By Eric Jayne
Baseball history was made in Minnesota on July 11, 2014! That’s when the first ever win was recorded by an atheist-sponsored professional baseball team. It happened at Midway Stadium in St. Paul just four days before the Major League Baseball All-Star game took place in that other city (Minneapolis) across the river..
This wasn’t the first ever game played by a professional baseball team that was sponsored by an atheist organization. That happened in 2012 at the same Midway Stadium in St. Paul when the Minnesota Atheists and American Atheists re-branded the Saint Paul Saints to the secular friendly Mister Paul Aints. The Aints lost that year to the Amirillo Sox, and then in 2013 the Aints lost to the Sioux City Explorers. Finally, in 2014 the secularized Mr. Paul Aints—sponsored by the Minnesota Atheists and Freedom From Religion Foundaiton—picked up their first ever win against the Kansas City T-Bones in an extra-inning thriller.
After trailing 1-0, the Aints tied the game up in the 7th inning. The T-Bones responded with a run in the 8th only to be matched by the Aints with a run in the bottom of the 9th. After a scoreless 10th inning the Aints won with a dramatic walk-off game-winning single off the bat of Angelo Songco which scored Jared McDonald from 2nd base giving the Aints a 3-2 victory.
Like the previous two games, this game featured beautiful summer weather without a drop of rain. The clear evening sky displayed a large, glowing Waxing Gibbous moon over the right field section of the stadium. The celebratory post-game fireworks lit up the evening summer sky even more with sparkling bright reds, blues, greens, and yellows.
The 5,000+ in attendance seemed to genuinely enjoy the atheist-themed antics during the Night of Unbelievable Fun. The godless antics included a “Doubting Thomas” dressed in a white robe branded with a giant question mark. “Thomas” walked around the stadium loudly vocalizing his doubt about many things including calls from the umpiring crew. There was also an atheist obstacle race where two competitors began the race in sea creature costumes that were shed and replaced with ape masks as the race progressed. Since there is no end to evolution the PA announced that there is no end to the race; “It’s an atheist race!” he shouted.
One atheist antic that we didn’t get to do was re-branding the Saints ball-pig from Stephen Colboar to Squeal deGrasse Tyson. We were forced to surrender to the Colbert influence and let the pig name remain.
The reason, by the way, the Saints chose a pig to be their team mascot (different ball-pig each year) is due to a little local history. The city of St. Paul was known as Pig's Eye Landing until 1841. That's when a Roman Catholic missionary from France changed the name to honor the Apostle Paul. Pig's Eye was the nickname of Pierre Parrant, an influential bootlegger and tavern owner who had one bad eye.
The amount of protesters has gone down significantly since the first atheist night in 2012. At that time we were treated to a truck hauling a giant billboard throughout the parking lot that said something about how the United States is a Christian Nation. There were a few other protesters but nothing too out of line. This year we didn’t see much of anything except most of the cars in the parking lot were tagged with pamphlets warning of the fire and brimstone that awaits us in the afterlife.
No grievances that I’m aware of were made from the players or coaches, and the staff with the Saints baseball team seemed genuinely happy to have us.
Hopefully the atheist sponsorship can continue next year when the St. Paul Saints move into their new downtown stadium. If we’re able to sponsor the team in 2015 we will plan to change the name again to the Mr. Paul Aints, and we’ll continue the tradition of having the re-branded Mr. Paul Aints player jerseys (featured with the scarlet atheist "A") to get auctioned off at the end of the game. As in 2012 and 2013 a portion of the auction proceeds will go to the Family Place shelter in St. Paul. That’s where a group from Minnesota Atheists prepares meals every month for local families experiencing homelessness.
Stay tuned for more information about the 2015 Mr. Paul Aints game, and God-Less America!