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Religious cross on pitcher's mound at Busch stadium draws controversy

6:44 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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By Elizabeth Matthews

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - There's controversy at the mound at Busch stadium, and it has nothing to do with who's pitching.

Last month fans starting seeing a cross etched into the pitcher's mound at the stadium. Since then, the club has asked that the etchings stop.

Statement from the Cardinals organization:
"It is not club policy to put religious symbols of any type on the field or in the ballpark. When we became aware of this practice, we asked that it stop so that it would not be confused as an official expression of the club. We have fans of all faiths and various beliefs. We strive to provide a welcoming environment for all fans to enjoy baseball, regardless of their faith, politics, race, financial status or any other factor."

Pictures that were shared with us show a small cross etched into the pitcher's mound and this caught the attention of one Cardinals fan watching from his home in New York City.

"I thought that ownership should take it down, I didn't make any demand that was my opinion," said Michael Vines.

He was born and raised in St. Louis and says he is a tried and true fan, but doesn't think this is appropriate.

"For a baseball team that represents an entire community that brings the entire community together to be part of something that is much bigger than themselves individually and in that way it's much like religion," he said. "Religion does the same thing, but there are places for each and this is the public sphere."

After seeing it for the first time last month, Vines went back and studied other games.

"I went back and I reviewed previous games and I went to random games it was on all of them and I went to opening day when Jaime Garcia was on the mound and it was there too," he said.

Since the issue was brought up the Cardinals organization has put a stop to all icons on the mound.

Other Cards fans waiting for Wednesday's game to start disagree with Vines and say it's okay to have the cross.

"As a Christian, I loved that someone could express themselves and not worry about necessarily being politically correct," said Cardinal fan Todd Hannaford.

"If the players would like to have that there then I think they should be able to," said David Zdvorak, also a fan.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri says, "As a private organization, the Cardinals enjoy the constitutionally protected freedom to choose to display a symbol of religious faith on their private property, or to choose not to."

KSDK

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