The Cincinnati Reds Class A affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, postponed their game on Sunday, due to the tragic shooting that occurred earlier that morning. In their statement, the team added: “The Dragons organization sends our thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by this tragedy. We are proud to call Dayton home as it is an incredible place to work, live and play, filled with vibrant, resilient and caring people. We stand strong with our city as we come together and begin to heal.”
Sunday’s game was played as part of a double header on Monday. Between the two games, the team honored the victims by placing nine white roses – one for each victim – on home plate. They also collected donations for the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund, established by the Dayton Foundation, on Monday and Tuesday. The Dayton Community Blood Bank was also at the game on Tuesday to make appointments for people to donate blood.
The shooting in Dayton was not the only tragedy that occurred over the weekend. At least 22 people were killed at an El Paso Walmart on Saturday. The El Paso Chihuahuas weren’t home over the weekend, but the events weighed heavy on their minds. On Sunday the team tweeted, “Our hearts are hurting & our minds are still racing. But we can lean on the fact that this wonderful community of ours is full of love & strength. We are #ElPasoStrong.” Pitcher Dillon Overton dedicated his Tuesday night start to the victims and their families. They returned home last night.
As El Paso’s KTSM noted yesterday, “At a time like this, sports may seem trivial. But as we have seen through multiple tragedies in the past, sports can unify. Sports brings people together and the El Paso Chihuahuas will return home to play the Round Rock Express on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. It will be the first sporting event in El Paso since the shooting.” The article also quoted the Chihuaha’s GM: “‘We know full well, we accept and we will stand up to the fact that we are one of the things this community will rely on to help return it to normalcy. We will let people know it’s okay to laugh, hug and have fun together, again. It can happen at a place like this ballpark, which is a unifier.’”
As community organizations, baseball teams often play a part in the healing process. Let’s just hope that no more teams will have to do this.