Dodgers celebrate Black Heritage Night

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Kansas City Royals 7-2 on Black Heritage Night at Dodgers Stadium, falling to 43-29 on the season.

Black Heritage Night is always an important date for the Dodgers. The franchise will always be historically significant for giving Jackie Robinson a chance to play in the big leagues in 1947.

Still, to this day, they are at the forefront of African American representation in the MLB, with arguably their best player, Mookie Betts, being black. They are also one of only two teams with a black manager.

“It’s great. Obviously, it is something I look forward to, and then you think back to all of the black players that have played baseball and specifically for the Dodgers,” said manager Dave Roberts. “I think the Dodgers do a great job of highlighting certain groups or demographics and kind of that melting pot for society. Today is a day that is certainly personal to me.”

Baseball is a very diverse sport, but it has not always been that way. The Dodgers are always pushing things forward in the right direction, but Roberts still thinks there are certain areas that have room to improve.

“With diversity, I think that we have gotten a lot better. You see, Latin American managers, and I think that is great. As far as black managers myself and Wash (Ron Washington). I think that it is just the executive side just speaking candidly. The world highers people that look like them and so I think that is the challenge and something I think we are trying to address,” said Roberts.

Dr. Kristofer J. Jones, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, participates in the Black Heritage Night celebration at Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2024. Jones threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Los Angeles Dodgers played the Kansas City Royals. The Royals defeated the Dodgers, 7-2.
Dr. Kristofer J. Jones, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, participates in the Black Heritage Night celebration at Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2024. Jones threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Los Angeles Dodgers played the Kansas City Royals. The Royals defeated the Dodgers, 7-2.

Coming off his best outing in the big leagues, Yoshinobu Yamamoto left the game after the second inning with tricep tightness. He dominated the Yankees high powered lineup in his previous start. He was throwing the hardest he had all season and completed seven innings on a career-high 106 pitches.

“The last outing was not really directly related to this tightness,” Yamamoto said through his translator. “I have dealt with something like this before, but it was not that serious.”

Gavin Lux came through with a big hit to get the Dodgers on the board in the fourth inning. His two-out RBI single put Los Angeles on top, 2-1.

MJ Melendez erased the Dodgers lead with a grand slam off of Blake Treinen to put the Royals back up 5-2 in the 6th. The stadium-silencing home run came at the conclusion of a 12-pitch and one-broken bat plate appearance.

“To Malendez, he went to the same spot 12 times,” said Roberts. “I didn’t expect a 12-pitch at-bat, and at some point, you have to change how you attack him.”

The fact of the matter is that the Dodgers are slumping. With the loss, they are 10-12 over their past 22 games. They are still comfortably in first place in the NL West, but it is certainly a stretch a team of their caliber would like to forget.

Betts and Shohei Ohtani have cooled off drastically after being the top two hitters in baseball for the first month and a half of the season. Both were batting .370 at one point in May and now they are barely pushing .300.

Los Angeles will get some arms back from the injured list soon, including Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller, but depending on how Yamamoto feels over the next few days, he could miss a couple of starts.

There is no need for panic within the Dodgers organization. It is a long season, and every team is bound to have some ups and downs. They are hoping this is the low point of the season and can quickly steer things back in the right direction.

Story written by Benjamin Verbrugge

Photo caption:

Members of the Divine 9 joined the festivities at Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2024, where the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated Black Heritage Night. The Divine 9 organization represents the nine Black Greek letter groups created at historically black colleges and universities.

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