Do Weird Sports Events Indicate an Apocalypse?

I saw the Gideons hovering around the Union building entrances Tuesday, passing out their mini-New Testaments, and I knew I was in trouble.

As an avowed atheist, I am rarely in the mood to get drawn into any kind of detailed discussion involving God, especially with those who are highly fervent about religion.

So how was I to get to my office without attracting their attention and getting sucked into a conversation that, between their subject matter and my sarcastic replies, would be pleasant for no one involved?

Just as I was about to hop in through an open window, some unlucky schmuck saved the day, attempting to go in first, drawing the Gideons’ attention to him and enabling me to sneak in unnoticed.

While I got away unscathed, though, many of my friends did not, and soon enough, the office was littered with little green books.

Seeing them floating around, my mind somehow made the connection to the Bible’s book of Revelations, and its doom and-gloom prophecies detailing the strange and unnatural occurrences that would foretell Armageddon and the return of Christ to Earth (I used to belong to a religion, but I gave it up for Lent one year and just kept going).

Now, while I haven’t seen any seas turning to blood, or any horsemen galloping around, I did realize that there has been no dearth of bizarre events in the past few days, and I grew a bit fearful.

For instance, Monday night’s football game between the 0-4 Dallas Cowboys and the 0-4 Washington Redskins was more watched than that night’s Game 5 of the American League Divisional Series between the New York Yankees and the Oakland A’s.

What in the name of Beelzebub was going on there?

Approximately 16 percent of all people watching TV at the time were witnessing the Cowfelons’ lustrous 9-7 victory, as opposed to the 13 percent who had an interest in seeing who might advance to the American League Championship Series and play for the right to go to the World Series.

MNF got an extra 1.5 million viewers, which can only lead me to surmise that either Jesus prefers bad football to good baseball (which I couldn’t possibly bring myself to accept even if I believed in Jesus) or that the American public is so attuned to every station and network (except for Oxygen, which only plays Xena re-runs) showing either bombs raining down on Afghanistan or Dubya frosting his corn flakes with the anthrax Osama sent him, that they really didn’t know what they were watching.

Then again, maybe they were just worried that, if they didn’t watch football, then New York Jets safety Damien Robinson would shoot them.

Robinson showed up to Sunday’s Jets-Dolphins game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., with a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle, three high-capacity magazines that hold 30 rounds each and two boxes of ammunition containing 100 rounds each in the back of his truck.

Never mind that the rifle and the magazines are illegal under a 1990 New Jersey law that bans the sale and possession of many kinds of automatic weapons?after all, Osama could be impersonating the back judge.

For his part, Robinson said he’d gone to a shooting range earlier that day and merely forgotten he’d left the gun in his vehicle until a bomb sniffing police dog posted at the gate to the parking lot recognized the scent of gunpowder emanating from the truck.


More likely, it’s some freaky way to influence sports fans to watch football rather than baseball.

That being said, Robinson was probably somehow behind the decision to start Tuesday’s Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between Atlanta and Arizona at 1:20 p.m. PT.

As a result of the afternoon start, there were some 12,000 empty seats in Bank One Ballpark to witness the first postseason matchup of pitchers with at least 200 career victories (Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson) since 1978.

C’mon?I realize FOX was reluctant to move the game to prime time, in that it would subsequently be forced to push back the series finale of “Love Cruise,” but there’s got to be something else going on.

Divine intervention, perhaps?

I just hope I don’t witness any famine and pestilence anytime soon. Then again, the Braves did only get three hits off the Big Unit?

Eric welcomes feedback at: [email protected].