Baseball season is finally here, but it’s not the same old game as usual. Players are playing under new coronavirus regulations, and some of them are also putting racial justice on the field.
To mark the beginning of Opening Day, Dr. Anthony Fauci threw the first pitch that officially launched the most bizarre, but much-needed baseball season. With an array of new rules hitting the baseball field, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, some baseball players are also acknowledging the increase in Black Lives Matter protests.
Yesterday’s Opening Day game began with players on the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees taking a knee before the national anthem. The Tampa Bay Rays are also voicing their opinion regarding police brutality as they begin their baseball season today versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
The official Tampa Bay Rays Twitter handle sent out this poignant tweet:
“Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.”
While the tweet garnered a lot of support, including by the Boston Red Sox account who retweeted it, there were a couple of offensive replies, but the Tampa Bay Rays account handled it like a champ.
One commentator tweeted, “Who tf is breonna Taylor? Is she a athlete?”
The Tampa Bay Rays responded by tweeting, “she was a human being.”
Just as the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees took a knee yesterday, which included Nationals catcher Yan Gomes wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt before the game, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants did the same.
All of the players took a knee while holding a black cloth before the national anthem. When the national anthem began, Mookie Betts, a right fielder for the Dodgers, remained on his knee. His teammates on each side, put their hand on his shoulder in support. San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, and several players on the team, also remained kneeling while the national anthem played.
Major League Baseball is supporting the Black Lives Matter movement this season in several ways. Baseball players have the option of wearing an official MLB shirt with a patch that says “Black Lives Matter” or “United For Change.” Some of the baseball mounds will also feature a Black Lives Matter stencil on them.
In June, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed how the MLB would participate in the Black Lives Matter movement during the season saying, “this moment is a call to action.”
“We share in the sadness and outrage that has resulted from the national tragedies that include the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others,” Manfred said in New Jersey.