Intolerance: Fan Upset At Cross Drawn On Mound To Honor Deceased Baseball Player

St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial died earlier this year, and during this baseball season a groundskeeper at Busch Stadium has been drawing a cross and the number 6 (Musial’s number) in rememberance on the pitcher’s mound.

But it wasn’t until just recently that a fan noticed, and he’s gone to the media with his outrage:

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.

Sports writer David Brown is outraged too. In addition invoking the the tired old “church and state” argument (which wouldn’t seem to apply given that both the team and the stadium are privately owned), he argues that other players pitching off that mound might be offended:

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?

The thing is, the tribute drawn in the dirt is about Musial, not any other player. I don’t know enough about Musial and his religious beliefs to say whether or not the cross is a particularly appropriate tribute to him, but assuming he was a practicing Christian I would think that it would be up to the other players to be tolerant of the display honoring the hometown hero with a symbol appropriate to his religious beliefs.

Displaying the cross isn’t ignorant. Denying a Star of David for a Jewish player, etc., etc. would be ignorant. And besides, there are religious displays in baseball all the time. Players point to the heavens after successful at-bats and wear crosses around their necks. Big deal.

This is just another manifestation of this skewed notion of tolerance many in our country seem to have. Rather than tolerating religious displays like this, some would rather see them expunged from the public in the name of tolerance.

Which isn’t, you no, very tolerant.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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