We really didn't believe it was Jesus Christ, not at first.
True, the Cincinnati Reds said they'd just signed Him to a one-day contract, but who would believe that? We just figured Marge Schott had snuck back into the office and was hitting the vodka a little hard.
But then a rusty 1976 Chrysler pulled into a pay lot a few blocks from the stadium, and we saw a man giving off a glow as he walked. He was mobbed, first by tens, then by hundreds, until, of course, he absentmindedly walked right across the Ohio River.
He wore blue jeans, a COLUMBINE ATHLETICS T-shirt and a WWGD? wristband. "What Would God Do?" asked a woman in the mob.
"Nah," Christ said with a laugh. "What Would Griffey Do? My Dad and I are huge Junior fans."
He was with His "agent," 11-year-old Little Leaguer Yolanda Johnson of Detroit, who said Christ was in pretty good shape for 1,999 years old and had a "wicked" knuckler. Somebody asked Him why he picked now to come back. "I wanted to earlier," He said, "but the Reds had that facial hair thing."
The front office said Christ didn't want much to sign, just the league minimum, which he took all at once, in cash, and handed to Hildy Kranmitz, a bag lady outside the stadium. "Oh, and a bunch of balls, bats and gloves for the kid," a Reds source said. "Didn't even want 'em signed."
"Why baseball?" we asked Christ.
"I keep hearing people say sports is the new religion," He said. "Thought I better check out the competition."
With that, He went into the Cincinnati clubhouse to meet His new teammates, many of whom wept uncontrollably. Teammates raced madly ahead of Him, throwing away porn magazines and entire cases of chewing tobacco, and scrambling to get unopened fan mail out of trash bins.