When viewing tonight's Major League Baseball All-Star game in St. Louis, note how many times a player looks and points heavenward with outstretched arms after getting a hit, especially a home run.
Apparently, some dearly departed loved one, or unseen angel, or maybe God Himself, is looking out for him.
What you won't ever see is a player angrily shaking his fist defiantly to the sky, or pointing downwards to you-know-where on the way back to the dugout after striking out, or grounding into a double play.
Thing is, what does religion have to do with MLB performance on the diamond in a child's game anyways? Do these players really feel they're that special or maybe even the chosen ones?
They're not, of course. They're human beings, and just as flawed as you and me.
Many - but not all - of the players probably attend the church of the almighty dollar sign. Maybe after hitting a homer, a player should be pointing to a banking institution of his chosing, if it's being advertised at the ballpark.
Ballplayers never used to be so "openly demonstrative" to the heavens after getting a basehit. If you look at old film footage of Babe Ruth, or Mickey Mantle, or Henry Aaron, or Willie Mays circling the bases after slugging a home run, their heads are usually bowed, almost as if they're embarrassed.
None of these Hall-of-Famers ever liked to show up a pitcher.
These days, of course, baseball players aren't the only ones who seem to mix sport with "holier-than-thou" gestures.
How many times have you ever seen a wide receiver get down on one knee and bow his head in the end zone after catching a touchdown pass? or a quarterback thumping his chest and pointing upwards after throwing a TD pass?
Well, it happens a lot, at just about every level of play, and it's a weird way to praise the Lord in the middle of a football contest.
God apparently was on their side and not the other team's. Right?
One of the more pathetic sights is viewing the star of the game on TV before a postgame interview giving thanks and credit to Jesus Christ and the Almighty. Would he be saying the same if he'd contributed to his team's defeat by dropping a pass, or tossing an interception?
Of course, he more than likely wouldn't even be interviewed, would he? Still....
Then, there's the basketball player who crosses himself at the charity stripe before taking a foul shot. Is it, if the ball goes in, God be praised?
If it rolls off the rim...well, maybe another trip to confession and a few more Hail Marys wouldn't hurt.
As to whether the American League or the National League wins tonight's MLB All-Star tilt, not even President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to be on hand for the first pitch, knows.
Only God knows.
Then again, maybe the Lord could care one way or the other, despite all of the outstretched arms.
It is after all just another game.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org