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Tigers & MLB Celebrate Jackie Robinson Day Amidst Social Injustice

MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day and the Anniversary of the March on Washington.

73 years ago, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by being the first African American to play in the major leagues.

The MLB typically celebrates this momentous moment in history on April 15th, when Robinson started for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

However, this year is different.

The commemoration of that historical event couldn't have fallen on a better day, especially during a summer where the response to racial inequality and social injustice has seeped into the sports world in an unprecedented fashion.

Today, August 28th is the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963, where a quarter of a million people marched for jobs and freedom.

The hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors assembled around the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his unforgettable "I Have a Dream" speech.

Major league baseball feels the weight of these events and understands that the game of baseball would not be the way it is today without players of color. 

The league, along with players and staff, stands with victims of injustice and joins the fight.

On Wednesday, teams across the MLB postponed their games, signaling that the movement is more important than their jobs and livelihood. 

Thursday, the Mets and Marlins, in solidarity, came out of their dugouts and stood in silence for precisely 42 seconds. 

The players protested the police shooting of Jacob Blake, while simultaneously honoring Jackie Robinson. The only thing the teams left behind was a Black Lives Matter shirt on home plate.

According to USA Today, "the NHL postponed four playoff games on Thursday and Friday, the NBA called off two playoff games Thursday, and the WNBA postponed three games as those leagues wiped out their entire schedules for the day."

Circling back to Wednesday, after a discussion with the Chicago Cubs, the Detroit Tigers decided to play and won the series against the Cubs. The following day, however, the Tigers postponed their series opener against the Minnesota Twins.

After an emotional meeting with the team, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire had this to say: 

"After going through that meeting, I didn't want to go out there. I listened to these guys talk with their heart, explaining what goes on in their lives every day, some of our young players. And I didn't feel like we should be playing baseball."

The Detroit Tigers postponed the game to Friday, however; mother nature had other plans. The now doubleheader is scheduled to start on Saturday at 1:10 PM EST. 

However, the troublesome weather does not lessen the meaning of what major league baseball is celebrating today.

"Yesterday was something we all felt we needed to take a stand on," shared Gardenhire. "Now, with Jackie Robinson day today, that's always a special day that goes hand in hand with what we're talking about right now." 

The 62-year-old manager states he always enjoys putting on the number 42 in memory of the barrier-breaking athlete. 

Without strong men like Robinson, not everyone would play the sport they know and love today.

To learn more about the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., click here.

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