On Monday, the Bay Area had its first major sporting event since the pandemic began. Yesterday the A’s played the Giants in their first spring training game at the Oakland Coliseum.
But Instead of playing to a stadium full of real people, athletes played in front of card-board cut-outs of fans. Season ticket-holders were able to pay to place a photo of their choosing in their seat. Proceeds from the program will go to local charities.
During the national anthem, Giants manager Gabe Kapler took a knee along with several of his players. After the game, Kapler told reporters that he had wanted to express his dissatisfaction with systemic racism in the U.S. It was the first time since 2017 that a baseball team has kneeled during the anthem — a protest started by Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers.
In a late-nite tweet after the game President Trump called kneeling during the anthem “a sign of great disrespect” and said the game is over for him.
But it’s not over for Major League Baseball. The season begins Thursday, with limited travel, regular COVID testing, and empty stadium seats, except for those cardboard cut-outs.
The Giants and the A’s play each other in another spring training game tonight at San Francisco’s Oracle Park. That game starts at 6:45.