ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) — The St. Louis Cardinals general manager ordered a cross carved into the pitcher’s mound to be removed following a fan complaining about the religious symbol to local newspapers.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak asked the grounds crew to remove the cross and not to put the religious symbol on the mound again after learning of the practice from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“It’s not just club policy to be putting religious symbols on the playing field or throughout the ballpark,” Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch. “I didn’t ask for the reason behind it. I just asked for it to stop.”
The Post-Dispatch reports the grounds crew began carving the cross and a No. 6 on the mound in honor of Stan Musial, the Cardinals Hall of Famer who died in January.
Michael Vines tells the Riverfront Times that he was the one who originally complained to the Post-Dispatch about the cross symbol on the mound.
In a letter sent to the Times, Vines wrote that it’s wrong for the team to display “religious iconography on the infield at Busch Stadium, a place of hallowed ground not just for Christians, but for Cardinal fans of all religions, including none at all.”
Vines says the team have a civic responsibility to ban religious symbols on the field.
“The team and stadium may be privately owned, but they are civic institutions,” Vines told the Times. “Out of respect to a devoted and diverse fan base who also has some skin in the game, not to mention a diverse group of players, ownership has a responsibility and obligation to prohibit religious symbols of any kind from being placed in the field.”
Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch that he has alerted Major League Baseball officials about the matter.
The Cardinals are currently tied for first in the NL Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates.