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Yankee players holding a black ribbon during the national anthem to show their support for racial justice. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The MLB finally returned to the field for Opening Day on Thursday as the New York Yankees face off against the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, in the District of Columbia.

Why it matters: Thursday's game sets off what's sure to be a historic season against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The season was kicked off by a ceremonial first pitch thrown by the country's leading infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci.

In photos:
Grounds crew preparing Nationals Park on July 23 for Opening Day. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, before throwing a hard-left opening pitch. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Nationals players kneeling and holding a black ribbon to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Adam Eaton of the Washington Nationals rounding the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Yankee pitcher Gerrit Cole throwing in the first inning. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Go deeper

In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.