Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Schlomo, maybe, but definitely not Shea

Jews take their nomenclature very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that most observant Jewish people accompany the naming of a newborn male child with the ritualistic mutilation of that unfortunate child’s penis. A Jewish baby lucky enough to have been born female has a little easier go of it, but naming the child still involves bringing family in from all over the country to eat cold cuts (an especially cruel irony for the boys) while a Rabbi gets her drunk and rambles on in Hebrew. Five thousand years ago, this all made perfect sense. Nowadays, not so much. Us chosen people, however, plod along as if surgery in front of a live studio audience somehow restores our covenant with our charitable deity.

Yesterday, it was announced that Braves third baseman Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones had become a father for the second time. His newborn son is named Shea, after the New York Mets’ home ballpark in Flushing Meadows, NY, Shea Stadium. I’ll go ahead and repeat that in case you were just skimming. He named his son after Shea Stadium, Queens’s dingy, foul-smelling eyesore that houses an often equally dingy, foul-smelling baseball franchise. "Why?" you may ask. "Why would Chipper Jones, a man of tremendous wealth, athletic talent, and seemingly average-at-least intelligence, name his child, his progeny, after a stadium?" "Check the numbers," he would reply (that’s a quote). And it’s true, Chipper Jones has always hit well in Shea Stadium—over .300 over his distinguished career. But now, just to make sure nobody forgets how well he hit the Mets, there exists a human child that bears that scarlet moniker.

I’m not claiming that Chipper Jones's religion was the main factor here. Clearly he comes from a family and background that was so disadvantaged that "Chipper" became a viable option. He cannot bear the responsibility all on his own. In fact, I even kind of like the name Shea. But maybe the Jews have got this one partly right. Picture it: Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones stands amongst friends and family, holding his own child as a strange holy man mutters in an ancient language and aims a blade at his newborn’s boyhood. Just as the incision is made, he silently drifts back to that hot July night when he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and 3 RBI…

So would things have been different for little Shea if his birth had necessitated a bris? What about for little Apple? Or the Clemens boys, whose names all start with K? Or all those George Foremans? I can’t say for sure, but I can say this—I’ve never met a Jewish kid named after a stadium, a fruit, a statistic, or his father (four times).


Blogger Tolles said...

Excuse me, two points.

One) Don't ever trash the Mets again. Or I will hunt you down. And bring a pack of Mets fans with me. Our team has character. You may get beat up as a kid a lot because you're vastly outnumbered by Yankees fans, but that's just more character in the character bank. You root for the Yankees and you're an unoriginal tool whose Mom probably still tucks him in.

Two) This is Larry's THIRD time being a father, the first time being several years ago when he sired an illegitimate child as a minor league player. Another reason Larry belongs on a team like the Braves.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Max Power said...


You missed a nice cheap shot. Chipper's first kid is stuck with a truly unfortunate name: Matthew.

10:02 AM  

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