Good morning, Athletics Nation!
Only once has a Major League Baseball player knelt for the national anthem before a regular season game, and that was Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell back in 2017. On Monday, someone else finally joined him, at least in the preseason.
Before the A’s exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants at the Coliseum, on the same field where Maxwell had done so in ‘17, several members of the Giants took a knee during the pregame performance of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” They included players Jaylin Davis, Austin Slater, and Mike Yastrzemski; coaches Antoan Richardson and Justin Viele; and manager Gabe Kapler, plus “multiple people in the bullpen,” reports John Shea of the S.F. Chronicle. Shea also offers this profile of Davis’ experience being a Black ballplayer.
Also on Monday, down in San Diego at Petco Park, Angels pitcher Kenyan Middleton took a knee before a game against the Padres.
The kneeling gesture, pioneered by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, is a peaceful protest against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. Those topics have been especially prominent in the national discourse this summer, in the wake of the killing of Black man George Floyd by officers in Minnesota in late May.
Several Giants take a knee during national anthem. pic.twitter.com/D9OEX0Jzlp— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) July 21, 2020
Star shortstop Brandon Crawford stood in between Davis and Richardson with his hands on their shoulders, similar to how Mark Canha did with Maxwell back in 2017.
Giants players kneeling during the anthem pic.twitter.com/xT2YkbQ8GS— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 21, 2020
MLB supported the players’ decision to protest, and went a step further by clarifying a common misconception. The protest, which is aimed at mistreatment of the Black community by law enforcement and the justice system, is often criticized for being an attack on the flag and/or military because it takes place during a patriotic flag ceremony.
The league tweeted: “It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.”
The Giants echoed that sentiment in their own statement below, by Farhan Zaidi, President of Baseball Ops.
NBCS caught up with Maxwell Monday night to get his thoughts on the Giants following the lead he set three years ago, which you can read here.
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A’s Game Highlights:
First, enjoy some batting practice from Monday before the A’s played the Giants
Stephen Piscotty went high and deep for Oakland’s first run of the day, and of the year
Minor note regarding the lineup
Ramón Laureano has a tight calf but expected to play tomorrow vs Giants. He’ll hit vs Luzardo today before the game.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 20, 2020
Chapman going out of his way to create memories for some lucky A’s fans
Best of Twitter:
The D-Train is pulling into the NBCS station!
Bay Area native and former All-Star Pitcher @DTrainMLB joins the A’s Pre & Postgame Live crew!— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 20, 2020
Check out his game coverage all season long on NBC Sports California or stream on the MyTeams App: https://t.co/HDWvYoLXki
(➡️ @ProvidentCU) pic.twitter.com/FqyUMpi014
Division rival adding a new pitcher
Hear Bryan Shaw will be going to the Mariners after Rockies let him go— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 20, 2020
This is encouraging
Sources: Zero NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 346 tested at Orlando campus since last results were announced July 13.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 20, 2020
This is less encouraging
If you watched MLB this weekend, you saw open violations of rules on high-5s/fist bumps. MLB speaking to some clubs about the issue today.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) July 20, 2020
We are not here to play gotcha. This can't be easy for players. But it's also a key part of keeping each other safehttps://t.co/yBGOW30Vpj
The spitting image! (But seriously no spitting)
On to more familiar health issues, Brett Anderson and Jed Lowrie were both placed on the IL by their teams, and on the same day no less (and the Marlins released Ryan Cook)
The Brewers have opted to place Brett Anderson (blister) on the injured list.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 20, 2020
News: The Mets just placed Jed Lowrie on the injured list with "left knee discomfort." He won't be available on Opening Day.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 20, 2020
Interesting stuff from two A’s prospects
Linear direction has been a hot topic with @CollinTheroux and I. How can we maintain direction to the middle of the field but still hit for power. The key for Collin has been to feel like his back foot under rotates. If his backside stays his direction is legit. #MondayMadness pic.twitter.com/hlzbt0P8hZ— Nate Mondou (@natemondou) July 21, 2020