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.”
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