Did Pope Benedict invoke divine intervention for the Washington Nationals when he celebrated Mass at Nationals Park last month? Probably not, but over the weekend I heard two local sportscasters here in Washington credit the pope with the Nationals’ recent winning ways.
Since the altar and other liturgical accoutrements at Nationals Park were disassembled and the field returned to its original purpose, the Nationals have won eight games at home and lost only three. Before the Mass, the team had won only two games at home and lost five. Overall, the team had a woeful 6-15 record before returning home the week after the papal Mass. (They’re now 14-18.)
To vest before the Mass, the pope used Nationals’ manager Manny Acta’s office, while bishops who concelebrated used the Nationals’ clubhouse (left). The local sports network here that televises the games claims that the pope actually blessed the Nationals’ clubhouse after celebrating Mass here, but it’s pretty unlikely that he would do that on the way out of the stadium.