… and, it seems, He follows it religiously. Otherwise, why would all those players kiss their finger-tips and, gazing beatifically, point toward heaven after a decisive home run or a rally-ending third strike?
You don’t see this in hockey, basketball, football, or soccer, where God must be watching, at least for form’s sake, since He is present in all things.
Perhaps God loves baseball more.
It’s possible. He’d have to be inhuman not to be thrilled by a pitch as fast as a race car; a leap above the outfield wall to pick off a home run; an infielder’s graceful double-play pirouette at second. Why else but for love of The Game would He have created Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, and Ernie Banks (but not Pete Rose or Alex Rodriguez)?
It seems, too, that God doesn’t simply watch. He intervenes. What’s more, so our worshipful players seem to be saying, He takes sides, blessing the stalwart home run hitter and damning the errant pitcher, even though both are equally His creatures.
How could this be? After all, this is not a case of good vs. evil (unless you’re a Red Sox fan and the Yankees are involved).
Some argue that God isn’t really taking sides. In a perfectly just world, He will, in time, bless the victimized pitcher with a crucial strikeout just as He may make the once-proud home run hitter the victim of this very strikeout. And, since pitcher and hitter are simply parts of a larger game, God assures equity by seeing to it that, at the end of the season, the combined wins of all the teams exactly equal their combined losses. What could be fairer?
Others, however, question this reasoning, asking how, but for His malign intervention, could the Cubs and Indians have gone more than a combined 160 years without winning a World Series? And, though one of them must win the 2016 Series, He still took an unconscionably long time to bend the arc of the universe toward justice!
This brings us to the question whether, beyond individual instances, God favors those players who demonstratively thank Him for His blessing over those who do not. In the long run, do the former hit more home runs or toss more strikeouts than the latter?
Statisticians have investigated and come to a startling conclusion: no matter what the measure (batting average, home run total, pitching wins and losses, earned run average and the like), players who publicly praise Him rank significantly below those who do not.
Interestingly, players in the higher-ranking group include those who credit Him, but privately, and those who credit themselves, even the publicly boastful chest-thumpers.
In other words, God uniquely punishes those who publicly credit Him with their success. If He is just, why would this be so?
Theories abound: God is not pleased to have His obsession with baseball made public; He feels he must counter the assumption that He is biased; He wants to make it clear that, in the 2016 World Series, though He wants justice for both teams, only one of them can escape its sad history.
No one knows for sure, though there is a growing body of opinion that, in those who publicly attribute their personal success to Him, God sees, not modesty, but a kind of juvenile pridefulness (God loves Me best!), and THIS REALLY PISSES HIM OFF!