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For the first time since 2004, Jackie Robinson Day will come and go in Major League Baseball without every player wearing No. 42.
While baseball is sidelined because of the coronavirus, MLB’s efforts to honor Robinson are still in effect. Like many things right now, they’re just taking a digital turn — with everything from a Jackie Robinson tribute DJ set to educational opportunities for children.
MLB announced Tuesday various plans for Jackie Robinson Day, happening Wednesday, on the 73rd anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB.
Here’s a rundown of what the league and the Jackie Robinson Foundation have planned.
2020 Jackie Robinson Day plans
• The launch of the Jackie Robinson Day Virtual Learning Hub, as part of the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s efforts. It will offer educational programming to K-12 students. Among the features being unveiled: video vignettes of the Robinson family and baseball players like CC Sabathia and Harold Reynolds reading excerpts of “Jackie Robinson: American Hero.” This can be found at JRLegacy.org.
• MLB will have virtual and printable Jackie Robinson educational activities on its website aimed at younger children, things like word searches, coloring pages and crossword puzzles. Those can be found at mlb.com/42.
• DJ Envy, a hip-hop DJ and part of syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club, will be doing a celebratory DJ set in honor of Robinson from 7-9 p.m. ET on Instagram Live with various MLB players and celebrity guests set to join in.
• MLB.com will stream 12 hours of Jackie Robinson related content starting at 7 a.m. ET. The schedule includes everything from memorable Jackie Robinson Day games to specials about Robinson. Some highlights include the 1955 World Series film, which airs at 11 a.m. ET and highlights the Dodgers’ first World Series win. At 1 p.m. ET, it’s the 1997 Dodgers vs. Mets game at which Robinson’s number was retired league-wide.
• MLB Network will show Robinson-themed content as well, with a new episode of “Play Ball,” in which Ken Griffey Jr. discusses Robinson’s legacy. The network will also show memorable games from past Jackie Robinson Days.
• In addition to league efforts, all 30 clubs have their own Jackie Robinson Day initiatives that will happen on their own social-media channels and websites. For example: The White Sox have star infielder Tim Anderson and broadcaster Jason Benetti hosting a virtual roundtable with youth baseball players about Robinson’s legacy. The Marlins are doing something similar with their players and alumni, and also delivering meals locally in Robinson’s honor. A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano is spending Jackie Robinson Day serving meals to health care workers in Oakland.
It all goes to show that even on a day without baseball games, Robinson’s impact on the world stretches far beyond the foul lines.
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