All of the Mets and all of the Braves stood for the national anthem ahead of the teams’ season opener at Citi Field on Friday.
The teams remained on their feet throughout an anti-racism pregame ceremony that was uniform across MLB’s Opening Day slate of games late this week. That included a video featuring Black major-leaguers talking about the need for racial equality, as well as a Morgan Freeman-narrated video essay about baseball, diversity and equality.
The Mets and Braves — lined up along the first base and third base lines, respectively — held a long, black cloth during the ceremony. It was meant to symbolize unity.
There were nearly identical goings-on Thursday night ahead of Yankees-Nationals and Giants-Dodgers. During the latter game, new Dodgers star Mookie Betts and a few Giants kneeled during the anthem.
On Friday, most Mets wore “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts during a pregame workout. Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo wore shirts that read “Love Your Neighbor.”
With no fans in the stands, Citi Field skipped the usual Opening Day introductions. The national anthem was performed virtually by local essential workers. A pair of local doctors threw out and caught the ceremonial first pitch.
Just before the actual first pitch — a 99.1-mph fastball from Jacob deGrom to Ronald Acuna Jr. — the Mets played on the video board an encouraging message from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
“I want to congratulate all New Yorkers on a job well done managing the COVID crisis,” Cuomo said. “We showed that we are New York tough. But now I want to welcome the Mets back to do what they do best. And I’d like to say those three magic words we have all been waiting so long to hear: Let’s play ball.”