Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Friday, October 20, 2006

Manager Jim Leyland's brother is a priest

From the Catholic News Service -

DETROIT, Mich. (CNS) – There are many ways in which managing a baseball team is similar to managing a parish, said Father Thomas J. Leyland, brother of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
In a sense, they are both shepherds to their "team," with Father Leyland's team being an active parish with 8,000 parishioners and a school and Jim Leyland's team being the Tigers, who beat the New York Yankees and were battling the Oakland (Calif.) Athletics in the American League Championship Series.
In either role, the leader must affirm people, encourage them to do their best, encourage them to work as a team toward a common goal – all while keeping the teammates' different personalities in mind. Also, Father Leyland said, it's important to keep in mind where your team is going, and what its vision is.
Father Leyland has been pastor at St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg, Ohio, just south of Toledo, Ohio, for more than seven years. It is the parish in which he and his family, including his six siblings, grew up. He disagrees with the idea that he has a harder job than his brother, considering the number of people they shepherd. Jim Leyland has to deal with media exposure, Father Leyland reasons.
Although sports has become a kind of religion to people, especially considering that sports keeps some people away from Sunday Mass, sports also has positive aspects, such as bringing people together, he said.
There's a large Tigers following in Toledo, he said, because of the short distance between the two cities and because of the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit's top farm team. "It can build community among people," he told The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Detroit Archdiocese. "That's a positive."
Father Leyland also pointed out that for an area such as Detroit – he graduated from the University of Detroit – or other economically hard-hit areas, it's great to see it coming alive because of the success of its baseball team. "It's good for the city," he said.
Father Leyland himself went to a few regular-season games, but likely wasn't going to catch any postseason games unless the Tigers make it to the World Series. He's been watching some of the games on television, although he didn't get to see much of the team's AL Division Series win against the Yankees Oct. 7 because he was celebrating Mass and then officiated at a wedding.
He said he gets nervous watching the games, depending on how the Tigers are playing. His family is close, keeping in contact through phone calls – of which many were made after the Tigers beat the Yankees.
He jokes that he doesn't pray for a particular team before a game because he's afraid he'll get blamed if they lose. "I get asked that all the time," he said.
He said he prays for the health of the players, that no one gets injured, and that they do their best.