When the exhibition season begins Friday, major-league teams will wear caps with the logo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to honor the victims of the school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida.
Baseball’s official cap company, New Era, will make the special caps for games in Florida and Arizona. All 30 teams will participate by wearing the caps before or during the game.
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Commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking in Glendale, Arizona, said there was a “really strong sentiment of the clubs that it was the appropriate thing to do immediately. It was a tragedy in the state of Florida, where we have two teams, but it obviously has very specific baseball connections, as well.”
The most prominent baseball connection is with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a graduate of Stoneman Douglas who returned home for several days to be with family and friends. He delivered an emotional speech during a candlelight vigil Thursday night.
“It’s a hell of an idea,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the gesture. “Anything we can do to support those kids. And it’s not just these kids. It’s also the awfulness that’s happened before this. It’s about time that we all need to be a little bit more proactive with this and get something done, period.
“I love the fact that the kids are marching on Washington. I saw a picture of them lying down. Whatever we can do to help move this forward within our abilities, I want to be able to be a part of that.”
Shortly after the shooting, which killed 17 people, the Marlins asked the league for permission to wear the Douglas caps. The Marlins plan to take things a step further by wearing special shirts and caps during batting practice with the inscription #17douglasstrong.