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Striking Out

March 20, 1988

That renowned biblical scholar, Houston Astros left-hander Bob Knepper, has divined that God never intended Pam Postema or any other woman to be a major-league umpire. "I'm not saying she's going to go to Hell because she chose to be an umpire," Knepper said. "But, if God is unhappy with her, someday she will have to talk to God about it."

It had never occurred to us that the Bible said anything at all about baseball, but we went looking anyway. Sure enough, Moses did some interesting things with a bat-like instrument, striking it at the ground to produce water for the thirsty children of Israel, though he had some unusual help from the commissioner, so to speak (Exodus 17:6). Ball games were not totally unfamiliar to the Lord. When displeased, he might sit at "thy right hand" and "strike through kings" (Psalm 110:5); could this mean that lefties are doomed to higher ERAs? God might even "violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country; there shalt thou die" (Isaiah 22:18).

But we couldn't find any holy writ on umpires, not a word of spiritual guidance to the baseball commissioner's office where the decision is being made whether to promote Postema, a triple-A umpire, to the big leagues. We did run across some advice for Knepper that he might consider before he continues to spread the gospel about what roles are suitable or unsuitable for women: "A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul" (Proverbs 18:7).

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