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The Wimps of Summer

Over the past several weeks, the Dodgers have demonstrated a cringe-inducing cravenness in the face of woke pressures. The team that once defied racists has now caved in to anti-Catholic bigots.

Dodger Stadium with downtown Los Angeles in the background. / Credit: Emma_Griffiths/Shutterstock

When I dip into life’s memory bank for moments of unalloyed joy, the afternoon of October 9, 1966, quickly surfaces.

On a brilliant autumnal Sunday, I was sitting with my Grandfather Weigel behind first base in Baltimore’s old Memorial Stadium, which erupted in jubilation when Lou Johnson’s fly ball settled into the glove of center fielder Paul Blair and the underdog Orioles completed a four-game sweep of the World Series against the lordly Los Angeles Dodgers. That victory was made all the sweeter by the fact that the Dodgers, even after their 1958 translation from Brooklyn to Lala Land, remained the class act of major league baseball — the franchise everyone tried to emulate. (The Yankees were, and are, an empire, not a franchise).

It was the Dodgers who had broken baseball’s infamous “color line” by playing the immortal Jackie Robinson, “42,” at first base on Opening Day 1947. It was the Dodgers, “Dem Bums,” who inspired what is arguably the best book ever written about a baseball team, Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer. True, those 1966 Dodgers had a mean master of the brushback pitch in Don Drysdale. But they also had silken shortstop Maury Wills and the noble Sandy Koufax, who declined to pitch Game One of the 1965 Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Those Dodgers also gave baseball two of its most elegant radio wordsmiths, Red Barber and Vin Scully.

Over the decades, the Dodgers remained the consistently successful team no one loved to hate (unlike the gang in the Bronx). Can any serious baseball fan’s spine not tingle when watching replays of Kirk Gibson, barely able to walk, hitting a pinch-hit home run off the great Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series? Or, to revert to unmitigated joy, how about the look on Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda’s face when he charged out of the dugout to embrace Gibson? This was the national pastime at its best. This was Dodger baseball, and, as the psalmist said, we rejoiced and were glad in it.

No longer.

Over the past several weeks, the Dodgers have demonstrated a cringe-inducing cravenness in the face of woke pressures. The team that once defied racists has now caved in to anti-Catholic bigots. In the name of “inclusion,” of course, and, be it noted, the first and greatest of capital sins, Pride.

Like virtually every other professional sports team, the Dodgers sponsor a “Pride Night” during June, “Pride Month.” This year, “Pride Night” in Dodger Stadium was to include special recognition of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an “LGBTQ+ advocacy group” (in the Washington Post’s anodyne description) whose actual modus operandi is the obscene mockery of consecrated women’s religious life and its ridicule of the chastity that is one of Christ’s three evangelical counsels. As Matt Hennessey reported in the Wall Street Journal, “Members of the group go by names like Sister Jezebell of the Enraptured Sling and Sister Shalita Corndog. At Easter, they host ‘Foxy Mary’ and ‘Hunky Jesus’ contests.” In a word, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are blasphemers.

Protests to the Dodgers from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and others led to the “Sisters”’ invitation to Pride Night at Dodger Stadium being rescinded. But then came the inevitable tsunami of woke pushback and the Dodgers caved, issuing a groveling apology that included a pledge to “work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind, and use our platform to support all our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family.”

Branch Rickey, the crafty general manager and devout Methodist who signed Jackie Robinson, must be spinning in his grave, as his heirs in the Dodger front office emulate the “confessions” extracted at Stalin-era show trials in the Soviet Union.

The Dodgers’ kowtow to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and to the corporate and political forces that support them, is a blatant illustration of the sorry fact that anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice in American elite culture. Imagine, if you can, special recognition at a major league baseball game being given to groups that obscenely mock Evangelical Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis and cantors, or Muslim imams. You can’t, can you? But it remains open season on consecrated Catholic religious life because elite culture, deluded by the idea that freedom is sheer willfulness, has abandoned any pretense of respect for the sensibilities of devout Catholics, and has done so because of the demands of disturbed, aggressive people who need help, not adulation.

Thus the once-classy Dodgers have decayed into the Los Angeles Cravens: The Wimps of Summer.

(George Weigel’s column ‘The Catholic Difference’ is syndicated by the Denver Catholic, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Denver.)

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About George Weigel 459 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent books are The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), Not Forgotten: Elegies for, and Reminiscences of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable (Ignatius, 2021), and To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II (Basic Books, 2022).


  1. Mr. Weigel;

    There are really no words adequate to describe how out and out disgusting what the Dodgers have done really is. But you, sir, have made a noble effort, for which I thank you.

    I must argue with you on another issue – ‘The Boys of Summer’ is an elegant book indeed, but it does not quite measure up to ‘Praying for Gil Hodges’, by Thomas Oliphant.

  2. Spring of 1970 was also a great moment in Dodger Stadium. The nation had landed men on the moon for the first time, in July of 1969 (and again in November). Apollo XI and XII marked the national identity and character. In the upper deck behind first base were a dozen of the crew of the recovery ship, the WWII-decorated aircraft carrier USS Hornet…

    The stadium message board lights up to invite the crew to stand, and then came the standing applause of some 35,000 fans in attendance that evening. As a junior officer, I was there at Dodger Stadium, and of the crew, the commanding officer, Rear Admiral Carl J.Seiberlich (July 4, 1921 – 2006) was a devout Catholic who onboard ship often knelt beside the lowest ranking and Black or Brown enlisted men.

    After more than half a century my memory of those times and those events now are dragged through the mud by pygmies in the monied management office who know less than nothing about character or leadership. From footprints on the moon to groveling in the gutter: no longer “a giant leap for mankind” (astronaut Neil Armstrong), but a puking misstep by self-appointed dodgers into the cancel-culture.

    Will things ever be the same: “There is no joy in Smogville, the mighty dodgers have struck out.”

    • Mr. Beaulieu;

      Those memories are YOURS AND YOURS ALONE and they can only be dragged in the mud by the pygmies (GOOD word choice) if you let them.

      That’s what they do – Please – DON’T let them do that.

  3. Let’s stop blaming the Dodgers (who I could care less about). OUR Catholic Church has helped legitimize and mainstream the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for decades – most prominently when the Archbishop of SF Niederauer HIMSELF publicly gave a couple of them Holy Communion!!! Cuz that’s the way OUR church has rolled for a long time on the LGBTQWXYZ issue. Only when actual believing Catholics found out about it and protested did Niederauer offer the not-to-believe public excuse that he didn’t know what he was doing. Note – the “Sisters” were in full nun drag and makeup when Niederauer legitimized them.

    • The modus operandi seems to be to just let things slide, as if turning the lights on is more damaging to the Church than letting the termites destroy the barque of Peter over the long run.

      During the 1950ish Tydings and McCarren Congressional hearings on espionage, one Assistant Secretary was confronted with evidence against one of his secretaries, to which he responded: “I know she is not a Communist; I looked her straight in the eye and asked her, ‘Are you a Communist?’ and she said, ‘No’.” So much for the evidence! (In one of many instances some 35 pages of sworn testimony was deleted from the Tydings official report.)

      Hypothetically, one could ask, when is synodality so victimized that it becomes a front organization for the termites? In such a case, letting things slide and then looking a termite, or merely a harmonizing functionary, “straight in the eye” for an answer probably would not be enough.

    • Seriously? Did this happen? I am totally disgusted with the Dodgers–in all of the 2 baseball leagues, are there only 3 real men? On the other hand, with reports like yours, Harry, and the news of Marko Rupnik or whatever his name is, it is not hard to understand how outsiders and evil people can make fun of our Church and its apparent hierarchical hypocrisy. God bless Bishop Strickland, I hope many are able to process with him.

  4. Well written! True true true! Even our National Pastime had been invaded! Jackie Robinson and Company, pray for us!

  5. Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey would be appalled that this blasphemous perversion is now the gold standard at Chavez Ravine.

  6. The only sport I follow seriously is figure skating, but for my mother’s sake (she was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan), I still enjoy a major league baseball game, and one of the greatest nights of my life was when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series! However, I think that the fan base of baseball is getting alarmingly smaller as sports like soccer and pickleball (really? they couldn’t think a better name?!) have swept the country. For this reason, Major League Baseball is attempting to bring back old fans and attract new ones by doing things like limiting the time a pitcher can wait before throwing the pitch, and…welcoming groups that create controversy which means publicity for the sport. I fear they are on a collision course with obscurity, kinda like figure skating, which, until the judging controversies, used to be the 3rd most popular television sport in the U.S. (I don’t think it even makes the Top Ten now.) MLB should wise up and recognize that although controversy means media publicity, it also means the departure of disillusioned fans and their money, which means the departures of sponsors and THEIR much-bigger money.

  7. Re above comment – You mean it’s all a ploy by MLB to be hip/current/relevant in order to put bums in the seats?

  8. Whoa!! “Good is now evil and evil is good”
    Did we not learn anything from the last 5 to 6 thousand years?
    Apparently not!!! Same old same old..

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