Moses’s arms in the battle with Amalek.
Third baseman: We want a guy who can dive for balls hit along the line. Uzziah, who dove to keep the Ark from falling to the ground (and died in the process), comes to mind.
Catcher: As Jonah said, catcher is the most dangerous position, and requires a lot of bravery. We thought of Esther.
Umpire: You want someone fair and wise. Solomon.
Center fielder: Here’s where you need your best runner. Who’s our guy? Abraham, who runs to prepare a meal for the angels who visit him.
We’re still working on the rest. Your ideas welcome.
Also, Jonah asked, “Abba, who will they play?” Our answer: The Christians! So, friends: who would you put on your team?