Michael Brendan Dougherty talks with guests about politics and/or baseball.
On The Score, Michael talks to the Rev. James Martin, author of the new book Jesus: A Pilgrimage. They discuss how Jesuit scholarship deepened Jim’s faith, and Jim’s experiences on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Michael asks about lessons from the life of Jesus for those opposed to authorities within the Catholic Church. Is Christianity moving towards a synthesis of Sunday School and modern scholarship? They discuss the vagaries of Biblical translation, and Michael argues that internal discrepancies in the Bible can be seen as evidence for divine inspiration. Plus: Do you have to be a nerd to become a Christian?
On The Score, Freddie wonders why geeks are so aggrieved when geek culture, as embodied by Game of Thrones, is ascendant. Michael notes that an obsession with being the victim is a key aspect of the culture war, and they discuss why “you’re doing it wrong” has become a prime trope of online conversation. They consider the forced resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, and the left’s effort to thoroughly stigmatize opposition to same-sex marriage. Freddie makes the case for legalizing polygamy, and explains why he’s an apathetic atheist. Has atheism become pathological? Plus: What would happen if everyone’s Gmail archive suddenly became public?
On The Score, Michael and Freddie consider defenses of Richard Sherman that “rob him of his humanity,” and Freddie argues that some supposedly anti-racist criticisms of Macklemore and Lorde have racist assumptions. Then Michael brings up the xoJane writer who was reduced to tears because a black woman came to her yoga class. Does anyone think that shaming racists on Twitter is making the world a better place? Does American mockery of Sochi reveal national insecurity? Freddie and Michael close by considering whether to nationalize sports.
On The Score, Travis says he would vote Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire into baseball’s Hall of Fame, while Michael explains why Cooperstown is still important to him. Why did Frank Thomas get elected while Mike Piazza did not? Travis is sick of the annual Hall of Fame/steroids debate, and Michael makes the case for the Hall as a brick-and-mortar institution. Turning to baseball’s latest scandal, Michael and Travis explore whether justice has been done in the Alex Rodriguez case. Plus: What role does the baseball players union want to play in all this?
On The Score, Michael and Mollie consider why everyone seems to love Pope Francis. What are the continuities and discontinuities between Francis and Benedict? Can Francis move the Church beyond the liberal/conservative culture war? They consider Francis’s admonition to take care of the poor with your own hands as a way to bridge the post–Vatican II divide. Can the new pope attract holy priests? Finally, Mollie explains why Francis makes her very hopeful about the Catholic Church.
On The Score, Michael and Travis analyze the possibility that the Oakland A’s may abandon their working class city to play in gilded San Francisco. Michael suggests that this is another instance of sports reflecting society, and Travis makes the case against the public funding of stadiums. Next, they do a deep dive into the vexed issue of offensive team names and mascots, notably the Washington Redskins and Chief Wahoo of the Cleveland Indians. Would the Atlanta Braves by any other name smell as sweet? Noting the religious origins of the San Diego Padres, Michael emphasizes that context matters. They lament how these controversies spill into left/right culture war battles. Plus: Great sports teams names vs. awful ones.
On The Score, Daniel and Michael discuss what to do when your favorite sports team is terrible. They link the rise of the stathead and the decline of old media. Turning to politics, Daniel talks about the strange way Chris Christie has set himself against the rising tide of libertarianism in the GOP. Michael distinguishes between a broad trend of libertarianism in American society versus a more narrow and ideological one in politics. Michael brings up his new love for fringe political bloggers and how they’ve preserved an earlier blogging culture. They examine the Jack Hunter/Southern Avenger imbroglio as an example of the Internet’s power to punish those with fringe opinions. Should we fear the glare of the Internet spotlight more than Obama’s NSA?
On The Score, Michael and Travis begin by discussing MLB’s suspension of Ryan Braun for the rest of the season. Do fans actually care if athletes use performance-enhancing drugs? Travis thinks economic incentives will cause steroids use to continue. So should professional sports just legalize steroids? They next discuss Travis’s new beat covering sports from a progressive perspective. They discuss how sports can be both an agent of political change and a lens for viewing larger issues, but Michael sticks up for the escapism and joy that come from athletics.
On The Score, Michael and Craig discuss baseball’s burgeoning Biogenesis scandal. Is this a sign that MLB is finally serious about cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs? Craig wonders whether baseball is putting public relations ahead of effective punishment. They examine whether Tony Bosch, the key figure in the scandal, has damaged his credibility too much for the case to hold up. How are media leaks that accuse big names of misconduct shaping the case? They close by predicting how the story will play out, with Michael explaining why he wants to see a mass suspension of players.
On the debut of The Score, Michael and Freddie talk baseball. They discuss the nostalgic vs. sabermetric views of baseball, and whether the stat-heads have forgotten about human nature. Freddie highlights the inherent irrationality of sports. If you were given total power over the MLB, what would you change? Freddie rhapsodizes over simulated baseball. Plus: Has the Internet made managers less likely to take risks?