'He did it!' -- MLB coach beats cancer, but media remain vague on faith that sustained him

"People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” — Rogers Hornsby

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Is it time yet for pitchers and catchers to report?

I've mentioned a time or 500 how much I love baseball. Since I was a 14-year-old boy going to see my first major-league game, the Texas Rangers have been my favorite team.

Last week, I was pleased to see some wonderful news on the Twitter feed of my beloved Rangers. This news was enough to warm a fan's heart in the cold of winter: After an 11-month battle with cancer, Texas third-base coach Tony Beasley received a clean bill of health.

And yes — just in case baseball isn't a spiritual enough undertaking for you in its own right — there's a religion angle to Beasley's recovery:

That Fort Worth Star-Telegram headline — "Faith deepens for Rangers coach Beasley during bout with cancer" — gave me hope about the potential contents of the story.

As some GetReligion readers — particularly the baseball fans — may recall, I voiced frustration last summer about vague treatment of Beasley's faith by sportswriters:

About an otherwise powerful Dallas Morning News profile of Beasley, I wrote:

What is his specific religious background? Where and how does he worship? What precisely does it mean to him to live out his faith during this difficult time?
Such questions go unanswered — totally — in the Morning News story. Apparently, religion has no place in this piece that focuses on more general themes of inspiration and perseverance.

Whereas the Dallas newspaper swung and missed on the faith angle, last week's headline made me think the Star-Telegram might make solid contact. Mind you, I wasn't looking for a home run, just a hard-hit single up the middle.

From the Fort Worth story:

For Beasley, a man of deep faith, 2016 was a blessing.
“I was in a scenario where my hands were tied,” he said. “There was nothing I could do but surrender to God and lay and leave it there so I just continued to let it go and walk by faith.”

Later in the report, there's this:

He expressed gratitude to the Rangers’ ownership, including Ray Davis and Neil Leibman, for seeing to it that he received top flight care and for the well-wishes from Rangers fans.
“Rangers Nation has been incredible. This is my second year as a Texas Ranger and people don’t necessarily know me personally but the way the fans have reached out and prayed for me with kind words and thoughts has been overwhelming,” he said. “It really meant a lot and helped me through.”

But I can't give the Star-Telegram credit for a hit. Sorry.

While the story identifies Beasley as "a man of deep faith," readers don't learn anything about that faith or specifically what role it plays in his life.

The good news is this: There's still plenty of time for an enterprising journalist to dig deeper before spring training starts.

Hey, wouldn't the full story of Beasley's journey would make an excellent holiday feature? That story -- with actual religious details included -- could make a real nice Christmas present for baseball fans everywhere.

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