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The Cardinals put crosses on the mound. This is a problem?

Jun 26, 2013, 9:43 AM EDT

Cross Mound

Bill McLellan of the Post-Dispatch is a bit uneasy:

Perhaps you saw the mention in Sunday’s Sports section about the Christian iconography on the mound at Busch Stadium. Apparently, somebody on the grounds crew etches a cross into the dirt. Perhaps that’s appropriate. This is a Christian team, and the Christianity leans toward the evangelical side.

…Still, I look at the photos of that cross etched on the mound and I get an uneasy feeling … Now there’s a cross etched on to the mound at Busch Stadium. Certainly, the players don’t seem bothered by it. Adam Wainwright told the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold that the cross, and a looping figure said to represent Stan Musial’s number 6, had been there for all his starts. The tribute to Musial seems harmless. Not so the cross. Does religion need to be that prominent in a baseball game? I’m not pretending it’s a big deal. But still, I have an uneasy feeling about a cross etched on the mound.

Look, I’m a godless, lefty, agnostic, pinko degenerate (or so I’m told) but I’m really struggling to see how this is a problem. I also fail to see how this is even remotely related to national security and NSA spying and the Patriot Act and all of that, but McLellan goes there too.

The Cardinals aren’t the government. In most places of work employees are allowed to put up some sort of token or symbol of their religion, and the pitchers mound is the pitchers’ cubicle for all practical purposes. I’m not sure what the problem is here. I believe in the Constitution’s anti-establishment clause. But the notion, which is implicit in McClellan’s piece, that it or allied concerns extend to some sort of problem with the public expression of religion is pretty insane.

I get mad when the government sanctions religion or passes laws which are based in some particular religion’s morality. But if I’m a Cardinals fan I’m cool with this. I’m cool with them giving burnt offerings to pagan gods or pouring out rum for Jobu if it makes Cardinals pitchers work fast and throw strikes. How this is even a thing is beyond me.

144 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. mcs7584 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    ” … and the pitchers mound is the pitchers’ cubicle for all practical purposes.”

    Two points, neither of which should be misconstrued into thinking I’m anti-Christian.

    1) Then let the pitcher make the statement on his own behalf, not some faceless field crew member on behalf of the organization.

    2) Most cubicles (probably) are not accessible by the general public.

    • gostlcards5 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      I would argue that normal cubicles have more accessibility than the mound. Anyone from the general public could walk into my cubicle at any time, but not just anyone can get onto the mound. They can see it, yes, but that is semantics.

  2. philliesblow - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    It’s just a case of cross-marketing (no pun intended) between the Cardinals and God. God promoted baseball in the Bible. Genesis 1:1 – In the big inning God created the heavens and the earth.

    • gostlcards5 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Also remember Genesis 2:2

      …and he stretched in the seventh inning…

  3. infive06 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    The bigger question (to me) is… don’t they have a more recent photo to back this argument up? Jaime Garcia underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday, May 24, 2013.

  4. yahmule - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Someone could really shake things up by adding two more 6’s to the mix.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      And haveing Iron Maiden sing a certain song during the 7th inning stretch.

  5. perryt200 - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    never noticed the cross.

    but can someone tell me why the darker dirt in front of home plate????

    • perryt200 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      i guess i am not smart enough to even understand why the thumbs up or down, when i have yet to get an answer.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        Because humans have a tendency to be penisheads Perry. You find this surprising?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 26, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        What’s a peni shead?

        oh wait…

    • martywinn - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      My guess is that the dirt in fair territory saw more water and/or raking before the game. The precision of the watering leaves me with doubt though. It’s hard to believe it is actually a different kind of dirt. If a grounds crew cared about slowing down bunts or groundballs they would give this area special attention.

  6. umrguy42 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Bill McLellan is a Cubs fan, who occasionally forays into commenting on sports, in ways that leave us all poorer for having read them.

  7. Stiller43 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    As long as nobody would complain if they had some sort of wiccan or muslim symble on the mound, im okay with the cross. If one relgion is free to be pimped, they all should be free of fault to be pimped.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      “Pimpin’ ain’t easy!”

  8. JB (the original) - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Instead of “Cardinals” on the jerseys they can have a ‘novelty’ night and have the “Coexists” (using the popular bumper sticker font) on there instead. If I was an opposing pitcher, first thing I’d do is scratch the cross out, or modify it into a pitchfork, not out of any particular religious bent, just to, well, piss off whoever would get bent out of shape over such a thing (cue media sh*t storm).

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      So in essence…you would be getting bent out of shape over such a thing?

      • JB (the original) - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Uh, no. I’m not sure how you even get that out of what I wrote. I’d mess it up just to fuck with people–you know, like the media, who loves to get filled with mock outrage over stupid shit like that. Sort of like when I see someone wearing a WWJD bracelet and I welcome them with “it’s always nice to meet another member of the “Why Worry, Just Drink” club.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Please know I was halfway joking JB. I simply meant…your reaction (scratching the cross out or otherwise modifying it) could be misconstrued as someone who is bent out of shape over such a thing. But I am with you. More a…let me mess with their heads kind of thing.

  9. deadeyedesign23 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    My only issue with it is, had he been a muslim and drawn a crescent moon there’s no doubt this would be a huge story. As an atheist I would prefer to never have to be made aware of anyones religion, but since that’s not the case I’d at least like Christianity to not get a pass on this stuff.

    • lawson1974 - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      You don’t have a right to not be made aware of one’s religion, you only have a right to not be forced to practice it.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        Who said anything about rights? I’d prefer to not have to know about another’s religion the same way I’d prefer a date with Kate Upton.

  10. sportsfan18 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    75% of American’s say they are Christian. If this is so, or even close to being accurate, then there should be no issue. Most of our Presidents are elected with 53% or so of the vote and they say the voters have spoken and that they have been given a mandate to enact their ideas.

    Something that 75% of Americans agree upon shouldn’t be causing an issue.

    MLB and the Cardinals are NOT the government.

    People above say people’s cubicles aren’t available for the public to see. I drive down many interstate highways and see giant crosses, 35 ft tall or so and thousands upon thousands of people see these each and everyday. There are two about an hour apart on I 75 here in the U.S.

    So to say that a cross that is visible to the public can’t happen, well it does everyday in other places too…

    We can’t put up the nativity scene, even saying Merry Christmas has become taboo…

    Seeing a cross doesn’t cause anyone to believe in God. The govt didn’t put it there. The govt isn’t making them follow a certain religion and so on…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      We can’t put up the nativity scene, even saying Merry Christmas has become taboo…

      Seeing a cross doesn’t cause anyone to believe in God. The govt didn’t put it there. The govt isn’t making them follow a certain religion and so on…

      These two sentences juxtaposed, is really odd. Nothing is stopping you from putting up a Nativity scene nor saying Merry Xmas. Neither are considered “taboo” outside fringe Fox news broadcasters.

      Now, the gov’t doing the same thing…that’s a horse of another color…

    • jaaxelson - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      what about Jewish or Muslim players? the ballpark is the temple of baseball and the mound is the pulpit.

      you don’t care that you’re shoving your god fantasy down their throats? it’s offensive to them (my x wife is jewish… believe me, they hate having christmas “shoved down our throats” – my X sister in law and sister in law)

      “and on the first day…. man created god”

  11. stevevickers8 - Jun 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    First of all, this writer does no one a service with misinformation. Baseball receives an Anti-Trust exemption from the federal government. If it wants to be treated as a private business than it can surrender the exemption. Second, it’s not a matter of what religion is being fostered, it’s a matter of a particular religion being promoted by the team. For Christ sake can’t we be more inclusive, and make everyone at the ball park comfortable?

    • JB (the original) - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      For Christ’s/Buddha’s/Allah’s/Gaia’s/FSM’s sake can’t we be more inclusive, and make everyone at the ball park comfortable? *fixed that for you*

      • stevevickers8 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        Thanks much, Muchos Gracias, شكرا جزيلا,

    • lawson1974 - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      -Receiving an anti-trust exemption does not make you a government entity and does not deny you your first amendment rights.

      • stevevickers8 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:30 AM

        Indeed. However if u receive a federal benefit you are held to the government standard. The establishment clause in no way countenances this. Nor does common respect or common sense. A team has no first amendment rights. Not does an entity that accepts a federal benefit

      • lawson1974 - Jun 27, 2013 at 4:11 AM

        Steve, you couldn’t be more wrong.

        A team does have first amendment rights. The court system has been very clear in this area, that a corporation, as a collection of people, can assert first amendment rights.

        The second part is false as well. Just because you accept government benefits, are not held to a government standard that inhibits your civil rights. Many private colleges receive fedral funding for various programs and they are not forced to cover their religious paraphenalia.

      • stevevickers8 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        The anti trust exemption establishes baseball as a monopoly — perhaps the only government sanctioned business in the country. The “teams” as you loosely refer to them, operate under the umbrella of the exemption, not as individual corporations. The establishment clause would, therefore, absolutely apply to baseball for the “special benefit” conferred.

  12. redsoxted9 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    It serves no purpose, which means the only reason it is there is to be seen. In short, the Cardinals are promoting a specific religion. So it is a matter of whether you are okay with this or not. (I am not).

    • lawson1974 - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      Not accurate. Maybe the pitchers feel it serves a purpose to their emotional state.
      Maybe the team feels this honors Musial.

      Both of those are a purpose.

  13. lawson1974 - Jun 26, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Not only does the anti-establishment clause not frown upon this display.
    This is exactly the type of action it protects.

  14. dfpoor - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    What would Sandy do?

  15. rohozx - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    the cards suck;

  16. ddjjddjj - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    You post an article that says the cross is iffy. Yet you post another article that states the Mariners should be HONORED for flying a queer flag at their stadium. THAT seems iffy to me.

    • Old Gator - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Nope. He posted an article asking whether it should matter or not. What’s iffy is your capacity to read critically.

  17. clayman98 - Jun 26, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Reblogged this on STL Sports View.

  18. phoenixstargazer - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Ward 25 Alderman Shane Cohn secured $15,000 in capital improvement money to put rainbow LED lighting on the St. Louis Civil Courts building to promote the gay lifestyle. Why should the government be allowed to promote certain beliefs, while the Cardinals, a private organization, should be restricted from placing a christian symbol on the Cardinals’ pitching mound?

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Don’t confuse them with a well thought out post. Much less one backed up with facts.

  19. katanaguy - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Liberals can never stop complaining, period.

  20. jgillmeister - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    So I’m the opposing pitcher, and in my half inning I don’t want a “cross hanging in my cubicle” so I wipe it out. How do St Louis fans react? Why are Cardinals management allowing such a can of worms to be opened up? Its just stupid of them

  21. mlblogsmeis - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    I would like to see the Cards cross home plate more.

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