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On John Wetteland and holy rollers …

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In case you missed the news, John Wetteland, the former All-Star closer who helped pitch the Yankees to the 1996 World Series title, has been charged in Texas with continual sex abuse of a child under 14. You can read up on it here.

It’s an interesting thing, retired athletes who stood out at holy rollers during their playing careers. As I noted on Twitter a few hours ago, as an athlete performing at the highest level, Wetteland was known for three things:

A. Terrific pitching.

B. Being an asshole to the media.

C. Praising Jesus at all moments.

As a baseball writer during much of Wetteland’s career, I was a happy observer of A, a only-know-because-of-word-of-mouth knower of B and a viewer of C. Wetteland was the guy who strolled through the Yankees clubhouse drinking from a mug that read JESUS LIVES; the guy who told Jack Curry of the New York Times, “I honestly try and walk with Jesus Christ every day”; the guy who quoted scripture at will and blasted Christian rock and wanted absolutely everyone to know that Christ was the way, the way, the only way.

And I have no doubt that, at the time, Wetteland was being sincere. But I also think that, quite often, when someone wants you to know—really, really know—how much they love God, they’re suppressing/hiding something. That they want the religion to conceal a flaw, if not remove that flaw. That they hope screaming JESUS! loud enough, often enough will eradicate the sinister devil that lies within.

I don’t know if John Wetteland was hiding something.

But it appears he’s been found.

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