Batman ’66 Meets the Legion of Super-Heroes

It’s time to take a respite from theological discussions, so let’s review…

Atomic Batteries to Power, Flight Rings to Speed:
Batman ’66 Meets the Legion of Super-Heroes
Created by Lee, Michael, and Laura Allred
DC Comics, September 2017

This one-off, crossover features the Batman and Robin characters as they were presented on the hokey “Batman” ABC television series (1966-1968) featuring Adam West (d. June 9, 2017) and Burt Ward, and the DC Silver Age version of the Legion of Super-Heroes as they were written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Curt Swan.

Plot

Six members of the 30th century’s Legion of Super-Heroes track one of their arch-enemies, Universo, back in time to Gotham City in the year, 1966. The villainous super-hypnotist believes that by intervening in the past, he will be able to prevent the formation of the Legion in the future. The Legionnaires make a surprise visit to the top secret Bat Cave, hoping to enlist Robin into their club and to seek his help in apprehending Universo. When it’s discovered that one of the Legion’s time bubbles has been stolen, Batman deduces the culprit to be the criminal genius, Egghead. The team splits up with Batman traveling with three Legionnaires to 2966 to find Egghead, while the Boy Wonder teams with the three remaining LSH members to search for Universo in Gotham City.

Robin and his team find Universo but are no match for the combined police and military forces who are compelled to do the bidding of their mind-controlling master, and must retreat. Meanwhile, Egghead searches 30th-century science museums hoping to find some technology or information that will give him an advantage back in the 20th century, but comes up empty and returns to 1966. A meeting between Egghead and Universo reveals the former to be the ancestor of the latter.

Robin’s team engages Universo once again but is thwarted by the super-hypnotist’s powers. Just when all appears lost, Batman’s team shows up from the future and joins in the fracas. The battle appears to be a standoff until Batman suggests it’s time for the Legion to unleash its “secret weapon.” Universo is defeated and Saturn Girl once again invites Robin to join the Legion, but Batman insists the Boy Wonder is indispensable in the fight against crime in the 20th-century.

Commentary

This is as absolutely hokey as it gets folks with no redeeming value other than lots of laughs for fans of the old Batman television show and the Silver Age Legion. There are plenty of “insider” jokes and miscues that will resonate with aging baby boomers like myself who were glued to the family television set on Wednesday and Thursday evenings back in 1966 watching the Dynamic Duo. Many of the villains and “good guys” featured in the TV series make cameo appearances in this story. If you can remember the campy, tongue-in-cheek dialogue of the show and some of the outrageously complicated deductions West’s Batman would extrapolate from some ridiculously minuscule and vague clues, then you’ll enjoy this book. The Allreds capture Adam West’s Batman to a tee.

Final thoughts

A believer contemplates the Lord God in even the most “secular” of circumstances. The “legendary star” of the Batman television show, Adam West, died a couple of months ago at the age of 88 of leukemia. Out of curiosity, I googled “Adam West” along with “God,” “Jesus,” “Christian,” “faith,” and “religion” and came up empty. We won’t know if West accepted Christ this side of eternity, but we do know that fame, fortune, and good health do not last.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” – Proverbs 27:1


What does it mean to be a born again Christian?
https://www.gotquestions.org/born-again.html

The Journey “Home” or the journey into spiritual bondage?

EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) is a traditionalist Catholic communications conglomerate that was founded in 1981 by Catholic nun, “mother” Angelica (aka Rita Antoinette Rizzo).

One of the most popular programs on the EWTN cable television channel is “The Journey Home,” hosted by Marcus Grodi. During the hour-long presentation, Grodi interviews reverts and converts to Roman Catholicism. The guests express their profound appreciation for “coming home” to the “one true church,” with its alleged “apostolic authority” and spiritually “essential” sacraments.

Catholicism teaches a person must receive its sacraments and obey the Ten Commandments perfectly in order to merit their salvation. That is not something to be happy about, but is actually an impossible burden shared by all who believe they must earn their salvation. How much is enough? How good is good enough? It’s a religious treadmill that never ends in this lifetime and ultimately leads to eternal damnation. I was a Roman Catholic for twenty-seven years until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone. Praise the Lord that my salvation is secured in His perfect, imputed righteousness and not my own miserable efforts. I have no righteousness other than my Savior’s righteousness.

Conservative Roman Catholics tune into “The Journey Home” and find great encouragement and satisfaction in the stories of those who have returned or converted to Catholicism. I, however, feel tremendous sadness for all those who have voluntarily submitted to the spiritual chains of Rome. I will readily admit that the rituals, ceremonies, great pomp and circumstance, and worldly trappings of Catholicism hold great appeal to many, but beneath the whited sepulchre is a grave full of dead men’s bones. Former “evangelicals” who appear on the show never genuinely trusted in Christ or they wouldn’t be celebrating their spiritual shackles.

“The Journey Home” purposely leaves its audience with the false impression that many Americans are converting to Catholicism. In actuality, for every person baptized, the U.S. Catholic church loses six members. See here. All a Catholic needs to do is look around at the empty pews in church on Sunday morning to comprehend what’s really going on. I praise the Lord for the large number of those souls who left Catholicism and accepted Christ and now follow the Lord as members of evangelical Christian fellowships. Thank you, Lord, for opening the eyes of so many and freeing them from the chains of Catholicism! Thank you, Jesus!

Genuine evangelical believers can’t boast of any communications conglomerates* as part of a colossal religious institution, but there are many testimonies available from ex-Catholics who left the legalism and ritualism of Rome and and accepted the free gift of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. For just a few examples, see here, here, and here.

It’s quite interesting to me that Catholics eagerly crow about “evangelicals” who have converted to Roman Catholicism on such outlets as “The Journey Home,” yet many/most evangelicals are absolutely mortified when a fellow believer “uncharitably” asserts that Rome teaches a false gospel.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-24

* Some might point to the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) as an evangelical media enterprise but that outfit is operated by the purveyors of the false “health and wealth”/”name it and claim it” prosperity gospel and regularly features Catholic guests and spokespersons.

“The Keepers” on Netflix: Recommended with sadness

I finally finished watching Netflix’s seven-part-series, “The Keepers,” about the unsolved murder of a young nun in 1969. Sister Cathy Cesnik taught at an all-girls’ Catholic high school in Baltimore, Maryland. She disappeared in November, 1969 and her decomposed body was found the following January. The murder was never solved but two retired alumni of the high school and former students of the nun have relentlessly attempted to identify the killer/s.

The facts show that Father Joseph Maskell, a chaplain at the high school, had sexually abused a large number of the students. One of the victims had confided in Sister Cesnik who took initial steps to expose Maskell but then disappeared. There’s little doubt that priest Maskell orchestrated Cesnik’s death even if he was not the murderer himself.

This is gut-wrenching stuff. The sexual abuse of multiple girls at Archbishop Keough High School by Maskell and another priest sickens the soul. Then there was the murder. And finally there was the cover-up of Maskell’s abuse by the Baltimore Archdiocese and its subsequent legal battles with the victims.

My heart breaks for the victims of Father Maskell and for all the other victims of abuse within the Catholic church. The church definitely perpetuated the abuse through its clerical celibacy rule and by moving known predators from one parish to the next. I’m also very saddened that the Catholic church deceives its members with a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit rather than teaching them the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

I highly recommend this series although it’s difficult to watch. But the truths it reveals are so important.

excatholic4christ

A new Netflix docu-series, “The Keepers,” premiers tomorrow, Friday, May 19th and it looks like something Christians may want to watch. I certainly will be.

The seven-part series focuses on the unsolved murder of a Catholic nun, Sister Catherine Cesnik, inKeep Baltimore, Maryland in 1969. One of the suspects was a priest, Father Joseph Maskell, a known sexual predator, who was shuffled from parish to parish by the church hierarchy. The documentary alleges that Maskell was abusing girls at the high school where Cesnik taught and she was attempting to expose him prior to her death.

It’s one thing to hear general information about the scandal of pedophilic and abusive priests and the subsequent cover-up by the church hierarchy. That’s bad enough. But it’s another thing to examine the personal aftermath of the abuse and cover-up in the lives of actual human beings with names and faces and in the lives of their families.

Catholicism…

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The death of one nun was just the tip of the iceberg

 

A new Netflix docu-series, “The Keepers,” premiers tomorrow, Friday, May 19th and it looks like something Christians may want to watch. I certainly will be.

The seven-part series focuses on the unsolved murder of a Catholic nun, Sister Catherine Cesnik, inKeep Baltimore, Maryland in 1969. One of the suspects was a priest, Father Joseph Maskell, a known sexual predator, who was shuffled from parish to parish by the church hierarchy. The documentary alleges that Maskell was abusing girls at the high school where Cesnik taught and she was attempting to expose him prior to her death.

It’s one thing to hear general information about the scandal of pedophilic and abusive priests and the subsequent cover-up by the church hierarchy. That’s bad enough. But it’s another thing to examine the personal aftermath of the abuse and cover-up in the lives of actual human beings with names and faces and in the lives of their families.

Catholicism has much to answer for, in regards to this scandal as well as for misleading its members with its false gospel. Not only were children, nuns, and young seminarians victimized by “celibate” sexual predators, but Catholics in general were and are being misled into believing they must merit their way into Heaven.

One-hundred-years ago, church spokespersons offhandedly dismissed accusations of abuse in Catholic schools, seminaries, convents, and rectories as “Protestant porn.” Now they’re keeping their mouths shut and wishing it would all just go away.


In Netflix’s “The Keepers,” a nun’s unsolved murder, a sexual abuse coverup and crumbling Vatican II hope
http://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2017/05/17/netflixs-keepers-nuns-unsolved-murder-sexual-abuse-coverup-and-crumbling

Ben Seewald reaches out to Catholics again!

After a very long prodigal “season,” I returned to the Lord in 2014. That same year, our oldest son hooked us up with Netflix. I can’t say I watch a lot of Netflix but I did make it a point to watch the “19 Kids and Counting” show featuring the Duggar family. I watched the first four and a half-seasons until The Learning Channel yanked the show from Netflix.

The Duggars didn’t talk a lot about their religious affiliation directly, but if a viewer paid attention they could gather that they were independent fundamental Baptists who adhered to Bill Gothard’s and Doug Phillips’ ultra-conservative Christian Dominionist/Reconstructionism. Coming from an IFB background myself (although much less hardcore than the Duggars’), I was fascinated by the show. Among many other IFB distinctives, the girls weren’t allowed to have short hairdoos or wear pants. I could argue secondary doctrinal issues with the Duggars but at least they uphold the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE.

The series premiered in 2009 and ran until May 2015 when news headlines revealed oldest son, Josh Duggar, was involved in several scandalous transgressions. A spinoff show, “Counting On,” carries on the Duggar saga, focusing mainly on married daughters, Jill and Jessa.

I recently saw that Jessa’s husband, Ben Seewald (see photo), is making headlines once again with remarks about Catholicism. Back in 2014, Seewald posted some comments critical of Roman Catholicism on his Facebook account, which caused a firestorm among 19 Kids and Counting’s Catholic fans. I see in the recent article below from a virtual gossip rag that Ben has posted on Facebook and Instagram that he’s currently reading James White’s excellent “The Roman Catholic Controversy: Catholics and Protestants – Do the Differences Still Matter?” (see my review here) to further educate himself regarding Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit and Catholic fans are up in arms once again.

Up until about fifty years ago, most evangelicals were very aware that Catholicism’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit was a false gospel. But because of the ecumenical push by Rome and some Judas evangelicals, the differences between Catholicism’s false gospel and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE have been blurred in the minds of many. It’s now considered unkind, unloving, and intolerant to warn Catholics that they are on the wide way to destruction. I admire young Ben Seewald for upholding the Gospel of grace despite undoubtedly enormous pressure from network executives and family to keep his mouth shut.

Persevere in the Lord, Ben Seewald! There’s already way too much cooperation, compromise, and betrayal within evangelicalism.


Ben Seewald: Duggar Husband Studies To Refute Catholicism While Jill and Derick Evangelize to Catholics
http://www.inquisitr.com/4166855/ben-seewald-duggar-husband-studies-to-refute-catholicism-while-jill-and-derick-evangelize-to-catholics/

“Don’t trust the Bible but you can trust us.”

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This morning before church, my wife and I were drinking our coffee in the kitchen and watching CNN as is our habit. The CNN hosts started plugging the second season of “Finding Jesus,” which begins tonight. I definitely won’t be watching. I sat through a single episode of this series last season and it’s basically a group of modernist unbelievers trying to explain away God and the Bible.

Anyway, they said tonight’s opening episode will be focusing on Pontius Pilate among other things. They mentioned the Pilate Stone, which was excavated at Caesarea By The Sea in 1961. My blogosphere friend, Wally, who’s currently touring Israel, and I were discussing this stone just the other day! A fantastic archaeological find, the stone has Pilate’s name inscribed on it. Yes, there was a historical Pontius Pilate and there was and is a Jesus Christ.

The CNN morning hosts then interviewed a Catholic priest (sorry, didn’t catch the name) to get a “religious expert’s” take on Pilate. The priest said the writer of the Gospel of John (I always thought the apostle John was the writer?) purposely portrayed Pilate as weak and indecisive because he was trying to give the impression that the Jews were largely responsible for Christ’s crucifixion, not the Roman Gentiles. The priest went on to say the Gospel of John was written following the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD, afterwhich the Jewish nation was in complete disarray, so the author was catering to a Gentile audience and its prejudices rather than to a Jewish one.

How to respond? This Catholic priest is unabashedly stating that he does not believe the Bible is God’s Word and that the writers of the New Testament were attempting to manipulate their readers. And people trust this priest and his ecclesiastical associates with their souls?

Final thoughts on “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”

Almost a month ago, I posted that I had begun watching “Leah Remini: Scientology and the lrs Aftermath” on the A&E cable channel on Tuesday nights (see here). Well, I caught the seventh and final episode of the series last night via on-demand.

This was an absolutely fascinating documentary/exposé of Scientology. Remini was a member of the “church” for 30 years and is now on a personal crusade to reveal the cult’s homemade “theology” and abusive practices. The bulk of the episodes consist of Remini and Mike Rinder, a former senior executive of the church, visiting other former members whose lives and families were torn apart by the church. If you have any interest in cults and how they control and abuse their membership, I highly recommend this series.

After leaving Scientology, Remini returned to the church she was baptized into as an infant; Roman Catholicism. Here’s a couple of my observations with regards to the series:

  • Not once throughout the entire series does Remini mention Jesus Christ. She left Scientology and re-embraced Catholicism, but in seven one-hour episodes she does not name the name of Jesus Christ even once. If I came out of a false religion and found salvation in Christ, I would be SINGING about Jesus! And I do! 🙂 I suspect Ms. Remini is like the overwhelming majority of Catholics who take some comfort in the institutional rituals and trappings of Catholicism but have never accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. But how could they? Their church does not preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through Jesus Christ alone. Remini never does name Jesus, however, episode after episode she repeatedly uses more expletives than a drunken sailor on the first night in port.
  • In the final episode, Remini and Rinder travel to New York City to meet with lawyers about possible litigation against Scientology. Prior to the meeting, Remini enters St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 51st Street, saying she wants to light a candle “for luck.” For luck? The viewer then sees Remini lighting a votive candle inside the cathedral and pausing as if in prayer. Next we see Remini kneeling in a pew and gazing ahead solemnly at what is presumed to be the altar at St. Patrick’s. Unfortunately, it appears that Ms. Remini has exchanged one system of religious shackles for another, although Catholicism no longer controls peoples lives to the degree Scientology does. But remember back just fifty years ago when there were many convents throughout America crowded with virginal Catholic women who were cut off from their families and were attempting to merit their salvation though self-deprivation and complete obedience to their superiors?

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first…” – Matthew 12:43-45

Escape to chains

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermathlr
A&E Channel, Tuesdays at 10/9c

I was a big fan of the “King of Queens” television show (1998-2007), which featured Leah Remini (pictured) as Doug Heffernan’s no-nonsense wife, Carrie. It wasn’t a stretch to assume actress Remini shared many of the same tough-as-nails characteristics as her TV persona. Following “King of Queens,” Remini began to pop up in the media now and then regarding her very public split from the “church” of Scientology in 2013 and she now hosts this exposé on A&E.

I did a fair amount of research on religious cults way back in the day (especially on Mormonism) and I found Scientology to be one of the strangest. When I heard that Remini had a new show on the A&E cable channel that examined some of the less-flattering aspects of Scientology I was very interested and yesterday I watched the first two episodes via on-demand.

Scientology was dreamed up by science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, and claims to assist its members in achieving increasingly higher levels of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment. There is absolutely no trace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the teachings of Scientology.

In the first couple of episodes of the TV show, Remini shares some of her own experiences within the church and then focuses on the harrowing testimonies of other ex-members. It’s one heartbreak after another. The Scientology hierarchy demands unwavering obedience from its members and controls their lives right down to personal details. Ex-members are shunned (referred to as “disconnection”), even by family members, and public criticism of the church brings harassment and worse. This is riveting television, folks, although the frequency of bleeped curse words out of Remini’s mouth would embarrass a sailor.

In other media, Remini has stated that she has re-joined the Catholic church where she was baptized as an infant. “Nobody is asking me for money. Nobody is demanding that I come,” she explained about her current association with Catholicism to a popular magazine. Well, the Catholic church does appeal for money and it does demand that its members show up for weekly mass upon pain of eternal damnation, but the legalism of Catholicism must appear as great freedom compared to Scientology. However, the history of the Catholic church is filled with examples of cruel and heartless authoritarianism of a kind that would make Scientology leader, David Miscavige, feel pretty good about his organization. Unfortunately, there have also been examples of Christian evangelical/fundamentalist churches that sought to control the lives of their members. The Catholic church does teach several biblical doctrines but it has many other teachings that are either un-biblical or anti-biblical.  Most importantly, Catholicism teaches salvation is by sacramental grace and merit in contrast to the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

A popular analogy floats around evangelicalism about a government treasury agent who studies only real currency in order to be able to spot the counterfeit. The message is that it’s much more valuable to study God’s Word than to “waste time” studying false religions. But if that’s the case then why do so many evangelicals embrace Roman Catholicism with its false gospel? Yes, we should diligently study God’s Word but we should also be somewhat aware of false religions, especially those that use Christian terminology like “faith,” “grace,” “Jesus the Savior,” etc. Satan’s most effective counterfeits aren’t those “wacko” outfits like Scientology but those that fool even the saints.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

There’s a lot of junk on television but “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” is definitely worth a watch. I feel a certain bond with Remini after coming out of a false church myself and sensing an obligation to warn those who remain behind and those who might be attracted to it. But it’s sadly ironic that Remini returned to the false church I left.

Court settles feud over famous bishop’s remains

If you’re sixty-years-old or older you probably remember Catholic archbishop, Fultonbs J. Sheen. Sheen was the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of New York City from 1951 to 1965 and hosted two television shows; one pioneering show, Life Is Worth Living, from 1951 to 1957 and the other, The Fulton Sheen Program, from 1961 to 1968. In both programs he spoke on the topics of the day and propagated the Catholic religion.

I can remember as a young Catholic boy watching Sheen on TV, dressed in his bishop’s finery and with his piercing eyes. The man had a rapier wit and intellect and spoke to the camera extemporaneously for thirty minutes without the aid of notes or cue cards. He had a regal persona befitting a “prince of the church.” Rarely do we encounter Sheen’s brand of royal chutzpah in these days.

As we now know, Sheen was on very bad terms with his immediate superior, archbishop of New York, Francis cardinal Spellman. Spellman no doubt resented his subordinate’s national popularity. In 1957, Spellman demanded that Sheen reimburse the NYC diocese for the million-dollar value of powdered milk donated by the U.S. government that was distributed to the needy by Sheen’s Society for the Propagation of the Faith. When Sheen refused, Spellman brought the dispute before pope Pius XII who shocked the cardinal by siding with Sheen. Spellman swore to Sheen he would get his revenge someday. In 1966, Spellman arranged for Sheen to be appointed bishop of the inconsequential diocese of Rochester, N.Y. where I live. The Catholic community in Rochester was not privy to the political machinations in New York City and we all wondered how a man of Sheen’s national stature could be installed as the bishop of our small, humble city. I don’t remember too much about Sheen’s short episcopate in Rochester (1966-1969) other than some anti-Vietnam War statements that infuriated my politically conservative father and the fact that he chose to live in a humble apartment at the downtown CYO rather than at a 7000 square-foot mansion in the city’s ritziest neighborhood like his predecessor (see here). Sheen resigned his Rochester bishopric in 1969 and was crowned as a titular archbishop in the same year.

Sheen died in 1979 and twenty years later the process began to have him canonized as a saint. Things were put on hold in 2010 because both the dioceses of New York City and Peoria, Illinois where Sheen grew up claimed title to the future saint’s remains. Imagine the believers of New Testament times fighting over someone’s dead body. On November 17th the Supreme Court of the State of New York ruled in favor of Sheen’s niece that the remains of the former celebrity be moved from New York to Peoria (see the news report below).

Now that the dispute has been settled, the Vatican will put Sheen’s canonization back on the fast track. The church benefits tremendously from the canonization of popular figures like it did with pope John Paul II and mother Teresa.

I may have watched 15 or 20 of Sheen’s television shows when I was a young guy. He spoke eloquently about the Catholic religion but he never once mentioned the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. In contrast, Sheen, like all Roman Catholic clergy, taught a gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. People reverence appealing and influential personalities like Fulton Sheen but he was a false shepherd with a false gospel. Venerating dead bodies is not helpful. Salvation is only by faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, the Savior.

New York court rules Fulton Sheen remains should go to Peoria

“Pitch,” the (fictional) story of the first woman to play in the Major Leagues

I don’t believe I’ve ever written a post before that didn’t have something to do withpitch spiritual matters so this will be the first.

Has anyone watched any television lately? Despite the growing number of cable channels, there’s really not a lot of worthwhile shows. Most of the offerings, especially the so-called “reality” shows, are downright garbage. The last television series that I scheduled my time around previous to this season was “The King of Queens” featuring Kevin James, which ended in 2007. But last month I started watching James’ new show, “Kevin Can Wait” (CBS, Monday nights), which employs the exact same schtick as K of Q but without the excellent supporting ensemble of the former.

Am I following any other TV shows? Glad you asked. I’m actually watching another series called “Pitch” on Thursday nights on Fox. The plot revolves around a young woman, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), who began pitching in boys’ Little League baseball under the tutelage of her Svengali father and worked her way up through baseball’s minor leagues to be the first woman to play in Major League Baseball. So is there any special reason why I was motivated to watch “Pitch” beginning with the very first episode? Yup. Ginny happens to play for my favorite team, the San Diego Padres. The San Diego who? Right. The Padres keep a pretty low profile for a major league team. In another post I’ll share how a guy with a blog named “excatholic4christ” came to be a fan forty-six long years ago of a team with a “Swinging Friar” mascot.

Anyway, back to the series. I’m actually enjoying “Pitch.” Having a woman on the team and in the locker room presents some interesting problems for the ball club. There’s all the attention from the media aimed toward the first female player. The team’s manager (Wonder Years’ Dan Lauria) and players stumble through how they should interact with a woman in a formerly all-male enclave. The team’s captain, all-star catcher, Mike Lawson (Saved by the Bell’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar), initially resents the rookie celebrity but a friendship soon develops. Ginny’s ambitious agent, Amelia Slater (Ali Larter), and the team’s general manager, Oscar Arguella (Mark Consuelos), remind us that professional sports are all about the ca$h.

Trivia question: Has a woman ever played for a professional men’s baseball team? See the answer below.

But despite her sudden fame and fat MLB contract Ginny is not a happy person. There’s an emptiness in her life. Same thing with Mike. He’s a perennial all-star probably headed to Cooperstown and with all the perks of a multi-millionaire but he can’t find fulfillment in baseball or in his brief fling with Ginny’s agent. These two need Jesus Christ. Whoops! Did I say this was not going to be about spiritual issues?

It’s not exactly Paddy Chayefsky but after watching seven episodes of “Pitch” I can say the stories are pretty good and so is the cast. Bunbury is doing a believable job as the (initially overwhelmed) rookie female pitcher. Gosselaar is surprisingly excellent as the aging all-star on the downside of his career. It’s great to see Lauria again. I was a big fan of The Wonder Years. Larter, Consuelos, and Meagan Holder as a player’s wife and Ginny’s friend, are very good. Much of the filming is done at Petco Park in San Diego with many scenes staged in the Padres’ actual locker room, front offices, and playing field. For long-suffering Padres fans, “Pitch” may be their only opportunity for many years to come to see Petco in prime time on national television in the Fall.

Trivia answer: Actually a few women have played on minor league teams but no one has made it to the majors to date.