Show subscribes to the Birchist belief that a conspiracy controlling the world began in 1776 with the formation of a Bavarian sect of Masons called the Illuminati, but he doesn't always toe the Birch line. For instance, he's not sure that fluoridation of water is part of the pinko plot.
The way Show tells it, he never set out to be a Bircher. The documentation he found in a Birch bookstore during spring training three years ago only confirmed what he already knew. "I'd realized there was a problem in the world," he says. "And I'd deduced conspiracy." Show had worked his way through Catholicism, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, the occult, hippiness, and rock-'n'-roll. "I'd exhausted all the possibilities," he says. "I could see the vacant progression of modern thought from reading Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud and Kierkegaard."
Show never set out to be a pitcher, either. He wanted to be a doctor. His father, Les, an engineer, pushed him into baseball. Young Eric would sit in his bedroom gluing together Visible Men and Women while dad stood in the backyard waiting to play catch. It was just before Show's graduation from UC-Riverside in January 1978 that he found fundamentalist religion and a decent fastball.
Show believes in good old morality, the good old Republic, good old rugged individualism and a few other good old good olds. "I'm not just concerned with mundanities," he says. "I'm interested in truths, probabilities, absolutes." He likes baseball because it's "purely American like a Norman Rockwell painting," only he wishes it were more "orderly." One suspects that by orderly. Show means nobody should hit your best pitches.
The Padres have pretty much taken a neutral stance on the Birch issue. Some of the players still think the Birch Society is a group of nature freaks who love trees. Show's teammates more or less tolerate him. Says Gary Templeton, a former Muslim, "Eric has a right to believe whatever he wants to believe."