Sunday, April 27, 2008

Praise God, Pass The . . . Hotdogs?

First, let me be clear: I have nothing but the greatest respect for Keith and Carolyn Maupin. Losing any family member--particularly a child--to a sudden death is devastating. Doing so under the circumstances they've experienced--four years of uncertainty and in the public eye--would be unbearable for most. That they've channeled their grief into efforts to support our troops overseas is admirable. Beyond admirable, really, but I'm not sure I can come up with a better word.

And while I've thought our local media and leaders have been a little over-the-top in their coverage and predictions for how many would attend the memorial service (was there really much chance so many would attend an "overflow" area would be needed?), I thought it was a nice gesture by all involved (most notably, the Maupins, who could have very understandably demanded that their privacy at this difficult time be respected) to have the service at Great American Ballpark.

Accommodating the service came, I'm sure, at no small effort for the Reds organization. A stage had to be built. Advertisements along the walls were covered with bunting. I've heard Reds officials quoted over and over again as saying that on Sunday, GABP should be "church."

So I was bemused to find this line in the Enquirer's article covering the event:

The concession stands are open, and are selling hot dogs and soft drinks.

I'm a pastor's son, so I've been to church lots of times, for lots of different occasions (both happy and sad), in lots of places. And I don't remember ever seeing a hot dog stand at church. But I guess Bob Castellini and/or Sports Service had to find a way to make a few bucks during a weekend the Reds are out of town.

Often, I know, ballparks let volunteer groups work the concessions for a portion of the profits. Maybe that was the case today; I certainly hope so. But I haven't seen anything about that anywhere. And I'm wiling to say it: neither the Reds nor Sports Service should touch a dime of the proceeds from the sales. (You read correctly--proceeds, not profits.) Perhaps the most appropriate place for the funds to go would be the Yellow Ribbon Support Center.

If the Reds and Sports Service had already planned to donate all monies collected, either to the Maupins' organization or a similarly worthy charity, I apologize and I'll immediately post an update. If not, though, they should be ashamed.

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