St. Louis Cardinals Remove Christian Symbol from Pitcher’s Mound

You may recall that an eagle-eyed St. Louis Cardinals fan recently noticed that there were Christian symbols on the mound when Adam Wainwright was pitching:

As you can see, there’s a cross on the mound (as well as something that looks like a Jesus Fish but is actually a number 6 in honor of Cardinals great Stan Musial).

After various news reports on the Christian symbols reached the team’s general manager John Mozeliak, he decided to take action. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the happy follow-up:

[Mozeliak] said Friday night that he had asked that the practice cease.

“Once we learned of it,” said Mozeliak, “I did contact the grounds crew and just asked that they don’t.

“It’s just not club policy to be putting religious symbols on the playing field or throughout the ballpark. I didn’t ask for the reason behind it. I just asked for it to stop.”

This isn’t an attack on Christianity, as I’m sure some right-wing websites will make it out to be. This is just one of those practices that can so easily get out of hand — hello Wiccan and atheist and Muslim symbols! — that it’s just better to put a stop to it now.

Looks like it’s helping — the Cardinals won their games on Friday and Saturday :)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Rain

    So the grounds crew did this. Yeah, no thanks ground crew. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was a pitcher though. (Unless it’s against the “mound rules” or whatever they call it.)

    • Lmaris

      Can imagine opposing pitchers engaging in a war of mound symbols, which, by the end of the game, results in total leveling of the mound.

      • Rain

        Okay probably a bad idea then, lol.

    • Jeff See

      Too busy to pitch, because they had to re-arrange the symbolism on the mound after the switch. ” TIME! I have to put the cross on THIS side, it’s my lucky ‘side where the cross goes’!”.

  • Greg G.

    If believers really think prayer and religious symboos are effective, why don’t they consider it cheating?

    • Hitchensisdead

      Because the other team is welcomed to sing along you moron!

  • Karen

    Yay St. Louis for having sense!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    A grounds-keeper who was Wiccan or Buddhist or Muslim or Jewish would **not** be so likely to think “Hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea for me to impose **MY** religious symbols onto other players, spectators, grounds-keepers, etc., with total disregard for what **their** religious beliefs are.”

    Great example of the pervasiveness of Christian arrogance and their assumption of special privilege.

    • David_Evans

      That’s probably true in the US, if only because a non-Christian symbol would probably be erased by the next person to notice it. From what I’ve heard there are Jews and Muslims who would think it a great idea in places where they are a majority.

      As an example of Muslim arrogance, I recently heard a Muslim refer to Queen Elizabeth II (the head of the Church of England, no less) as an “unbeliever”. And I’ve heard a proponent of Sharia say “You are not arguing with me, you are arguing with Allah”.

    • godless

      If this is a great example of the pervasiveness of Christian arrogance! Then you are a great example of atheistic arrogance! You forget that the majority of people in this land identify themselves as Christians. You forget that the majority of people in Pakistan identify themselves as Muslims. You forget that the majority of people anywhere always try to influence others.
      The special privilege that they have, especially in the United States, is well earned. It was earned when the pilgrims came and settled in this land. It was earned when Christians built some of the best hospitals and Universities in America. It was earned when they received tax exemption status. It was earned when they built schools and saved local and federal governments millions of dollars. It was earned by the charitable organizations that they run.
      In a nutshell, they have done more than you have done.

      • Pofarmer

        Uhm, the Pilgrims were kicked out of Europe. What does having tax exempt status have to do with anything? How is building schools to ingrain your religion helping the State?

  • newavocation

    Oh, its the St. Louis Catholic Cardinals.

    • Malcolm McLean

      Exactly. They’re the St Louis Cardinals. So anything related to St Louis or to Cardinals also symbolises the team, and the groundsmen like to carve little symbols into the mound. Same way they might use a top hat to symbolise the Yankees.

      • newavocation

        Maybe they need a Catholic Cardinal as a mascot. So instead of leading a prayer the mascot would be leading a cheer.

        • Sweetredtele

          I didn’t know birds were religious.

  • Craig Smith

    Now if someone can get MLB to stop the singing of God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch, that would be awesome.

    • flyb

      This so much.

    • Miss_Beara

      Do they still do that in other parks? Cubs do it on Sundays before the National Anthem. That song makes my ears cry.

      • WallofSleep

        Most parks do it during the 7th inning stretch. I’m not sure when, but at some point GBA replaced “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as the favored song for that spot. Even my mom, who is a christian, doesn’t like it.

        • flyb

          Much of that GBA nonsense started after 9/11. And it’s just kept going since.

        • Miss_Beara

          There would be an uproar if they replaced Take Me Out to the Ball Game with GBA at Wrigley, thankfully! Today, since it is Sunday, they sang GBA before the Anthem.

      • BrentSTL

        Yeah, it started after 9/11 on the orders of Acting Commissioner for Life “Larry” Bud Selig. Now done on Opening Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, the All-Star Game, Labor Day and the postseason.

    • skinnercitycyclist

      But, I thought it was all over once the fat lady sings…?

    • Oranje

      It’s bad enough to have nationalism in my sports before the game. I don’t need it during it, too. (And don’t get me started about the Neil Diamond performance mid-way through the 3rd inning at a recent Nats game.)

  • Artor

    This… is not anything I can get in a tizzy over. The Cardinals are hardly a gov’t entity, and I can’t imagine anyone thinking they represent any official authority. If a superstitious pitcher wants to sketch magical sigils in the mound, I could not give any shits at all.

    • onamission5

      Seems it was the grounds crew, not the pitcher, which makes a difference to me for some reason.

      edit: figured out the reason! It’s like the difference between me decorating my own office, or the cleaning crew decorating my office for me.

      • C Peterson

        What… you’d have a problem coming into work in the morning and finding a cross carved into your desk?

        • onamission5

          I know, right? What’s wrong with me?
          Or even pictures of someone else’s camping trip, or a knick-knack that isn’t mine. Unless the person leaving those things was a good friend, in which case, they’d probably know better anyway. ;)

    • C Peterson

      I don’t much care, either. But it’s easy to see why the team manager would. It is, after all, potentially divisive, potentially distracting, potentially bad PR. It’s not what the game is supposed to be about, and he seems to have handled it very effectively- low key and without making it a religious freedom issue at all.

  • Matt

    Perfect timing – today is “Christian Day” at Busch Stadium (featuring some dude from Duck Dynasty, for whatever reason). I just tweeted the Cardinals (and I am a giant Cards fan) asking when we can expect Atheist Day, Muslim Day, Hindu Day, etc. No response yet.

    • allein

      I thought every day was Christian Day in this country…
      (And apparently the Duck Dynasty family is pretty religious…I don’t watch the show but there was a post about them a while back.)

    • Miss_Beara

      Today was Christian Day!? What… I don’t even…

    • birdseye

      I don’t know about Atheist day, but Muslim day…well, just wait…unfortunately, you will probably be dead, but I can see that it won’t be long until Muslim Day is a national holiday in which even non-muslims will be obliged to participate. And they will. I am waiting for the day that Hemant, the little anti-Christian atheist will one day say something substantial regarding Mohammad. I AM WAITING…but I think the little chicken sh!t will be too scared to even go down that path.
      Watch out for what you hope for.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Major League Baseball still exists?

  • ShoeUnited

    When this first broke, I had no problems with it. I had assumed it was the pitcher or someone drawing it before pitching. I didn’t realize it was the grounds crew. I’m glad that they decided to draw fire away from themselves by just telling everyone to knock it off rather than atheists having to put up another bench between second and third for xians to complain about.

    Good on Mr. Mozeliak for taking the smart course of action and stopping controversy before it got out of hand. I still don’t care for baseball, but I respect Mr. Mozeliak.

  • Kellen

    I thought it was the players. I was getting ready to throw water on this if it became a thing. I was gonna be all “Look, ballplayers are superstitious. They’re always gonna be superstitious. Let’s not let this distract us from bigger problems.” But apparently, it was the groundskeepers? AND nobody’s making a big deal about it? Darn, I never get to be the voice of reason. *pouts*

  • Steve

    When they find atheist or Wiccan ball players to play in the Major Leagues, as far as I am concerned, they can scratch whatever they want in the sand. I don’t see this as getting out of hand any more than wearing religious jewelry is “out of hand”! Apparently it was NOT offending anyone but the manager.

  • JKPS

    I’m going to reiterated what I said last time this was written about: I can’t even believe this is an issue that we (atheists) care about. I don’t care if it was the pitcher or the groundskeepers. I just don’t care.

    But yeah, sure, victory. Whoohoo.


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