The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics held a moment of silence before departing the field Friday, leaving a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at home plate as they opted not to play their Major League Baseball contest.
The decision came as MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day in honor of the player who broke the major league color barrier in 1947.
And it came in the wake of the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Wisconsin — which brought play to a halt on Wednesday first in the NBA and then in Major League Soccer, baseball, the National Hockey League and tennis as players protested racial injustice and demanded police and criminal justice reform.
All players, managers and coaches at Houston’s Minute Maid Park were wearing Robinson’s No. 42.
Houston and Oakland players placed a No. 42 jersey in each batter’s box, and the players lined up for a moment of silence before heading back to their clubhouses.
The action came a day after seven major league games were postponed on Thursday. Fourteen of Friday’s games went ahead as scheduled while a Twins-Tigers double-header was rained out.
The Astros hadn’t had a chance to make such a statement earlier in the week since they had to reschedule their previous two games because of the threat posed by Hurricane Laura.
“Houston wasn’t able to voice their opinion on this,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, who added that this week’s protests had added a new dimension to MLB’s annual celebration of Robinson’s legacy.
“I woke up this morning, and I always knew the story of Jackie Robinson. But I had a different view today,” Melvin said. “I was angry today. I was sad. I was all the above. I was looking forward to putting this jersey on.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said his players didn’t discuss the possibility of postponing Friday’s double-header against the New York Mets, but the world outside baseball remained on their minds.
Boone and Yankees players Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are among more than 100 players, coaches and managers who are donating their salaries from games on Thursday and Friday to The Players Alliance, a group formed to combat racial inequality and aid black families and communities affected by recent events.
“It’s not the time to just shut up and swing, shut up and dribble,” Stanton said. “This is time to take reality for what it is and start helping to make a damn change.”