Every year, MLB celebrates Hall of Famer and civil rights icon Jackie Robinson on April 15, commemorating his 1947 opening day debut as the first black player in the major leagues.
This year, April 15 fell on a Monday, a day that’s traditionally a heavy travel day for MLB teams. This Monday was no exception as 10 of MLB’s 30 teams had the day off.
Price not happy about Jackie Robinson Day
Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price was upset about it and took to Twitter on Wednesday to vent.
1/3 of @mlb teams had an off day on Jackie Robinson day...I just can’t wrap my head around that. We’ve had a problem for a while and this couldn’t make it any more noticeable.— David Price (@DAVIDprice24) April 17, 2019
Price’s Boston Red Sox were in action Monday in an 8-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
But as Jackie Robinson Day provides players a chance to honor a baseball legend and key figure in American history, Price is clearly upset that not everybody gets a chance to do so on April 15.
MLB cites ‘scheduling challenges’
His concern was enough to prompt a response from MLB via statement. They cited the travel logistics of a Monday as too big a hurdle to overcome while noting that teams that didn’t play Monday celebrated on Tuesday.
“In a perfect world, all teams would play on Jackie Robinson Day,” the statement reads. “Unfortunately, there are some scheduling challenges when April 15 falls on a Monday, which is a heavy travel day for clubs. MLB worked with the clubs who were not playing on Monday to ensure their players would wear 42 and have festivities on Tuesday to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day.
“While it is not ideal, one benefit is that this extends the celebration and awareness of Jackie Robinson Day over two days and guarantees that every one of our players participates.”
While shifting the schedule to ensure that every team would play on a Monday sounds like a logistical migraine, it’s one worth enduring if players want it. It’s not like April 15 falls on a Monday every year.
MLB needs to get this one right
If other players join Price in calling for a change, MLB should start planning now for the next time Jackie Robinson Day falls on a travel day.
Robinson is too important and too revered a figure for players to not have the chance to properly show their respect because of a logistics challenge.
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