Where have you gone, Hank Greenberg…

Lot’s of people are sending me notes about the MLB decision to have the Tiger’s home opener on Good Friday.

Yes… we are all irritated.

This comes up nearly every year, which shows that…

MLB doesn’t give a damn about people’s religious sensibilities, nor apparently do the owners of teams.

I suppose hope rests with fans and with the players, whose model ought to be Sandy Koufax…. Hank Greenberg…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Peggy says:

    I recall this happened in Boston a few years ago–opening day on Good Friday. People were trying to get permission to eat meat–as if it were no big deal that they were at a ball game on Good Friday.

  2. Mitchell says:

    Last year 8 catholic colleges played in the NCAA tourny on Good friday. If Catholic Schools wont stand up on this issue we can bearly expect the MLB to do so.

  3. Tiny says:

    Someone please explain the Sandy Koufax reference

  4. Steve says:

    Tiny – Sandy Koufax, who is Jewish, refused to pitch game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.

  5. Tony says:

    Sandy Koufax’s rabbi commented that he wasn’t really a practicing jew.

    Sandy said, It was a good example for the youth.

  6. David Kastel says:

    What is Fr Z et al upset about?

    Is it unacceptable to work on Good Friday? (Sometimes I am able to take the day off, sometimes no.) This year, I have to work. Am I doing something wrong? Are Catholic ballplayers wrong for playing on Good Friday? It is their job.

  7. Sam says:

    Isn’t Major League Baseball a corporation located in the USA that is entitled to do what it wants regardless of religious sensibilities? Would it be nice if they avoided Good Friday? Sure! But I don’t know that we should start lobbing tomatoes in their direction for making a business decision. [So much for Good Friday.]

  8. JML says:

    Father, Father!!!

    How could you!! The appropriate reference for the Tigers would be Hank Greenberg who refused to play a World Series game that fell on Yom Kippur. [You are right, of course. But I thought it likely that more people would know about Koufax.]

    The Frozen Four this year in DC (are you coming?) falls during the Triduum.

  9. RJSciurus says:

    KC Home Opener is also on Good Friday against the dreaded Yankees. I wonder how many Catholics in attendance will abstain from hot dogs and fast…

  10. LCB says:

    I’m okay with the MLB not going the extra yard to not oblige a multitude of religious sensibilities.

    In exchange for acting like every other corporation they can surrender that exemption from anti-trust laws that they enjoy. [Hey! Congress said it’s a “game” and not a “business”… right?]

  11. Dinsdale says:

    For those of us in Pittsburgh, baseball is neither a game nor a business. Rather, it seems to be a form of penance.

  12. Ignatiangroupie says:


    What about those of us in D.C.? The Nats stink, what are we in purgatory?

  13. Sam says:

    Good Friday is a part of Christian culture, not American culture. This isn’t even an issue for Christians – Good Friday takes precedence. I don’t see the issue. Good Friday lives!

  14. Maynardus says:

    Eleven years ago the opener at Fenway was on Good Friday. I was in the midst of my journey back into full communion with the Church at that juncture but I had mixed feelings when I noticed the date on my prized opening day tickets. My wife and I – childless at the time – agonized and then decided to compromise: we’d go to the game but skip the hot dogs and beer (I think we split a pretzel) and make sure we knew which churches nearby had 7:00 services. As it happened it was one of the most exciting finishes to a game I ever witnessed. The Red Sox were trailing 7-2 to Randy Johnson and the Mariners after 8 but scored 7 in the 9th and won it 9-7 on Mo Vaughn’s grand slam. We hightailed it to church just in time for the Good Friday liturgy and about halfway through the entire euphoria from the ballgame had evaporated. I wanted to go to confession ASAP but I realized that “frivolity” was not a sin, and had I really failed to “keep holy the Lord’s Day” or was I just being scrupulous… I probably agonized more over that day than any of the more serious sins I committed in my life. MLB ought not to put temptation in the path of red-blooded Catholic baseball fans!

    Interestingly enough, the next time the opener fell on Good Friday the Red Sox responded to the criticism by refusing to sell beer that day! Go figure…

  15. Daniel says:

    Read the following anti-Catholic remarks that were posted in regarding to the Good Friday/Detroit Tigers issue:


  16. Daniel says:

    The issue regarding Catholics who attended sporting events that were held on Good Friday (and Holy Saturday) was in the spotlight during Saint John Chrysostom’s time.

    Saint John Chrysostom even issued a sermon (“Against the Games and the Theatres”) that pertained to the above issue.

    Priests and laymen were more interested in plays and sporting events than the Divine Liturgy.

  17. msproule says:

    All the MLB teams are playing on Good Friday. What is unique about
    the Tigers/Rangers game is that it starts at 1:05 in the afternoon.

  18. msproule says:

    There are quite a few Catholics on the Tigers. It will be
    interesting to see if they will have any comments as the date nears.

    Also, there are a number of marvelous churches within a very short
    distance of the ballpark. No doubt there will be many pious souls inside
    those churches during the game.

  19. JeanS says:

    It also coincides with the start of Passover for our Jewish bretheren.

  20. JeanS says:

    “bretheren” s/b “brethren”

  21. Dr. Eric says:

    Thank God, that since I’ve been in practice, I’ve never had to work during the Triduum or on one of the Holy Days of Advent.

  22. freddy says:

    There’s a bit of difference, isn’t there, between being unable to take the day off from work or school on Good Friday, and attending or providing an entertainmnent. After all, if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home, you’re probably not going to pop in a dvd of the latest action/adventure flick and suck down a lager, are you?
    Now, of course there are no rules (other than the fast)to govern the actions of Catholics on this day, and I would never condemn anyone for not observing Good Friday in a strictly solemn manner, but it seems to me a shame that our society as a whole, and Catholics in particular, are not more mindful of these feasts. They are given to us for our own benefit; fleeting opportunities in a fleeting life to grow closer to the eternal, and we ought to safegard their observance.

    You’ve all heard it said, of course, that if poor Abraham Lincoln had been Catholic, he might have enjoyed a longer presidency….

  23. Frank H says:

    My father, God rest his soul, was a dentist, and his Good Friday observance was to work until 11 am, then return home by noon for the day. My mother, God rest her soul as well, made him the same seafood salad every Good Friday, and that was the only day of the year she made this particular dish.

    We always stayed home and quietly observed the noon – 3 time. And I distinctly recall that it seemed, every year, to get cloudy right around noon. That left a big impression on me as a kid in the late 50s and 60s.

  24. ED says:

    If all the “Catholics” on the teams refused to play then they would have to reschedule the games, but oh i was just dreaming that Catholics would respect GOD as Muslims would.

  25. Paul Haley says:

    Good Friday is the most solemn liturgical day of the entire year and nothing, absolutely nothing, should interfere with how we view that day. That said, if we have serious obligations to others on that day, we are obliged to fulfill those obligations. In my way of thinking no sport should take precedence over Good Friday services and recollection but that just goes to show how my thinking is so different from what most of the world thinks. I guess I’m an anachronism in today’s society but, if so, so be it.

  26. ED says:

    Jim Leyland manager of the Detroit Tigers has been frequently held up as an exemplary Catholic by Catholic periodicals. Has he Commented? Or is the game more important to him. It does provide him with his multi-million dollar lifestyle. What about the many Latino players on both teams they must be Catholic, hmmmmm!!!

  27. Jack says:

    Maybe someone will bring a sign that says “John 18:1-19:42” instead of “John 3:16.”

  28. Colorado Catholic says:

    My wife and I will be skipping the Rockies home opener for the first time in 8 years. Some things are just more important to us. Of course our greedy owners decision to charge 50 bucks for the upper deck only helped make our choice easier. I generally use my personal vacation days to take Good Friday off from work but it would be nice to work in a more Catholic country so we would all get the day off. My company has a plant in Puerto Rico and they get the day off downther.

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