ARLINGTON, Texas — In a bit of a surprise, the most newsworthy part of Bruce Maxwell’s night was yet another foul tip that he took to the catcher’s mask.
Playing in his first road game since he began kneeling for the national anthem, the A’s catcher heard some light boos Thursday from the Globe Life Park crowd when his name was announced, but nothing too harsh.
He’s garnered national attention as the first player in the major leagues to take a knee during the anthem, joining the social protest that’s gathering steam around professional sports in America.
“I got boos, people yelling at me every at-bat. (But) very mild compared to the social media aspect of things,” Maxwell said after the A’s 4-1 victory over the Rangers.
Just a few days after completing concussion protocol for taking a direct hit to the mask on a foul tip, Maxwell caught another foul tip Thursday, though this one got him on the chin more and wasn’t as hard of a shot. He was checked by trainers and remained in the game, finishing 1-for-3.
Two A’s officials had dialogue with both the Rangers and Major League Baseball about getting beefed up security for Maxwell during this four-game series in Arlington.
During the anthem itself, he may have caught a break as he was tucked away from most of the crowd. Maxwell was kneeling out in the bullpen, beyond the outfield wall in left-center, because he was catching Sean Manaea’s pregame warmup session. For home games, the starting pitcher finishes warming up earlier, which is why Maxwell knelt in front of the dugout for the anthem at the Coliseum.
Unsure of how the atmosphere would be, Maxwell told his father not to travel to Arlington for the series. He said his father typically would have made the trip because it’s the A’s last series of the season.
Maxwell’s father, also named Bruce, told NBC Sports California on Sunday that death threats had been directed at him, received by his son via social media.