While MLB’s opening day took place on Thursday, the time has finally arrived for the Phillies to play their first game of the 2020 season against the Marlins. In one of the highest anticipated seasons to date, there is a larger focus than just the game itself.
Prior to the first pitch, both teams lined up along the first and third base lines, holding a black ribbon to honor George Floyd and other Black people who have lost their lives because of the police. The ribbon was used as a socially distanced alternative to players and coaches linking arms, but this visual illustrated they were still united as one.
The idea to hold a ceremony like this came from Phillies’ outfielder Andrew McCutchen and his wife, Maria. The couple also wrote the speech that was read during the ceremony by actor Morgan Freeman. McCutchen's initial instinct as games were set to return, was to kneel during the anthem — but his path soon altered when he realized there was more that could be done to spark change.
❤️— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 24, 2020
The Phillies held a moment of silence ahead of the game to honor all the lives lost from their organization recently and all the lives lost to COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/r8gg89E87b
Just over a week ago, McCutchen shared why he wouldn’t kneel during the National Anthem. At the time, no one knew about the plans of this ceremony, but his words still speak volumes as we all move forward:
“I think it’s about us all having understanding of each other and talking and having open dialect about why we’re doing what we’re doing,” McCutchen said. “Regardless of the reasoning, I think it’s all about having that open dialogue.
“I’m not about just addressing the problem, I’m about making change. So that for me is what I want to do and hopefully will be able to address the change as a whole, as a nucleus, in the game of baseball.”
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