I cannot imagine a time in my past when I would have looked at a baseball strike as a positive thing, let alone something I would actively cheer for. But this past week has demonstrated that major sports, from the NBA to MLB and even the NHL, are recognizing that it’s an important moment to let empty courts and stadiums make a statement.
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks started a movement, whether they intended to or not. Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Bucks were hurting, seeing something happen so close to home for them. They decided they would not play Game 5 of their championship series against the Orlando Magic. Some called it a boycott, but it really was a strike.
Other teams soon followed suit across the NBA, the WNBA, and then the Milwaukee Brewers were the first MLB team to sit out their game. Others followed suit on Wednesday, then even more teams did the same on Thursday. As Friday dawns, it is Jackie Robinson Day for MLB. Today is the anniversary of when he met with Branch Rickey to discuss a career in the majors. It’s also the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington).
It remains to be seen how teams will continue to stand against racism and injustice on a day that remembers a man who did both those things, but the Players Alliance have shared their intentions:
Finally, something substantive on Jackie Robinson Day: Black players who formed The Players Alliance will donate salaries today and tomorrow "to combat racial inequality and aid Black families and communities deeply affected in the wake of recent events." https://t.co/nJQV8N8bIE pic.twitter.com/5z4es78jCM— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 27, 2020
There was also a rumor circulating that Commissioner Rob Manfred tried to get the Mets to enact a stunt where they would not start their game on time but rather an hour later, in opposition of the team’s decision to not play Thursday’s game at all. This was subsequently proven to have been Mets owner Jeff Wilpon’s suggestion.
I told you guys on Monday that the quiet no-news downtime wouldn’t last long.
MLB released a statement on behalf of Rob Manfred. pic.twitter.com/7TdtfzzqIv— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 28, 2020
On to links!
- Alyson Footer looks at the reasons teams had for cancelling Thursday’s games.
- ESPN also looked at the various cancellations that swept MLB yesterday.
- We’re reminded that sports should be the reward for a functioning society, something that Cory Frontin and Craig Goldstein get into at Baseball Prospectus.
- Ken Rosenthal writes about how players are finally learning to use their power to demand change. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- The Rangers were ready to go when the A’s said no, Chris Halicke has a deeper look at one of the postponed games.
- Going another direction, Stephanie Apstein looks at the unexpected rise of Lucas Giolito following his no-hitter.
- Tony Wolfe thinks it’s high time Mike Trout stops being so patient.
- Sarah R. Ingber, Davy Andrews, and Roger Cormier have finished their opus of Too Far From Home, and what a ride it has been. If you missed any of it, do yourself a favor and go back through it, it’s available with no subscription at Baseball Prospectus.
- Player development is taking a hard hit as teams like the Yankees furlough staff in the middle of the season. Story by Lindsey Adler. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Don’t forget amid the drama the trade deadline is still coming, so SI staff look at potential movers and shakers.
- Craig Edwards looks at whether or not the three-batter minimum is having an effect on late-game strategy.
- Some of the alternate sites have started allowing fans into the stadium but not scouts. Brittany Ghiroli looks at this unexpected development. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Bust out your check books because Vin Scully is going to be auctioning off some of his personal memorabilia.
- I usually end with a fun one, but I think this is better for today.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.