For one night next month, the minor league baseball St. Paul Saints will become the "Mr. Paul Aints" for a game sponsored by a local atheist group.
The Minnesota team known for some off-the-wall promotions -- Michael Vick dog chew toys, for one -- will have a theme night on Aug. 10 titled "A Night of Unbelievable Fun" hosted by the Minnesota Atheists. Players will wear special "Aints" jerseys and the letter "S" in all Saints signs and logos will be covered, according to the Religious News Service.
"I think our message here and our brand of entertainment has always been one that's been inclusive," Saints general manager Derek Sharrer told Fox Sports North. "When we were approached by the Minnesota Atheists, we felt like it was within our nature to be inclusive and certainly work with them to provide them the opportunity to provide their message in the same way that we have worked with hundreds and hundreds of faith-based groups over our 20 years here in St. Paul."
August Berkshire, president of Minnesota Atheists, told the Religious News Service his organization wants to show that atheists can have fun.
“We picked the name not as a political statement, but just as something that was fun,” he said. “We thought everybody ain’t got a belief in something so it was a word everybody could relate to. Obviously, we ain’t got a belief in God.”
Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game and there will be references to Big Foot and UFOs in the stadium, RNS reported.
Sharrer told the Associated Press the team has hosted Christian concerts and a Jewish heritage night and that it would be "hypocritical" to tell the atheists no. The "Aints" jerseys will be auctioned off for charity after the game.
"The one thing I can assure you is that it will be all in good fun," Sharrer said. "This isn't about mocking or ridiculing any one belief. This is about presenting the beliefs of this group of folks in a way that can be fun and entertaining."