After months and months of planning, the Minnesota Atheists successfully pulled out big win for atheist outreach by sponsoring a professional baseball game in St. Paul.
The St. Paul Saints—one of 13 teams in the league of American Association of Independent Baseball—became the Mr. Paul Aints on Friday, August 10. Every player on the team wore specially designed jerseys that closely resembled their usual jerseys except for the slight adjustment in the logo. Instead of “St. Paul” the jerseys read “Mr. Paul” and instead of “Saints” the special jerseys read “Aints” spelled with the atheist scarlet “A” but in team color blue.
While most professional sports teams would probably not allow an evening of atheist celebration, the St. Paul Saints have a history of being cleverly bold. Some recent notable promotions include the Michael Vick dog chew toy giveaway and the Al Franken/Norm Coleman two-faced, rotating head “Count von-Count” vampire doll in 2008. My personal favorite was the Larry Craig bathroom stall, bobble foot doll they handed out after the former senator was arrested at a MSP airport bathroom for soliciting sex with a foot tap in a neighboring stall.
Billed by the St. Paul Saints as a “Night of Unbelievable Fun”, American Atheists president Dave Silverman started it off by tossing the first ceremonial pitch of the game. The evening featured several entertaining acts in between innings including a three-legged race with three teams. Each team had two people with one leg tied to their partner’s leg. One of the teams included a pair of agnostics who didn’t move from the starting line since they were visibly distraught about making a decision as to which way they should go.
Another moment of in between game entertainment came when three unbelievable characters ran around the field chasing each other. The characters were a demon, a Sasquatch, and the Loch Ness Monster.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of action during the game itself as it ended with a 2-0 loss against the Amarillo Sox. But right after the game ended—and before the evening’s fireworks—fans were treated to the 1991 pop song “Unbelievable”. It was incorporated into the Saints’ recurring act, Karaoke by a Real Japanese Guy, where a real Japanese guy performed the apropos song karaoke style.
It’s hard to tell for sure how many atheists were among the 6,157 in attendance but we sold over 250 tickets for our designated section in left field. Somewhere around 100 people came to our pre-game tailgating party for hot dogs and beverages. Those who saved their appetite for concessions inside the stadium had the unique opportunity to eat spaghetti. That’s right! As a way to recognize the Flying Spaghetti Monster the Mr. Paul Aints provided a special spaghetti stand for our game night only.
The spaghetti stand was conveniently placed across from our information and resource table near the one and only gate into Midway Stadium. We had three volunteers host the table and two more volunteers distributing hand fans to the first 1000 people to walk through the gate. The hand fans featured the American Atheists logo and the Minnesota Atheists logo with the message: “Become a fan of American Atheists and Minnesota Atheists” followed by each of our websites.
Despite the decree of the Fox and Friends hosts on Fox News to pray that our game gets rained out we were treated with the most ideal late summer weather imaginable: Mostly clear, sunny sky with a gentle breeze, low humidity, and 80 degrees.
Stay tuned to find out if there will be another unbelievably fun night next year!