Black Lives Matter/MLB stencil will debut on the mound Thursday when Nationals host Yankees – ESPN

A Black Lives Matter/MLB stencil will appear on the pitcher’s mound during opening weekend games, the Washington Nationals announced Wednesday.

“The Nationals, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and will utilize the platform and national stage of Opening Day to express support for the fight against systemic racism and injustice,” the team said in an announcement of its plans for Opening Day.

The statement said that all teams would have the Black Lives Matter stencil during this weekend’s games.

Additional elements of Thursday’s opening of the pandemic-shortened season between the New York Yankees and the Nationals will honor, remember and celebrate the front-line heroes in the fight against the coronavirus, the Nationals said.

The team had already announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, and he has been one of the faces of the United States’ fight against the pandemic.

He’s also a big fan of the Nationals — often wearing a face mask with team logos — and when MLB’s season was on hiatus, he spoke of wanting to see them play again.

Before the game, the Nationals will raise a 2019 World Series Champions flag at the center-field plaza.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer is scheduled to start against likely Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, who signed a 10-year, $324 million deal with New York in free agency last winter.