Bullpen Gospels: Pastor Slick and the prayer hankies

Dirk Hayhurst

We sat on our beds watching television like an elderly couple. The hotel was a dump, the TV old and the picture washed out. My roommate had the remote and flipped through channels. I didn’t want to watch when he came across this televangelist with slicked-back hair and a suit that screamed hypocrite.

We have watched some terrible television in our short tenure as road roommates, but why or how we decided to stop at this channel for as long as we did is beyond me. Maybe it was divine intervention?

Our slick new pastor friend was holding a green handkerchief, reaching out toward the screen, telling people to touch their TVs and be healed. He closed his eyes as if he were receiving breaking news from the Almighty, then declared he could see a lady with a limp, desperate, with other vague aliments. He said she could have hope that God was going to get her the money he promised her.

It was embarrassing. It was insulting. It was funny as hell.

It was like the church version of pro wrestling. We knew it was all BS, but we couldn’t stop watching.

“What does the message say on the screen?” I asked.

“It says call now for your free green financial prosperity prayer handkerchief,” my roommate said.

“Is that why it’s green, cuz it’s a financial hanky?”

“I guess so. Wow, I make jokes about this, but I guess it’s real after all.”

“Oh yeah, it’s real all right.”

That pastor quoted stuff about money from heaven, success, etc. I told my roomy to call Pastor Slicks and see if he can do something about getting his batting average back over .200.

“It’s going to take more then a green handkerchief.”

“Maybe they have green batting gloves?”

“I don’t care if he’s got a green jock strap, I’m not calling that guy. He looks like an evil Mr. Rogers.”

“What if God made you stop at this channel so you would see the green handkerchief? What it it’s all part of the plan? You should touch the television and receive your healing.”

“But I’m not an old lady. I don’t have a limp.”

“Maybe its a parable: You hit like an old lady and run with a limp.”

My roomy threw a pillow at me and reminded me my career batting average was .000.

“I am not getting out of bed and touching my TV,” he said.

“You know what’s scary? People do it. They do all manner of things like this for scary Mr. Rogers-looking guys.”

The next commercial was for something called a vow of tithe. I know what tithes are because I have made them, but this stuff was different. The commercial was asking people to give money and promising them it would be returned tenfold -- $500 got you $5,000, $1,000 got you 10K. It was as simple as that.

“Oh, this is great!” I declared. “Those are the best odds I’ve ever heard! 10 to 1 return? Get your checkbook. We are going to make 10 grand and get a free faith napkin!”

“Handkerchief.”

“Whatever. We are going to be rich! Just listen to the man! He has to be telling the truth -- he’s on television, and everything on television is real.”

“Maybe we should get the whole team faith hankies. We’d run away with the league.”

Next, a lady received healing at the alter. She got whacked in the head hard while Pastor Slick shouted hallelujah over and over. She ran a full lap around the church screaming and waving her hands as if she just caught fire.

“Someone put her out!” I said.

“She’s going to get a check soon. They’ve got to let her burn, or God’s not going to send her a check.”

“You’d get a check, too, if you touch that TV, then run a few laps around the room. You’d be hitting .900 in the bigs by the end of the week.”

“If that were the truth, I’d grab that set right now.”

“It’s not the truth. This guy is full of it.”

“I don’t know. You think someone would fake that?”

“What, this lady pretending to be on fire or the pastor bit?”

“The pastor bit.”

“This dude has to be faking it. You can’t just write a check to God and expect him to send you back 10 times that sum. This guy acts like it’s that easy. But you’re writing the check to him, and he’s saying if you have enough faith, you’ll get your blessing. So if you don’t get it, then it’s on you, not him. He’s not going to send your money back, is he?”

“Probably not.”

“Of course not. He’s telling people they can get free money if they send him money and believe real hard. And he’s making loads doing it. Look at his suit. Look at those rings. Wow. I am in the wrong profession. The rings we got for winning a championship aren’t that nice. What kind of dirtbag does a job like this?”

My roommate smiled.

“Come to think of it, you’d make a good televangelist.”

“Oh, gee, thanks, bud.”

“Any time.”

Dirk Hayhurst currently plays for the San Diego Padres Class AAA affiliate Portland Beavers. Read his Misadventures of a Minor League Nobody blog at www.cantonrep.com/blogs.