Travis Tritt, who recently voiced his refusal to play at venues that enforce vaccine and mask policies, sang the National Anthem prior to Game Six of the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.
Because of Major League Baseball’s on-field vaccine mandate for all non-players, the country singer sang from the stands of Atlanta’s Truist Park, according to MLB reporter Scott Miller. The performance was not televised, but individuals who attended the game tweeted that Tritt was met with a smattering of boos.
Tritt himself announced his appearance just 18 hours prior to first pitch. The team itself made no public acknowledgement of his presence other than telling Washington Post that they would follow all COVID protocols as Tritt sang the anthem.
Even still, the Braves’ decision to book Tritt was criticized. In a column posted ahead of tonight’s game, USA Today’s Dan Wolken wrote, “There’s no other way to interpret having Tritt sing the National Anthem after the run of recent media appearances he’s had. At this point, the Braves can’t claim ignorance or wash their hands of the political implications. They are making it very clear where they stand.” Meanwhile, The Washington Post said Tritt’s booking stood in sharp contrast to the team’s previous actions of being one of the first MLB teams to open free vaccination clinics in its stadium. Additionally, the team’s star first baseman, Freddie Freeman, experienced an especially severe bout of COVID-19, to the point where it left him praying “please don’t take me.”
Earlier this week, Tritt announced the cancelation of several upcoming concerts at venues “mandating masks, requiring vaccinations, or pushing COVID testing protocols on my fans.”
“Many people are taking a firm stand against these mandates around the country, and I wholeheartedly support that cause,” Tritt said in a statement. “I have been extremely vocal against mandates since the beginning. This is a sacrifice that I’m willing to make to stand up for the freedoms that generations of Americans have enjoyed for their entire lifetimes. There are plenty of promoters and venues around the country that appreciate fans and the freedom of choice in this great country, and those are the promoters and venues that I will be supporting.”