Jesus Doesn't Necessarily Save

Was the Son of God a journeyman pitcher, a reliever, or a late-season call-up?

During the Giants' World Series homestand last week, the sidewalks outside Pac Bell Park offered a steady crawl of shuffling fans -- a perfect forum for anybody with a theory and a sandwich board. It was no huge surprise, then, when shortly before Game 4 we were handed a stiff orange leaflet, courtesy of Jews for Jesus. In it, we learned that "there is one to whom the Giants and the Angels are minor league":

- "He doesn't need ThunderStix, He can make thunder come from Heaven. Kaboom!"

- "He made a save more impressive than Nen."

- "Not only Santiago gets down on his knees around Him."

- "He has made every play he's supposed to: Born in Bethlehem, died for our sins, rose from the dead."

- "Jesus laid down the perfect sacrifice (his own life)."

We arched an eyebrow. Here's a guy who apparently can pitch, bunt, and die for our sins -- but we've never seen him on SportsCenter? Intrigued, we looked for Jesus in our baseball reference books, which list nine Jesuses in major-league history: Jesus Alou, Jesus Colome, Jesus de la Rosa, Jesus Figueroa, Jesus Hernaiz, Jesus Pena, Jesus Sanchez, Jesus Tavarez, and Jesus Vega. It's not quite clear which Jesus the pamphlet is referring to. These Jesuses hail from either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic; their names are, of course, pronounced with a soft, h-like "j" and an emphasis on the second syllable. All the same, they are Jesuses, and four of them pitched; the other Jesuses mostly played in the outfield. There's a journeyman Jesus, a reliever Jesus, and a late-season-call-up Astro Jesus. One Jesus -- Alou, a career .280 hitter and probably the best Jesus of the bunch -- spent six seasons with the Giants in the '60s.

Other Jesuses have struggled. Take, for instance, Jesus Sanchez, a little-used pitcher with the Chicago Cubs. According to the Jews for Jesus scouting report, Jesus "won't throw you a wicked curve ball like Percival -- His pitch is delivered with pure love."

Indeed. Sanchez gave up four home runs in about eight innings of work this past season.

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