BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Boston Red Sox honored frontline workers and the Black Lives Matter movement during the team's fan-less opening day ceremony at Fenway Park.
Red Sox players started off wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts during the pregame warmups on Friday. With a “Black Lives Matter” billboard in front of the ballpark, and another in the center field bleachers, the PA announcer introduced the team and staff to the prerecorded sound of crowds cheering.
Both teams then held a moment of silence for the frontline workers who had lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to honor the athletes who died in the fatal helicopter crash that claimed the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant in January.
A video from the MLB Players’ Alliance was then screened, with narration from actor Morgan Freeman. As the video played, the Red Sox and Orioles grabbed hold of a unity ribbon.
The entire Orioles team, and a handful of Red Sox players took a knee during the video, which featured Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and former Red Sox players Mookie Betts and David Price.
"You have cheered for us, but we need you to cheer with us now, when we need you most," said a coalition of MLB players in the video. "Black Lives Matter. It's our cheer for change."
The only Red Sox players to stay kneeling during the national anthem were Jackie Bradley Jr. and Alex Verdugo, with Michael Chavis placing his hand on Bradley Jr.’s back for support.
The honor of throwing the first pitch went to three people, who each tossed a ball from the first tow of the center-field bleachers in order to practice social distancing; Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Robert Lewis Jr., the founder of Roxbury-based club The BASE, which serves inner-city youth.
(Photo: Getty Images)