Civil Rights Game ceremonies
I knew a top-notch ceremony would be held before the Civil Rights Game on Saturday but my expectations were definitely exceded. Everything was done well, but not overdone. It was really cool seeing Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby ride in from center field on golf carts and get standing ovations. Cosby wore a Homestead Grays Negro League jersey.
Each icon, and MLB Beacon Awards honorees, had brief tributes to their lives on the big videoboard.
Reds players especially made a concerted effort to see Aaron up close after the tribute was over. David Weathers had his son, Ryan, pose for a picture with the former home run king.
BeBe Winans gave a stellar rendition of the National Anthem. In something you rarely see nailed perfectly, the flyover came right at the end of the song. It was three A-10 planes from Willow Grove Naval Air Reserve Station in Pennsylvania.
The uniforms for both clubs were throwbacks from 1964 — the year the Civil Rights Act was passed.
The White Sox were in solid light blue unis with black numbers…and numbers on the right sleeve. It was a bit unsettling at first, but kind of cool. The Reds had the white pinstriped caps going and in a twist you never see in MLB, the last names were under the numbers. I also think it was the color blue inside the wishbone ‘C’ on the front.
Frank Robinson was accompanied by five Negro League veterans when he threw the ceremonial first pitch. Tony Perez was doing the catching.
If MLB ever considers Cincinnati for an All-Star game, it just saw a strong audition. Commissioner Bud Selig is here along with what I was told was nearly 100 staff members from the league office.
This was taken just as the ceremonies got underway.
Taken during the National Anthem.
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