Religion ghost drifting into baseball

Religion ghosts float in and out of news stories, good stories as well as shallow, incomplete stories. Sometimes people see the ghosts and that's a good thing.

See here Tmatt's examination of a funeral home trend story and the absence of religion. For a similar example of a religion ghost driving into a Major League Baseball news article, see this Atlanta Journal-Constitution story on Jordan Schafer, one of the best baseball prospects right now famous for hitting a home run in his first major league at bat.

Unfortunately, Schafer is also famous for serving a 50 game suspension for alleged human growth hormone use. Since you can't really test for positive HGH use, it is hard to know for sure who uses it, but the accusation certainly raises questions about Schafer's character, which the article addresses nicely.

But this is a feel-good story with good and evil floating around Schafer's life like bumble bees on a hot summer day at the park. You never know when one might strike with a religious element:

There is no test for human growth hormone, and Schafer denies ever taking it, but he was linked to it and admitted to "hanging with the wrong people."

"If you hang around dogs long enough, you're going to catch fleas,'" Schafer explained.

Diaz was just the friend he needed.

Diaz is known in the Braves clubhouse for being humble and down-to-earth, with a strong Christian faith. If there was anyone to lead Schafer down the right path, this was the guy.

If you wanted to know more about the "strong Christian faith" of Braves left fielder Matt Diaz, you won't find much about it in this article. We get some more details about the religious element that developed between Diaz and Schafer, but it is hardly developed as a meaningful aspect of the story:

They'd hit together several times a week. They played pingpong at Diaz's house. One Sunday late in the offseason, Schafer went to church with Diaz. They talked about how to move forward from the suspension.

"Being able to talk with Matt, I don't have any anger about it anymore," Schafer said. "I've moved on. I'm totally content with the way things have been. Like he says, things happen for a reason. You have to be able to put your faith in God and let everything work itself out."

Going on Diaz's advice, Schafer wore collared shirts to the ballpark in spring training. He gave away his flashy red glove.

What do dressing nicely and having a normal glove have to do with going to church with a teammate?

When Schafer says that he wants to put his faith in God, does that mean he converted to Christianity recently or that he has re-newed his faith in God? Also, the article implies a generic Christianity, but a few details would give readers a much more complete idea of the religion ghosts present in this story. Maybe we'll get more details later this season.

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