The only part of the following piece from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michelle Hiskey that I liked was this quote :
“It’s a cool way to get the message across about Jesus Christ. No pressure or anything,” said Jamal Womble, who came from Augusta with friend Ben Palacz.
After emptying the ballpark from the game crowd, hundreds of spectators re-entered to fill the left field bleachers. They passed through a sponsor alley where groups such as Focus on the Family, Toccoa Bible College and Gospel Music Channel gave out camouflage Bibles and baseballs resembling Veggie Tales, a Christian comic series.
The 90-minute program began with John Smoltz ” who did not pitch in the game ” urging the crowd to avoid a “no decision” about God.
Smoltz said he once worshiped baseball. He planned charitable works, figuring that once he retired from the mound he would turn control of his life to God.
In 1995, when the Braves were headed to the World Series, a talk with the team chaplain made Smoltz realize that he had no guarantee of even his next breath. So he decided to give his life and plans to God.
“No-decisions ” I currently have 10, and that doesn’t bother me,” he said of games he has started and neither lost nor won.
“Because of the decision I made in 1995, I know where I will be [after death], and I can only hope and wish everyone here knows where they will be, too.”
The promotion, which included a concert by local contemporary Christian musician Aaron Shust, riled some longtime Braves fans. They complained online that Smoltz should stick to pitching and skip the proselytizing. They accused the Braves of seeking to profit off religious beliefs.
Though I respect the rights of such Christ-haters to badmouth the wonderful John Smoltz and the Braves organization, I would ask them to keep in mind that in this great land of ours, all sorts of crazy, even stomach-turning religious practices are protected under the law.
Earlier in the day, the Braves lost to the Marlins, 6-1. First person to write in with “where’s your God now, Smoltzie?” is banned from the CSTB comments section for 30 minutes.