The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

April 15, 2013

Violent backdrop in sports to Jackie Robinson Day

MIAMI — Lined up in front of their dugouts, all wearing No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins stood for a moment of silence to honor bombing victims at the Boston Marathon.

What began as an annual celebration to salute the man who broke baseball's color barrier 66 years ago turned somber after a pair of explosions near the finish line in Boston — about a mile from Fenway Park — killed three people and injured more than 130 on Monday.

Hours later, Major League Baseball went on with ceremonies for the fifth Jackie Robinson Day at stadiums all over the country and north of the border in Toronto.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this horrible occurrence and we are monitoring the situation," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said in a statement. "The safety of everyone that comes to our ballparks is always our top priority and we will continue to do everything to ensure a safe environment for our fans."

There were moments of silence before each of the seven night games. At Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, President Barack Obama's remarks to the nation were shown on the video board while the Phillies were taking batting practice.

"I think everyone was thinking about it," said Philadelphia outfielder Ben Revere, who taped the message "PRAY for Boston" on his glove. "It hurts to see something like that happen."

The game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays started at 11:05 a.m. on Patriots Day in Massachusetts and ended about an hour before the bombings. Fans near Fenway Park, some who had recently exited the game, could hear the explosions.

All the teams in action were asked to wear Robinson's number, retired throughout baseball in 1997. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is the only active player who still wears the number, and he has said he is retiring after this season.

Teams that didn't play on Monday planned to pay tribute to Robinson on Tuesday.

Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, is drawing special attention this year with the release of the film "42," which went into wide release last weekend.

Robinson's widow, Rachel, along with the couple's daughter, Sharon, and son, David, were introduced before the Dodgers played the Padres in Los Angeles.

Harrison Ford bounced the ceremonial first pitch to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Ford plays ex-Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey in "42."

In Minnesota, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau saw a screening of the movie in spring training and was pleasantly surprised to see brief footage of himself running onto the field during some of the stock shots of players paying homage to Robinson by wearing his No. 42.

"I wasn't expecting it, so it was pretty cool," Morneau said. "Just quick running across the screen, but to see yourself in a movie of that importance is pretty cool."

The Rays had a special screening, too.

More than 100 players and other club employees watched the film at a theater in Port Charlotte, Fla., the Rays' spring training site, "and I think a lot of guys walked away with a greater appreciation" of Robinson's contribution, manager Joe Maddon said before the Rays lost 3-2 to the Red Sox.

Maddon said Robinson's debut helped lead to the broader civil rights movement.

"I still don't think people understand how much it plays into the Martin Luther King situation," he said. "The revolution that occurred at that particular moment, it mattered. That had to happen first to set that whole thing up.

"So when you're talking about Jackie Robinson, I don't think people realize the significance and really courage that went behind that, and in the movie it points that out — the courage to not fight back, to be able to win over that particular mindset to be able to make all of this work," he added.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said baseball "reflects society in so many ways, whether it's the color barriers being broken down. In our clubhouse you've got six or seven countries coming together. As a group of 25, you look to not only co-exist, but (recognize) the individuality of everyone in there.

"Certainly, the Robinson family and certainly Jackie himself may be one of the most significant situations in our country's history," Farrell said, "breaking down segregation to the point of inclusion and I think that happens in the game today."

The movie "42" earned an estimated $27.3 million over the weekend, according to Warner Brothers, its distributor.

The subject's popularity extends to the sale of licensed sports merchandise. Fanatics.com, a large online retailer of those items, said sales of Jackie Robinson gear on its site since the season began increased by more than 1,000 percent over the same time period last year.

In Miami, the ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Norman Berman, the ballboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers the year Robinson was a rookie.

The 84-year-old Berman lives in nearby West Palm Beach. He was the Dodgers' 19-year-old ballboy in 1947 when the team reached the World Series.

Berman said Robinson befriended him, played catch with him and gave tips on how to make a double-play pivot.

"He was a wonderful person," Berman said. "I learned something from him — when you go through tough times, you've got to stay positive. I don't think most of the ballplayers who came after him would have been able to be the first black ballplayer, because they couldn't do what he did."

 

1
Text Only
Pro Sports
  • SPT - HB0730 - Colts recap art 1 Looking back at Week 1 of Colts Camp

    The first week of Indianapolis Colts training camp has ended at Anderson University, and the players received their first day off Tuesday. Practice resumes today with the daily morning walkthrough followed by a public session scheduled to begin at 1:50 p.m. With the team's preseason debut at the New York Jets just eight days away, here's a look at three things that have stood out since the Colts hit campus on July 23.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0729 - Andrew Luck - JC 4.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Tuesday, July 29

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University on Monday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge OKs record-setting $2 billion sale of Clippers

    Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    July 28, 2014

  • SPT - HB0729 - Chris Rainey - DK Colts release RB Rainey

    Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning. The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later confirmed by Pagano during an afternoon session with the media.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Andrew Luck - JC 1 Luck still learning

    Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University. During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Colts Camp - Castonzo 2 - 278 Castonzo comfortable with Colts' changing O-line

    For all the changes along the offensive line the past three seasons, Anthony Castonzo has been the lone constant. He joined a veteran group anchored by center Jeff Saturday in 2011, was part of a remodeled unit in 2012 and became a mainstay at left tackle for all 16 games last year.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0728 - Colts Camp - Allen 1 - 290 Colts' offense adapting to new arsenal

    Third-year tight end Dwayne Allen suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guard Donald Thomas, running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Reggie Wayne also exited the lineup over the next six weeks. It left offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton scrambling to come up with new ways to attack defenses with an ever-changing cast of characters.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT-HB0727-Luckwatch-ColtsCamp-094.jpg Colts Quick Hits: Sunday, July 27

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0727-AndrewLuck3749.jpg Change the Play

    Andrew Luck had an active childhood filled with a myriad of sports and activities. Now, he wants Hoosier kids to have that opportunity, too.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0727 - RBs - Colts Camp - 141 Colts have options in Ballard's absence

    Chuck Pagano delivered the news Saturday afternoon in a solemn tone, confirming running back Vick Ballard will miss the 2014 season. "It's a part of the game. It's an ugly part of the game," the Indianapolis Colts head coach said shortly after revealing an MRI on Friday night found a torn Achilles tendon in Ballard's left foot. "It's a tough pill to swallow. You never want to lose anybody."

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos