Former A's reliever Sean Doolittle, who is now with the Washington Nationals, is proud of his time at the University of Virginia. Doolittle starred for three years at UVA on the mound and as a first baseman from 2005 to 2007.
But as torch-bearing white supremacists marched in Charlottesville and on the UVA campus Friday night and throughout the day on Satuday, all Doolittle felt was disgust.
Over five-and-a-half years with the A's, Doolittle built a reputation as an athlete who isn't afraid to speak out on social injustices and he continued to do so on Saturday.
“I hope people not from this area of the country understand that the people that were marching in and around U-Va. and Charlottesville, they’re not from there,” Doolittle said to the Washington Post before the Giants vs Nationals game on Saturday. “These aren’t people that represent the school or the community. This was a rally where people came from other parts of the state, other parts of the region. Because that area, that town, is an incredibly accepting and diverse and embracing community.
“So it’s really frustrating that they chose to go there from the outside just to march and spread their hatred. I just found out that somebody died from the car thing today. It’s past the point of hearing what they have to say, spreading his kind of hatred. Saying, ‘You will not replace us.’…You aren’t the ones at the risk of being quote-unquote replaced by some of this administration’s policies. And it’s just white fear. It’s the worst kind of hatred. It’s disgusting.”
Former Giants manager Dusty Baker, now in his second year leading the Nationals, was also asked about the marches in Charlottesville prior to Saturday's game.
“It’s part of our society,” Baker said. “Everybody doesn’t feel the same way. It can happen anywhere in the country. That mind-set is not in Charlottesville only. It’s in different parts of our country and I’m just hoping that it doesn’t separate people to the degree that there already is some separation.”
Doolittle's time at UVA will always hold a special place in his heart. He is still close with the baseball program and visits Charlottesville every other offseason. The 30-year-old trusts the community will respond to this hatred in the right way.
“How the state and the country is going to respond and I think it’s up to the people there, the people in that community, the people of the U-Va. community," Doolittle said. "I know they’re going to step up and they’re not going to let that kind of hatred win. So it’s just really sad.”