ST. LOUIS — The manager of a popular major league baseball team has ordered the grounds crew at Busch Stadium in Missouri to cease engraving a cross in the pitcher’s mound as he believes it to be improper to promote religion on the field.
While it is unclear as to how long the crew has been inscribing the cross in the mound, spectators note that they have observed the symbol on a number of occasions throughout this year. According to reports, the cross, which was accompanied by the number 6, was a tribute to the late Stan Musial, who passed away in January at the age of 92. Musial was a Roman Catholic.
General Manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he first found out about the practice in a report by the publication.
“Once we learned of it,” Mozeliak stated, “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,” he said. “I didn’t ask for the reason behind it. I just asked for it to stop.”
Reports state that Mozeliak addressed the crew about the matter on Friday.
Reaction to the matter has been mixed, as some believe that the cross caused no harm.
“Mozeliak is in the business of selling tickets. Anything that might tick off a potential customer is an unnecessary distraction. I get it,” wrote one commenter. “That said, this is why we can’t have nice things.”
“These corporate guys are so gutless, they’ll accept any tyranny as long as they keep getting their dollars — complete with ‘In God We Trust’ written on them,” wrote another. “How about Mr. Mozeliak refuse to take this money with God written on it if he’s so sensitive. Don’t ask for a reason behind it, just stop accepting the money, Mr. Mozeliak.”
Others state that a sports stadium is not the place for religious symbols of any kind.
“A baseball field is not a place to advertise one’s religious or personal opinions. It’s a place where people of all shapes and sizes can come and enjoy a sport,” asserted a fan who disagreed with the practice. “Busch Stadium is not a bastion of Christian thought; it’s a baseball field that was helped pay for by our taxes [sic]. Get it off the mound. I’m a Cardinals fan, but not a Christian. I don’t want to root for a team that has some religious connotation.”
Despite the controversial matter, the St. Louis Cardinals just observed their 23rd annual “Christian Day at the Ballpark” this past Sunday, which they state is a “popular event every season.” The event featured Willie Robertson of the A&E television show Duck Dynasty, who shared his testimony in a special post-game program, along with several Cardinals players.