ST. LOUIS, July 6 (UPI) -- A cross and another image resembling either a fish or the number 6 etched into the Busch Stadium pitcher's mound have been erased, the St. Louis Cardinals say.
While the Cardinals' management says the second image was a 6 meant to be a tribute to Hall of Famer and all-time Cardinals great Stan Musial -- who died this year -- a team fan says it clearly was a fish, another common Christian symbol along with the cross.
Team General Manager John Mozeliak said the images were the work of the Busch Stadium grounds crew.
Mozeliak said when he learned of it from a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he asked the practice be stopped.
"It's just not club policy to be putting religious symbols on the playing field or throughout the ballpark," Mozeliak told the newspaper Saturday. "I didn't ask for the reason behind it. I just asked for it to stop."
The GM said he's fine with baseball-related artwork. The grounds crew regularly cuts the outfield grass to include the shape of the iconic St. Louis arch, which frames the center field scoreboard.
"If you want to stencil 'STL' or something like that [onto the pitching mound], that's fine," said Mozeliak, "but that's not something we've asked anyone to do."
The River Front Times, a St. Louis weekly newspaper, reported June 25 that reader and Cardinals fan Michael Vines had sent an email saying he had noticed the symbols on the mound on numerous occasions.
Vines contends the second symbol is a fish, not a 6, and considered wrong for the Cardinals 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."