Lance McCullers took the mound without having thrown a warm-up pitch. The Astros got in their defensive positions behind him. The dugouts emptied, and Martin Maldonado and Marcus Semien placed a 42 jersey in the opposing batter's box, a Black Lives Matter shirt resting on home plate. Then they walked off the field after a 42-second moment of silence. After 72 hours off the Astros took a stand with the Oakland Athletics and decided not to play last night on Jackie Robinson Day, in an effort to make a statement of civil disobedience and stand with others who are trying to reiterate that Black people's lives matter. I am incredibly proud of this team and this organization. I respect Oakland as a city in the historical record of protesting injustice, and I respect the Oakland Athletics as an organization that could field 25 Eddie Gaedels and still win 90 games. There will be a double-header today. The Astros and the Athletics didn't say a word on the field, and they didn't play. Listen to Robert Ford's call.
If we can change one person's mind, have a conversation that changes one person's thought process that saves a life, this was worth it to us. As a group, as a community, we're doing a great job of talking about it. But these situations that keep coming up have to stop. I think we all feel the same way, and the more times we can talk about it and educate ourselves, the better off we're going to be.
I think this is bigger than baseball. We talked about it in our meeting that this is just not about baseball. This is about life.
We felt like this message was bigger than missing another game, to show support for our brothers not only on our team but across the league as well, to let them know that we have their backs every day no matter what goes on.
Dusty Baker, one of two (2) Black managers in MLB:
For a while there, it had gotten away from being America's game. This brought it back full circle...This is definitely America's game. America belongs to all of us, no matter if you got here early or late. We're all Americans and we've all had a hand in building this country, and we've probably all had a hand in tearing some of it down. Now it's time to rebuild it back again.
I am extremely proud of this organization.
From Sharon Robinson, Jackie's wife:
I'm so excited about these young people. My generation, we're getting old, and very tired. We're activists, but we went through all kinds of things - from civil rights, to women's movements, to the war. We protested everything. Now these young people need to come forward, and they're doing it. There's black and white and brown, and that's very exciting.
*The Dynamo and Dash are collecting bottled water and non-perishables for Southwestern Louisiana at BBVA Stadium today from 9am-3pm.
*Meat Wagon Updates from McTaggart: Bregman is in Corpus, running. Aledmys Diaz could rejoin the team today. Devenski and Peacock are throwing. Urquidy is maybe ten days away from joining the Astros.
*I'll let you try to unpack this Dusty quote, on Verlander, because I legitimately don't know what it means:
Verlander is a little further away than we would like, but he's closer to reality than it appeared like when he first went down.
*Yordan Alvarez had surgery on *both* of his knees on Wednesday, to repair the patella tendon on his right knee and then to clean up his left one. He should be ready for Spring Training 2021, if we're all still here by then. Thoughts and prayers to his wife, who now has a baby and a husband who probably cannot walk right now aka another baby.
*The Trade Deadline is Monday and Brian McTaggart says the Astros are looking for arms.
Related: SI's Stephanie Apstein on the awkward reality of being traded in a global pandemic.
*If you have 4:17 available to drink someone's tears, you can watch Jomboy and some of his crew cry about how Gerrit Cole "isn't as good as he was last year."
Gerrit Cole, 2019: 20-5, 2.50 ERA/0.895 WHIP (2.64 FIP), 13.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9
Gerrit Cole, 2020: 4-1, 3.51 ERA/0.951 WHIP (4.40 FIP), 11.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 2.2 HR/9
Oh, and the Yankees are sitting on a 7-game losing streak.
*Freakin' Chadwick Boseman - 43 years old - who played Jackie Robinson in 42 - died...on 2020's Jackie Robinson Day. RIP.
*The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli: What MLB's data-sharing network might tell us about teams making trades.
*Mookie Betts narrated a really great video in honor of Jackie Robinson.
*It's two weeks today until Leeds United announces their presence in the Premier League with authority and beats Liverpool at Anfield, 2-1. The Roggits play at 5:30pm today.
*There are now over 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases related to a Smash Mouth concert at a South Dakota motorcycle rally. These are decisions that were made.
*InFocus: Pictures of the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
*A note about this morning's Musical Selection:
About ten years ago The Wife and I went to see one of our favorite musicians - Joe Firstman - play The Basement in Nashville. We like to see who opens, so we showed up early, and heard this dude Jay Buchanan. It was us and about 10 other people, and he - completely by himself - KILLED it. If you ever had a chance to go to The Basement, "intimate" is a generous word for the venue. We bought an EP of his and it kills me that I can't find it. Anyway, this was one of his songs:
We didn't hear anything about him again. It was a topic of conversation: how in the world did Jay Buchanan not become famous, at least in some under-the-radar indie singer-songwriter sense. And then we went down a musical rabbit hole two nights ago, and found that he had, in face, made it, at least in a little bit of an under-the-radar sense. May I present to you, Rival Sons, whose lead singer is Jay Buchanan: