(JTA) — The Philadelphia Phillies honored Israel with a moment of silence prior to their Wednesday night playoff game against the Atlanta Braves.
During the pregame ceremonies, the public address announcer at Citizen Bank Park asked fans to rise from their seats, remove their hats and “join the Philadelphia Phillies, the Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball in a moment of silence and prayerful thought to memorialize the tragic loss of innocent lives suffered by the people of Israel.” The stadium’s large outfield screen displayed an Israeli flag.
After the game, the Phillies posted a photo of the ballpark cast in blue light on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, with the caption: “The Phillies condemn the recent heinous acts of terrorism in Israel and the tragic loss of so many innocent lives. We mourn for all those who lost loved ones, pray for those still missing or held hostage and above all, hope for peace. To show our unwavering support for the people of Israel, we light our home in blue and white.”
Each team involved in the series has at least one Jewish player: The Phillies’ backup catcher is Garrett Stubbs, who played for Team Israel in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, while the Braves have ace pitcher Max Fried and outfielder Kevin Pillar. The Phillies’ general manager is Sam Fuld, who also represented Team Israel during his playing career.
During the game, which Philadelphia won 10-2 to take a 2-1 series lead, Phillies star Bryce Harper hit two home runs. After both of them, he made a throat-slicing gesture as he crossed home plate, as a taunt to express confidence during a win. After Harper made the gesture the second time, Atlanta Braves broadcaster Ben Ingram remarked, in an apparent reference to the violence in Israel, that “given today’s climate around the world, I’m not sure that’s quite what anybody wants to see.” There have been reports that the gruesome violence in Israel and Gaza has included beheadings.
The Phillies are the latest professional sports team to show support for Israel since Hamas’ surprise attack on Saturday. A number of teams and athletes have taken to social media to share messages of solidarity and support, while Jewish MLB players like American-Israeli pitcher Dean Kremer and Houston Astros star Alex Bregman have sported Stars of David around their necks and on their hats during playoff games this week.
One of the teams that posted a message of support for Israel was the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. The team posted a statement which read, “We stand with the people of Israel and join them in mourning the hundreds of innocent lives lost to terrorism at the hands of Hamas.”
Jackson Frank, a reporter for the local news site PhillyVoice, responded to the 76ers’ statement by writing on X: “This post sucks! Solidarity with Palestine always.” The news outlet then fired him.