The entire Yankees and Nationals rosters stood on their respective baselines as the Player’s Alliance video – featuring Yankees Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton as well as retired CC Sabathia was shown . Then came the “moment of unity,” as conceived by former Yankee and current Phillie Andrew McCutchen: a 200 yard piece of cloth going from first to third via home plate, each man holding it, like Oscar winner. Actor Morgan Freeman expressed words that will be shared as each stadium opens:
“To achieve effective change and create a new web of optimism, empathy must lead the charge. This moment signifies our charge. Our fraternity. Our unity. Equality and unity cannot exist until there is empathy.
“Today and every day, we come together as brothers. As equals, all with the same goal – to level the playing field. To change injustices. Equality is not just a word. It’s our right! Today we are men from 25 nations on six continents.
“Today we are one.”
With that, everyone knelt down – some on their knees, some against one – before standing up for the national anthem.
Next, the teams turned to preparation for the game, with Yankees players sporting badges on their left shoulder (above the patch saluting recently passed owner Hank Steinbrenner) reading “Black Lives Matter,” “United For Change ” or both.