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Divine Intervention 

Our Sports Writer Sublimates His Disinterest In Baseball To A Higher Perspective On The Arizona Diamondbacks.

GOD AND JERRY Colangelo are sitting at Bank One Ballpark, talking. The Supreme Being turns to his companion and says, "So God, how are things going in heaven?" GOD: I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. Boy, I was in fine form when I whispered that line in Joe Walsh's ear.

JERRY: How do you like the ballpark? Pretty good for $32,000 out-of-pocket expenses, huh?

GOD: Not bad, but I heard the people in the cheap seats (and I use the term 'cheap' in strictly relative terms) got soaked a few weeks back during a monsoon.

JERRY: Well, I'm not the one who made it rain!

GOD: Don't look at me! (Pause) No, really, don't look at me. It's not polite. I'm supposed to smite you or something. About that rain, though; I don't micro-manage the weather. I haven't made weather since Noah. After that, I just set things in motion and left it up to the folks in the Chaos Dept.

JERRY: Pretty good crowd, don't You think?

GOD: (Nods, as only God can do.) Good turnout. What's your secret?

JERRY: You've got to give people a reason to come to the ballpark. I mean, in New York or Boston, the Yanks and Sox have been drawing fans for generations. Being a Sox fan is passed down from father to son to grandson. It's part of living there, part of the heritage.

But this is Phoenix. Heck, 60 years ago there were probably 12,000 people living here. Phoenix has no yesterday, only a tomorrow.

Here, there is no sense of community. Everybody's from someplace else. You have to draw them in. We probably could have done it like the L.A. Kings hockey team, which survived for decades by drawing 10,000 transplanted Chicagoans when the Black Hawks were in town, and 10,000 former Bostoners when the Bruins played the Kings. The place would be full, but no one rooted for the Kings.

But I thought we'd try something different. We had a five-year plan. First year, we get everybody hyped about major-league baseball. Second year, we buy the necessary politicians. Third year, we build the stadium. Fourth year, we open play and have a crappy team, but the crowds still show up for the novelty. Fifth year, we spend some of the money we got from the outrageous ticket-price increases, and put a team on the field that can challenge for the title.

GOD: But it took a little bit more than five years.

JERRY: Hey, You know all about time misconception stuff. Heck, they said You did Your work in six days, and scientists say it took billions of years.

I'm hungry. You want something to eat?

GOD: Well, I've only got a few doubloons on me.

JERRY: My treat. What would You like?

GOD: Ten dollars for a hot dog?! Did your food-service people do the concessions at Woodstock '99?

JERRY: Naw, we got underbid.

GOD: I see you've got your son, Bryan, involved with the basketball team. It must be nice having your son working with you in the family business.

JERRY: You oughtta know.

GOD: Hey, it's not the same. I sent him down here and what does he do? Hangs out with fishermen and hookers.

JERRY: But He's the greatest man who ever lived.

GOD: He better have been!

JERRY: Hey, I've always wondered. You know how the Bible takes us to where He's 12 years old in the temple with the chief priests, and then picks up again when He's around 30 at the wedding at Cana? Well, what did He do in those 18 years in between?

GOD: Don't ask.

JERRY: But...

Suddenly a huge bolt of lightning strikes the ballpark roof and thunder rumbles through the air.

GOD: Just a coincidence.

JERRY: Yeah, right. (Pause) Well, what do you think of my Diamondbacks being in first place in only their second year?

GOD: Rather impressive. Do you want me to tell you how it turns out?

JERRY: No. Yeah. No. No. Would You?

GOD: No. I tried that before. If I told you, you'd probably start speaking in quatrains.

JERRY: So, what's heaven really like?

GOD: Heaven is sort of like the American Southwest -- lots of wide-open spaces and a higher-than-average concentration of Hispanics.

JERRY: Is that an ethnic joke?!

GOD: No. I tried to make ethnic humor once, but they just came out British.

JERRY: Are You going to tell me how this season turns out?

GOD: No.

JERRY: That's okay, I don't need your help.

Suddenly, the Giants, who had been trailing 1-0 the entire game, put two runners on with two out in the eighth. Then light-hitting Charlie Hayes hits a three-run homer.

JERRY: (Dumbstruck) Charlie Hayes?! Charlie Hayes?! What is he, about 90 years old?! Jeez --

GOD: Ah, ah, ah!!

JERRY: Sorry.

(The Diamondbacks recently took two of three games from the Giants and increased their lead over San Francisco to three and a half games in the National League West. The only thing that prevented a sweep and a five and a half game lead was a home run by Charlie Hayes.)

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