Minnesota Atheists at Target Field
By Eric Jayne
If you were at the Minnesota Twins game this past Mother’s Day you may have noticed a geeky-looking individual wearing a purple Minnesota Atheists t-shirt, standing on the main plaza holding a yellow sign that read “Minnesota Atheists” written in black marker. That “geek” was me. The purpose of the sign was to alert Minnesota Atheists members who RSVPed for the Twins group outing where I was so they could pick up their tickets for the game. The sign also attracted the attention of several passersby, Twins security, and even the Minneapolis Police Department. While the extra attention from my sign truly was unintended, it was not unexpected. My plan was to simply ignore snide remarks (which I received) and not draw additional attention by engaging in arguments. My plan worked and it turned out to be a victorious day for the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Atheists.
When I arrived at Target Field, I picked a comfortable spot on the plaza near a bench, then proceeded to peel the rubber band off my sign and boldly hold it up above my head. About ten minutes after I took my spot two Minneapolis police officers stood some 15 feet away and watched. One eventually approached me and very nicely said I need to take my sign and stand on First Avenue because this plaza is private property. When I explained that the purpose of the sign is merely to alert my group where I am so they can pick up their tickets and that I am in no way protesting or advertising he silently pondered what I said. A few seconds later he said that he can’t think of any reason why I can’t stay. He shook my hand and wished me a good day. After the two cops left a private security guard approached me to make sure that I had a ticket to the game. He left me alone when I confirmed that I had 25 tickets.
Some passersby made off-handed quips while others offered sarcastic remarks like “God bless you.” One man clapped and said “right on,” but I couldn’t tell whether or not he was being sarcastic. A couple people even took their picture with me and other atheist members from the group as game time neared (although their motives were unclear). My favorite moment was when a gentleman sporting a tank top and stylish sunglasses on top of his clean-shaven head waved his arm (about as thick as my leg) in my face revealing a tattoo of Jesus. He yelled that Jesus is real and God is real before walking on to the ballpark. If I was thinking a little quicker I would have shown him my tattoo-less arm and said something like “My arm shows that there is no God.” On second thought, it’s probably best I didn’t say anything.
Our group made it into the stadium and took our seats on the first base side, next to the right field foul pole in the upper deck. We had a perfect view of the scoreboard which flashed a number of groups in attendance that day. Among the several groups whose names appeared on the scoreboard in the 4th inning was the Minnesota Atheists. Karen, one of the attendees, got a great picture of the moment which can be seen on the Minnesota Atheists Meetup site.
It was a little chilly in the upper deck, but an otherwise beautiful sunny day in which the Twins shutout the Baltimore Orioles in a 6-0 win. As far as I was concerned, the Minnesota Atheists came out victorious too by simply making an appearance on the brand new, giant, state of the art scoreboard at Target Field…even if it was for only four seconds.
Notice the recognition of Minnesota Atheists on the scoreboard below (lower right corner).