ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Some St. Louis Cardinals players and manager Mike Shildt told local media on Wednesday that they're "unified" in their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. That's why on Friday night, "Black Lives Matter" will be stenciled into the pitching mound at Busch Stadium – as teams around Major League Baseball will do the same on Opening Day.
The team's chairman, Bill DeWitt Jr. tells KMOX he's also supportive of the cause. In a conversation with Sports Director Tom Ackerman that will air on Friday before the 7:15 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, DeWitt Jr. says his organization has an "important social responsibility" to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I think the team is committed to talking about -- and trying to be a positive force for -- social justice," DeWitt Jr. says. "And I think Black Lives Matter is certainly an element of that. We take it very seriously.
"This year, all clubs in Major League Baseball will one way or another do their part to try to correct some of the injustice that’s occurred over many years. I think it’s great that Jack (Flaherty) personally is taking a very active interest, and I know a number of our players have done that as well. And we, as an organization, are totally committed to it. It’s an important social responsibility, I believe, of an institution like the St. Louis Cardinals.
"We’ll continue to support all the efforts that go into having social justice and the program for Black Lives Matter."
Flaherty will be the first pitcher to take the mound on Friday with "Black Lives Matter" etched in the dirt beside him. He expects it to be a "great" moment.
"That's kind of the place that you've got to start at," Flaherty says.
"This group is very sincere about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement," Shildt says. "We will do it in a unified manner that will follow what the Players Alliance has suggested strongly. We support that. We believe in it as a group. We will participate in what that looks like on opening day on Friday.
"This group is also very sincere about thinking about how we message things, not only in a symbolic manner, but in a unified manner. This group wants everything to work together. Some of the conversations are making sure what we do, we do together. We voice together. We unify together. And it’s not a polarizing effort, so we can eventually elicit and help elicit real solution and change. Ongoing change."