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Jesus Saves … But Not On The Mound In St. Louis

  • Rick Chandler

So I’m not sure how long they’ve been doing this — at least all of this season, apparently — but the Cardinals have a couple of religious figures etched into the pitching mound at Busch Stadium at the beginning of every game.

Former St. Louis resident Michael Vines noticed this, and took a picture from his TV, and sent it, along with a letter, to the Riverfront Times. The letter in full is below, but we’ll sum it up by saying that Vines feels that the religious iconography on the mound is not appropriate.

“That’s when I realized they were doing it all year,” he says. “I hadn’t noticed. I was shocked I hadn’t noticed.”

Vines says they are a Jesus fish and a cross. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did a short item on the symbols on Sunday, and referred to one of them as “the No. 6, which is a tribute to Stan Musial.”

If so, that’s the stupidest No. 6 I’ve ever seen. Was it drawn by a bear? It much more resembles a Jesus fish. And because it’s next to a cross, that makes sense.

The Post-Dispatch says that a grounds crew member draws the symbols before every game (most teams have their logo stenciled on the mound for the TV cameras to catch).

Anyway, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, claiming ignorance of the symbols until the Post-Dispatch article came out, has ordered them removed. Fox News:

“Once we learned of it, I did contact the grounds crew and just asked that they don’t,” he told the newspaper. “It’s just not club policy to be putting religious symbols on the playing field or throughout the ballpark.”

Mozeliak said he did not ask the reason behind the etchings – which have apparently been on put on the mound for most home games.

“I just asked for it to stop,” he said.

Vine’s letter:

Derrick Goold wrote a piece in StLToday.com (June 23, 2013) about a Christian cross etched into the dirt of the pitcher’s mound at Busch Stadium. It was I who called attention to the cross, along with what I took to be the image of something commonly known as the “Jesus fish” also scratched into the mound. Goold says that the latter is the number “6″, a tribute to Stan Musial. If so, it’s a very oddly shaped “6″ (see attached photo) and, considering its proximity to the cross, would seem to be serving a dual purpose.

Goold lead his piece with the headline “Mound Tribute,” as if there were nothing inappropriate about displaying 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.

And there’s this to consider. According to the Post (http://bit.ly/1caTLMW), team owners are the beneficiaries of ticket and real estate tax abatements that will save them $143 million in payments to the city over 25 years, as well as $54 million in state incentives and a $45 million county loan.

The team and stadium may be privately owned, but a 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.

It seems innocuous, but how would people feel if there were a Star of David, the Muslim Star and Crescent, or a picture of Thor’s hammer on the mound?

Actually Thor’s hammer would be pretty cool.

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St. Louis Cardinals Remove Christian Symbols From Pitching Mound After Fan Complains [Mediaite]

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