Tuesday, 16 July 2013 12:51

St. Louis Cardinals Nix Christian Symbols Etched Into Pitcher's Mound

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The general manager of major league baseball's St. Louis Cardinals has ordered the grounds crew at Busch Stadium, the team's ballpark, to stop etching a cross and the number “6” — which very much resembled the Christian “fish” symbol — into the pitcher's mound, after a fan complained about what he insisted was a nod to Christianity.

Over the past several weeks, apparently beginning in May, a grounds crew member had been etching the figures into the pitcher's mound as a tribute to the Cardinals most legendary player, Stan “The Man” Musial, a devout Christian, who died in January at the age of 92.

But when a fan wrote to a local paper to complain about the symbols, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak quickly stopped the practice, explaining to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “It’s just not club policy to be putting religious symbols on the playing field or throughout the ballpark.”

The complainer turned out to be former St. Louis resident and long-distance Cardinals fan Michael Vines, who happened to spy the Christian symbols on the mound while watching a televised game, and promptly wrote a letter to the St. Louis Riverfront Times to vent. Vines complained that it was out of line for the team to display “religious iconography on the infield at Busch Stadium, a place of hallowed ground not just for Christians, but for Cardinal fans of all religions, including none at all.”

Vines argued that the “team and stadium may be privately owned, but they are civic institutions. Out of respect to a devoted and diverse fan base who also has some skin in the game, not to mention a diverse group of players, ownership has a responsibility and obligation to prohibit religious symbols of any kind from being placed in the field.”

Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch that “once we learned of it, I did contact the grounds crew and just asked that they don’t.... I didn’t ask for the reason behind it. I just asked for it to stop.”

The decision prompted a firestorm of comments from fans and local residents. At least one fan agreed with Vines, writing that “a baseball field is not a place to advertise one’s religious or personal opinions. It’s a place where people of all shapes and sizes can come and enjoy a sport. Busch Stadium is not a bastion of Christian thought; it’s a baseball field that [is] paid for by our taxes. Get it off the mound. I’m a Cardinals fan, but not a Christian. I don’t want to root for a team that has some religious connotation.”

Others expressed their disgust at the team's decision to cave in to secular pressure. One fan observed, "These corporate guys are so gutless, they’ll accept any tyranny as long as they keep getting their dollars — complete with ‘In God We Trust’ written on them. How about Mr. Mozeliak refuse to take this money with God written on it if he’s so sensitive?”

One Cardinals fan wrote that “as a Christian, I loved that someone could express themselves and not worry about necessarily being politically correct.”

Even the ACLU of Eastern Missouri weighed in, saying that the Cardinals, “as a private organization … enjoy the constitutionally protected freedom to choose to display a symbol of religious faith on their private property, or to choose not to.”

The Christian News Network noted that in spite of the contrived controversy, “the St. Louis Cardinals just observed their 23rd annual 'Christian Day at the Ballpark' [July 7].... The event featured Willie Robertson of the A&E television show Duck Dynasty, who shared his testimony in a special post-game program, along with several Cardinals players.”

1 comment

  • Comment Link RedEyedTreeFrog Tuesday, 16 July 2013 18:51 posted by RedEyedTreeFrog

    Christians haven't scoured our country sniffing for anti-Christs or simple non-believers to bite. We gave them all freedom to practice or not practice their religions. Those who do not respect or appreciate Christians cannot understand our Founding Documents. Christians are being slapped around more and more in our own country, the country in which the anti-Christ people are increasing in power and destructiveness toward Christians. It is past time for Christians to reclaim our freedom and our country. Christians must vote ONLY for active Christians. If they prove to be liars, there would be no problem removing them because they would not have a network to keep them in power. The man who spied on an American Baseball Field, and needed to crush the spirit of those who wanted to recognize and show appreciation for a Christian American baseball HERO, do not understand not only Christians and our Founding Documents, but do not understand American Sportsmanship. We cannot be pushed around by these people who demand the removal of our Christmas trees at airports in Oregon, and in our public classrooms because they say they don't know how to explain a Christmas tree to public school students... and now apply pressure likely from the east coast, to erase a fish drawn in the sand. Maybe the complainer knows about someone who drew messages in the sand that upset certain groups many years ago, maybe the complainer wants to stop the spread of those messages in our country. Who could that be, Christians, who could that be? Looks like we must go back to the arenas, the lions are hungry.

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