Carleton: How religious are MLB players?

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on November 15, 2017:

Baseball players are actually cleverly disguised regular people. Sure, they have athletic talents that most of us can’t even dream of, but aside from those few hours per day when they are at work, those don’t actually matter. What you’re left with is a group of 25 young men who are … well, young men. I think that a lot of people have the idea that they know baseball players in the same way that they know their friends, because they see them on TV. In reality, once you walk up to a player and shake his hand and say, “Hey, I saw you on TV!” there’s little more to say after that. The player usually just says some sort of pleasantry, signs the autograph, and moves on to the next person.

It doesn’t mean that MLB players aren’t interesting people. Some of them are sincere and kind people. Some of them are jerks. Some of them have opinions that you would agree with. Some do not. Some like to talk about those opinions. Some prefer to keep to themselves. In other words, they’re human. Some of them even have hobbies that have nothing to do with the sport they play. If you share that hobby, it might even make for a really cool conversation.

At the end of that autograph, you might find a few extra characters. An extra message, instead of a player just signing his legal name and being done. He’ll sometimes put a reference to a bible verse. It won’t surprise people to learn that there are baseball players who are particularly religious. Athletes have been slipping in “thank yous” to higher powers in post-game interviews for as long as there have been post-game interviews. We know that there are plenty of religious people out there, and it makes sense that some of them just happen to be baseball players.

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Originally published: November 15, 2017. Last Updated: November 15, 2017.