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The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles returns to Dodger Stadium on Friday, Sept. 23, our first Dodger Night since 2019. The main event is the matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals. Both are leading their divisions right now. It should be a classic.

The evening will end with Friday night fireworks. My work will include making sure it doesn’t begin with comic relief. Our legendary Canon Baseball, the Rev. Canon Greg Larkin, has arranged for me to throw out a first pitch. Never much of a ballplayer, I could always at least play catch. At 67, I find that even that gift has atrophied.

Yet two months from this weekend, I need to be able to stand atop Mt. Kershaw and deliver a pitch without a bounce in the general vicinity of the plate. This will be be my third outing. Judge Andy Guilford, my first catcher, had to run halfway to first base to make the catch. The next time, middle school sports superstar Leilani Urquidi, daughter of my St. Paul’s Commons, Echo Park colleague Canon Gail Urquidi, fielded a sloooow grounder.

This year, I’m making a 100% commitment. I bought a backstop from Amazon. Secretary of Convention and ultimate Dodger fan Canon Steve Nishibayashi lent me a bag o’ balls. I began training this afternoon. As you’ll see from the photo, I aim for St. Francis. He’ll be relieved in the 2022 battery by my friend since college, David Eisen, an attorney who generously signals the chancellors and me to bring the heat or throw ‘em a curve. We’ll practice three times this autumn. By the merciful intercession of St. Francis, I’ll be ready.

Missions and parishes wanting to bring groups to the game are invited to send their church name, city, and Dodger Night coordinator’s name to Canon Larkin at greg.larkin@stcolumbaca.com, who will reply with all the information you need for a great night of fellowship and baseball.