At least one St. Louis Cardinals fan is upset that the team would allow religious symbols to be drawn into the pitcher’s mound at Busch Stadium.
Before home games, a groundskeeper has regularly drawn a “Christian” cross and what some claim is the No. 6 for the late Cardinals great Stan Musial on the mound behind the rubber (though it looks like the Christian “fish” symbol), the Yahoo! Sports blog “Big League Stew” reports.
The symbols have reportedly been drawn when various pitchers have taken the mound. Some Cardinals players are outspoken about their faith and even Cardinals manager Mike Matheny proudly proclaims “Jesus Christ is at the center of my life.”
It hasn’t posed any problems until one upset fan reportedly wrote the Riverfront Times an email earlier this week regarding the symbols:
A few weeks ago, Daily RFT got an e-mail from a reader and lifelong Cardinals fan who, while watching the games this season, had noticed something he hadn’t seen before on the pitcher’s mound. Right near the cleat scraper, etched into the dirt, there appeared to be a Christian cross and fish symbol.
Michael Vines, who was born and raised in St. Louis, tells us he thought this was unusual and decided to look at some past footage from this season — and noticed that these symbols were on the mound on many different occasions.
“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 sent us a handful of images from various games showing the cross and what appears to be the fish symbol — both of which he argues are not appropriate for a baseball stadium.
What Vines didn’t understand at the time was that the “fish symbol,” was supposedly a No. 6, as previously noted. Vines now argues that if it is a number 6, “It’s a very oddly shaped “6″ and, considering its proximity to the cross, would seem to be serving a dual purpose.”
So far, it doesn’t appear that many Cardinals fans are as upset as Vines.
But Yahoo! Sports’ David Brown has some additional concerns with the display:
Hypothetically going beyond the legal boundaries of church and state, it’s awfully presumptuous and ignorant of the Cardinals to draw any religious symbol on the mound. It’s not really their mound, or anybody’s mound, after all. Jews use that mound. Muslims (might) use that mound. Hindus and Sikhs. Hypothetically, Zoroastrians would use that mound. Diests use that mound. People with no god use that mound. Should the Cardinals really have to be reminded that not everyone is their religion?
MLB officials have not weighed in on the issue.