By Alex Fees
Maplewood, MO (KSDK) - Pastor Matt Miofsky thinks he may have found a solution for Cardinals' fans frustrated over Albert Pujols' departure from the St. Louis Cardinals.
"It's called 'Recycle the Five Drive,'" said Miofsky, pastor at The Gathering United Methodist Church in Maplewood. "With the news that came out Thursday we heard about people burning their jerseys and trying to express their anger and disappointment. One person in our congregation had the idea of inviting people to bring their jerseys and t-shirts and stuff they don't want and we'll donate it to an area clothing bank."
When Miofsky says "area," he's not talking about the St. Louis area. They're donating used Pujols gear to a charity near Pujols' new team, the Anaheim Angels.
"Well, I mean... we're church and faith often times is about perspective," he said. "Turning lemons into lemonade so to speak. So there is collective disappointment in St. Louis obviously, and some anger. We thought if we could channel that in a positive direction instead of a negative one and have some fun while we do it that would just be better all the way around."
Miofsky said members of his church are trying to make something good come out of a bad situation.
"Obviously none of us are going to change the results of where Pujols is going," said Miofsky. "So it's just left to us and fans and as a city to try to deal with it, and whether we're going to be classy about it or not. Obviously we've had a long time of watching Pujols play. We just wish him the best in L.A."
Miofsky acknowledged there are some biblical themes at play in this gesture which reflects Christian values.
"Sure," he said, "There's lots of biblical messages, I suppose. Turn the other cheek; love your enemies, maybe. Like I said, use our life, use our emotions, to do something positive, and not something destructive."
"But I think life throws you a curve ball, pun intended, I think you don't get to choose the pitch that's thrown; you just have to do your best to hit it. And I think as a city and as people, life throws you disappointments and things we didn't see coming. But it's our job to respond to them in the way we feel called to respond."
Pujols has been very outspoken about professing his Christian faith.
Miofsky said, "He's a professed Christian. I think it's something hopefully he would appreciate being done. And outside of baseball he has made a big impact on this community through his charitable work and the work of his foundation as well. So he's done a lot of good here, and we just want to honor that."
Miofsky indicated that in addition to biblical themes, there are some practical lessons about disappointment to take from the Pujols situation.
"When we love something we have the great propensity for anger," he said. "I think the other thing I've been thinking about to take away from this is that ultimately we're in love with a team and not a player. And so the love will go on because it's the team we love. So I think that says something to all of us about the danger of elevating any one person above the team. And it's true of not only baseball but communities, neighborhoods, cities."
Officials at The Gathering have been in touch with the Anaheim Angels media relations department.
"They thought it was a great idea. They went to work on finding a couple places that would take the stuff. So maybe that's another biblical message-reconciliation across enemy lines. We've gotten a lot of good response. People seem to really enjoy the idea, so I think at the heart of that again is the idea that this represents St. Louis better than burning the jerseys."
The Gathering United Methodist Church is located in Maplewood at the intersection of McCausland and Stanley. You can drop off unwanted Pujols apparel at Sunday services which take place at 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 6 p.m.