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As the MLB lockout raged into March, the very real threat that the celebration scheduled around baseball for Friday could be canceled was not lost on today’s players.
Among the various public-relations hits baseball would have absorbed without a resolution to its winter-long labor strife, not being on the field on April 15 — the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier with his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 — would have been disastrous.
Along with my duties of covering the Vladimir Guerrero Jr. show Wednesday at the Stadium, I asked a few Yankees to share their thoughts on baseball being back in time for Jackie Robinson Day, as well as the significance of everyone wearing his uniform number on this day every year, their love of the movie “42” depicting his journey and what progress still needs to be made in baseball and society.
“That’s one thing honestly that I was looking at the calendar during the lockout and trying to figure out what was going to happen,” Aaron Judge told Sports+ before Wednesday’s loss to the Jays. “It was a day I definitely had circled that we had to be back before then. I even thought for a while that we might have Opening Day on the 15th, and that would have been pretty special, too, and a really big day, having everyone wear 42 on Opening Day.