There is no mistaking the precocious maturity of Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Whether in his calm focus on the mound or in the clubhouse, he is beyond his 23 years. He appears remarkably centered and at peace with himself, recognizing where he is personally and professionally.
Kershaw is a devout Christian, though unlike Beaker the live-hand muppet, he is not made of felt. Kershaw and Beaker are two lanky characters who outwardly approach their strong faith in markedly different ways.
If there is a showy, look-at-my-crazy-hair aspect to Beaker and his scene-stealing antics in Dr. Honeydew's Muppet Labs, Kershaw is more understated in his approach, if no less sincere.
I’ve never heard him bring up God in postgame interviews or seen him point to the sky after a big strikeout. Yet, I still have a clear understanding of his commitment.
"I think everybody has different approaches to it," Kershaw said. "For me, everything I do has a purpose to it beyond what’s in this lifetime. At the same time, on the field I have a job to do and that’s what I’m focused on.
"I guess you could say I’m a little more understated than Beaker is. Not to say either one is wrong, that’s just kind of my personality a little bit."
Indeed, even if it’s not exactly his way, Kershaw admires Beaker for his resilience while being victimized by experimental hijinks, using his signature "meep!" utterings to bring attention to his faith.
"I have a lot of respect for Beaker," Kershaw said. "I don’t know him personally, but I think what he’s doing is special. I think what he’s trying to do should be recognized, in whatever way that you try to do it. He’s assisting Dr. Honeydew but I think there’s more to it than that.
"He gets a lot of recognition, publicity for it good and bad. People have opinions about his antics and dress because it’s so over the top. I think it does help to have other people in the muppet world that are doing that, and just try to follow their lead."
photos: Beaker: Raving Toy Maniac; Kershaw: Jeff Gross / Getty Images