The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.
2008 SHRINE OF THE ETERNALS
This year’s keynote address is composed of two parts. The first is a student paper in response to the exhibition In Their Own League, a wide sampling of art and artifacts from The Baseball Reliquary collection presented at Saddleback College in October, 2003. The second is an original, brief rumination on the nature of faith, reality and the business of belief written specifically for this year’s event by Mr. Kilchesty. Other than the redaction of the student’s name and the name of her instructor, all content in part one is guaranteed 100% accurate, with no changes in grammar, syntax and spelling. Except for the addition of one bracketed editorial note, added solely for clarity, the paper reprinted below is an exact replica of the original. –AK
7 October 2003
Baseball is an Art
Baseball used to seem boring and extremely dull. Would you think a field trip to a college art gallery, featuring baseball, could change my view on the sport? Well it did. Normally I would complain profusely about going, but this collection of artwork opened up my eyes to see the importance and entertainment value of baseball in America.
Baseball never seemed important, but little did I know the extreme measures people took to preserve articles of baseball. In the gallery there was an exact replica made of Mordecae Brown’s finger. His real finger came off during a game, but the replica looked realistic with gashes and blood all over it. I did not know rubber could look so disgusting.
Speaking of disgusting, there was also a real slice of skin from Abner Double Play’s thigh. The skin was crusted and looked similar to the dried pig ears you would find in a pet store. I find it fascinating that someone was obsessed enough with baseball to pick up the skin and refrigerate it for years.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have your face implanted on a tortilla for thousands of people to see? This is just what happened to Walter O’Malley, the Dodger’s owner. He was admired by enough people to be honored with the chance to have his face on a food item. I find it very comical, and it makes me crack a smile.
Keeping anyone’s jock strap is unthinkable, but some one sure wanted to keep Edward Carl Gaedel’s. The strap was in the gallery posed as artwork! I used to think artwork entailed paint and a canvas, but I have come to realize art is something that moves you. Baseball is an art form to some, but I never thought of it as such until seeing this gallery.
Not only did baseball lovers go to extremes, the players did also. Over half of the artwork in the gallery had to do with Babe Ruth, also known as the Great Bambino. He was a legend in his day, and although there are better players now, he is still a legend. One sculpture in the gallery called “The curse of the Bambino,” [Greg Jezewski, mixed media] was one of the ugliest, goriest sights I have ever seen. There were body parts with blood oozing out, forks and knives all over, and there was a crazy looking guy in a Mets jersey with swirling eyes. Some one must have really despised Babe Ruth to make such a scary piece of art.
Have you ever had something so important to you that you would do anything or give up anything just to be a part of it? That is what these extraordinary people did. They gave up their lives and in some cases parts of their bodies just for the sport of baseball. It wasn’t just a past time for these athletes, it was their lives and their passion. This trip has really opened my eyes to the deeper meaning of baseball. It’s not just some boring game you see on television, it is a way of life for the people involved. If you don’t really understand this, then I recommend you take a trip to the art gallery at Saddleback College.
Shrine of the Eternals “Keynote” Address, Part II
In a history of the early Catholic Church, the
writer Malachi Martin cites an off-the-cuff
factoid, disarming as much for the casual manner
of its presentation as it is for the
macabre—nay, icky—effect it has upon the
reader. According to Martin, there exists in
Italy a decaying chapel situated on the
outskirts of a forlorn mountain village that
has, for centuries, faithfully served the local
population. Unremarkable in any aspect other
than its extreme decrepitude, the chapel is
renowned locally as the permanent home to one of
the most unusual reliquaries in Christendom. To
eschew confusion, I should mention that a
reliquary is not merely a repository for a
sacred artifact, it can also be a sanctified or
blessed object itself, one that frequently
contains a holier or more valuable tidbit inside
it. A popular type of this kind of reliquary is
a cross, often gem-encrusted and of excellent
gleaming craftsmanship, that has, built into its
center, a circular glass or other type of
compartment in which is displayed for the
edification of the faithful, an object of
unsurpassed spiritual vitality and historical
import, say a piece of the true cross or the
fingernail clippings of a long-forgotten martyr.
Martin, Malachi. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY, 1981.