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Sharks Gameday: Fighting Saints

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Saint Louis vs. Saint Joseph. I tricked Earl into drawing this by sending him a Drawception-style prompt. Thanks Earl!
Saint Louis vs. Saint Joseph. I tricked Earl into drawing this by sending him a Drawception-style prompt. Thanks Earl!

Next Game

San Jose Sharks
@ St. Louis Blues

Thursday, Apr 12, 2012, 4:30 PM PDT
Scottrade Center

Complete Coverage >

Awesome gameday song NOT inspired by blues music in any way: Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 2nd Movement.

If you're looking for a standard gameday post, there are plenty of other blogs you can check out to satisfy your mundane cravings. Once actual games have been played in this series I might start writing about hockey, but until then I have other plans.

The cities of San Jose and St. Louis don't have a lot in common (besides providing fans of alphabetical order a headache when listed together) but one connection between the two lies within their names. It's plain that the city of Saint Louis was named for a Catholic Saint, but what you may not know if you aren't as fluent in Spanish as I am (Yo soy un gringo estúpido quien pregunta a personas en el autobus para enseñarme frases en español) is that "San Jose" is Spanish for "Saint Joseph!"

Amazing, huh?

Saints are sort of like the Planeteers to God's Captain Planet (which means the Holy Spirit would be Gaia? And Jesus would be Suchi the monkey I guess). Saints are chosen by the Catholic Church because of their great and miraculous deeds, service to the church, and public appeal. There are more than 10,000 saints in all, including some really weird ones.

Every saint has certain people, places, concepts, or things of which they are the "patron." This means that you are supposed to pray to that saint in specific situations, rather than bothering God with all your petty bullshit. St. Christopher, for example, is the patron saint of travelers, so you pray to him when you're driving across the country so God can concentrate on helping Tim Tebow suck at football.

Stats and astrology have both failed to clearly predict a San Jose victory in this series, but this interesting Saints-connection has given me one final idea for a fool-proof method to find out which team will emerge victorious:

Which Saint Is Better: Saint Louis or Saint Joseph?

For this saint fight I'll examine some authoritative accounts of the two men, present some highlights, and then grade each saint on a seven-point scale in each of three different categories: Profession, Patronage, and Achievements.

We will start with San José:

Saint Joseph


"This kid totally doesn't look like me. Where's his beard?"

Profession: Carpenter (or something):

Jesus is identified in the Gospel of Matthew 13:55 as the son of a τέκτων (tekton) and the Gospel of Mark 6:3 states that Jesus was a tekton himself. Tekton has been traditionally translated into English as "carpenter", but is a rather general word (from the same root that gives us "technical" and "technology") that could cover makers of objects in various materials, even builders.[22]

So Saint Joe definitely made...objects. Out of various materials. For the sake of this saint showdown we'll go ahead and assume he was a carpenter, but for all we know he could have made giant spheres out of gold or racecars out of human skulls.

Really, there's no way to know for sure. So we're going with "carpenter." It's a respectable job but it's really boring so will only earn Joseph 2 out of 7 Saint Points.

Patronage: Workers, Fathers, The New World, Immigrants, Against Doubt and Hesitation, A Happy Death, and many more

Most saints have a handful of areas of responsibility and some, like Saint Joseph, have dozens. He's a busy guy:

Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in 1870, the unofficial patron against doubt and hesitation, as well as the patron saint of fighting communism, and of a happy death[citation needed].

Saint Jerome is the patron saint of missing citations.

Having died in the "arms of Jesus and Mary" according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, and prays especially for families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.

Okay so Joe kicks butt. Everyone loves workers and immigrants, right? Dads are great too, and pregnant women are special enough to have their own parking spot at Fresh and Easy so I guess they're cool.

Most importantly for hockey purposes, Joseph is the go-to guy for banishing doubt and hesitation. You hear that, Sharks? No doubt, no hesitation, just go out there and win!

Oh and also in order for me to ever have a "happy death" the Sharks need to win the Stanley Cup at least once so...yeah. Get your butt in gear, Joey.

Saint Joseph's various areas of patronage earn him 6 out of 7 Saint Points.


Saint Joseph is famous for being Jesus' Earth-dad and...that's pretty much it. And even in that regard he's sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the holy family:

The oldest gospel, that of Mark, also does not name Joseph. He first appears in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, both from the decade or so following 70 CE. Luke names Joseph's father as Eli, but Matthew names him as Jacob, in keeping with that gospel's depiction of Jesus as a second Moses.[4]

So Joseph isn't even mentioned in one of the gospels and two of the others disagree on the name of his dad. As a further insult, Joseph pretty much disappears before Jesus gets to do anything cool:

The last time Joseph appears in person in any Gospel is the story of the Passover visit to the Temple in Jerusalem when Jesus is 12 years old, found only in Luke. Like the infancy narratives the story is didactic, emphasising Jesus' awareness of his coming mission: here Jesus speaks to his parents (both of them) of "my father," meaning God, but they fail to understand.[13]

Real nice, Jesus. The last time you talk to your dad you basically give him a "You're not my real father!"

Biblical disrespect aside, Joseph should get some points for raising another guy's kid without complaint and, as far as we know, for being a really good dad. Can you imagine how hard it would be to be Jesus' step-dad? You'd probably try to tell him to chop some firewood or help you with your carpentering and he would just ignore you and continue bringing clay birds to life and murdering other kids who made him mad.

For being the best step-dad he could be, gosh darn it, Joseph gets 4 out of 7 Saint Points.

The final tally for St. Joseph is 12 Total Saint Points. We will see if that's enough to earn him a victory over Saint Louis.

Saint Louis


Boy this guy sure was French, huh?

Profession: King of France

Louis was born in 1214 at Poissy, near Paris, the son of King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. A member of the House of Capet, Louis was twelve years old when his father died on 8 November 1226. He was crowned king within the month at Reims cathedral.

Saint Louis reigned for more than forty years, and is the only king of France to ever have been canonized (which rather disappointingly refers to someone becoming a Catholic saint and NOT turning in to some sort of human cannon).

King is a very impressive job. In fact it's just about the best job anyone could ever have. Being a king is way better than being a carpenter. Saint Louis scores 7 out of 7 Saint Points.

Patronage: France, Lacemakers, Hairdressers

Hahaha that sucks.

I guess the French thing could be hockey-relevant (expect a big series from David Perron) but aside from that Saint Lou's patronage is unimpressive. Louis gets 2 out of 7 Saint Points.

Headed into the final category Saint Louis only needs 4 points to beat Joseph. I'm on the edge of my seat!

Achievements: Like most European Kings in the middle ages, Louis loved crusading:

Louis went on two crusades, in his mid-30s in 1248 (Seventh Crusade) and then again in his mid-50s in 1270 (Eighth Crusade).

He had begun with the rapid capture of the port of Damietta in June 1249,[2] an attack which did cause some disruption in the Muslim Ayyubid empire, especially as the current sultan was on his deathbed. [...]

On 6 April 1250 Louis lost his army at the Battle of Fariskur[3] and was captured by the Egyptians. His release was eventually negotiated, in return for a ransom of 400,000 livres tournois (at the time France's annual revenue was only about 1,250,000 livres tournois), and the surrender of the city of Damietta.[4]

Ouch. I'm not a fan of holy wars in general, but even if you are a big crusades apologist you have to admit that Louis was bad at them. He "lost his army" (which is a nice way of saying that he got a whole lot of people killed), was captured, and had to give back the only city that he conquered.

What a loser.

So aside from whizzing crusades down his legs, what else did Louis do?

Louis' patronage of the arts drove much innovation in Gothic art and architecture

Okay that's decent.

His reputation of saintliness and fairness was already well established while he was alive, and on many occasions he was chosen as an arbiter in the quarrels opposing the rulers of Europe.

Very impressive. Saint Joseph might be in trouble!

In order to finance his first crusade Louis ordered the expulsion of all Jews engaged in usury and the confiscation of their property, for use in his crusade.

I'm sorry what?

Louis also ordered, at the urging of Pope Gregory IX, the burning in Paris in 1243 of some 12,000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books.

....I see.

Well I guess it's clear where he got his "reputation of saintliness and fairness."

In addition to Louis' legislation against Jews and usury, he expanded the scope of the Inquisition in France.

Of course he did.

If uncomfortable antisemitism scored you points, Saint Louis would be a champion. But it doesn't so he's just a dickhead who sucks at crusades. Saint Louis earns negative 5 out of 7 Saint Points for his "Achievements."

After his disastrous final round, Saint Louis is left with 4 Total Saint Points. Saint Joseph crushes him!

That's the final word, everyone. There's no more prognosticating necessary. All those self-proclaimed "experts" who have picked the Blues to win this series forgot about one critical fact:

Saint Louis was a piece of garbage.

Prediction: Saint Joseph builds a really awesome thing out of wood to help the Sharks score goals. Saint Louis is too busy persecuting Jews to help the Blues, so Sharks win 3-1.