— Houston Astros (@astros) August 29, 2020
On a day when thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to decry social injustice, the Oakland A’s and the Houston Astros joined together Friday to engage in a peaceful demonstration of their own at Minute Maid Park.
After a moment of silence, a Black Lives Matter T-shirt was laid across home plate, and then both ball clubs left the field.
As such, it became the 11th game in Major League Baseball in the last three days to be postponed in the wake of issues related to police brutality against Black citizens.
“I’m proud of this generation because in the ’60s, it was mostly African Americans and a few white Americans that stood up, but in this day and age, I’m seeing young people of all nationalities and all religions that are standing up together,” Astros manager Dusty Baker, who is Black, told the Associated Press. “The young people are a voice to be heard in the country, and I’m very, very proud of the young people in this country.”
The decision not to play came on Jackie Robinson Day in the major leagues.
It also came on the third day of protests by professional athletes in four U.S. sports leagues since Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police in Wisconsin last weekend.
Robinson is known for breaking the color barrier in the major leagues when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. All Astros and A’s players were wearing jersey’s with Robinson’s No. 42 when they took the field.
Normally, Jackie Robinson Day is held in April, to commemorate the day that Robinson played his first game. But when the early part of the season was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic, baseball elected to hold it on Aug. 28.
The date was selected for two reasons, according to MLB.com.
First, it’s the anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, which the Robinson family attended. It is also the date in 1945 when Robinson met with Branch Rickey to discuss his future as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie Robinson Day is always a festive day in the majors. But on Friday at Minute Maid Park, it took on a more somber tone, as a nod to the tragedy that left Blake paralyzed and a nation in anguish.
“I woke up this morning, and I’ve always known the story of Jackie Robinson, but I had a different view today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told the AP, referring to how much he is learning about racial injustice. “I was angry today. I was sad. I was all of the above. So I was looking forward to putting this jersey on. I have the utmost respect for No. 42 and his play.”