Seven Major League Baseball games were postponed Thursday night as part of an athlete boycott following the recent shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin.
Led by Dominic Smith and Billy Hamilton, the New York Mets took the field for their home game against the Miami Marlins without warm-ups. The remaining members of both clubs exited the dugouts and took off their caps as part of a 42-second moment of silence -- in honor of Jackie Robinson -- before the players walked off the field. Jackie Robinson Day is Friday this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Black Live Matters shirt was left on home plate at Citi Field as the players headed toward the dugouts.
Shortly afterward, a video surfaced showing Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen criticizing Rob Manfred, saying the MLB commissioner “doesn’t get it” when it comes to the players’ actions regarding their social-injustice movement.
The criticism from Van Wagenen stemmed from the belief that Manfred wanted the Mets to stage a one-hour walkout Thursday in advance of their game against the Miami Marlins before returning to the field an hour later. A little while later, Manfred denied attempting “in any way to prevent players from expressing themselves by not playing, nor have I suggested any alternative form of protest to any club personnel or any player.”
At nearly the same time, Van Wagenen said in a statement that the idea to play after an hour was that of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, not Manfred. “My frustration with the commissioner was wrong and unfounded,” the statement read.
Elsewhere, the Oakland Athletics elected not to play the Rangers on Thursday night in Texas, and the Minnesota Twins also chose not to face the Tigers in Detroit. The Philadelphia Phillies also confirmed their game in Washington, D.C., was postponed and rescheduled as part of a traditional doubleheader on Sept. 22.
The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays game in Buffalo, N.Y., was postponed, as was the Colorado Rockies tilt versus the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles contest against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Social injustice and systemic racism have been part of the fabric of our lives for too long. We have a responsibility to use our platform, to lend our voices for those who are not being heard,” began a statement issued by the A’s players Thursday afternoon.
The Rangers said the game will be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 12.
“We respect the decision by the Oakland A’s players to postpone tonight’s game. We stand with all those who condemn racial injustice and are committed to helping bring about an end to systemic racism,” the Rangers said.
For the Twins, the shooting on Sunday of 29-year-old Jacob Blake by a uniformed police officer in Wisconsin brought back memories of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis in May.
“The Minnesota Twins remain committed to using our platforms to push for racial justice and equality. Therefore, we fully respect our players for their decision to not play tonight’s game versus the Detroit Tigers,” said a team-issued statement. “The recent shooting of Jacob Blake, a mere three months after the killing of George Floyd, shows again that real change is necessary and far overdue in our country, and it is our responsibility to continue playing a role in efforts to affect meaningful reform. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and, as full partners with others in the Twin Cities and beyond, we are committed to creating the change we want to see in the world -- where everyone is protected, safe and welcome. There is no place for racism, inequality or injustice in our society.”
Some MLB teams spent much of the day deciding whether they should play or lend their support to the growing athlete boycott in protest of social injustice and racial inequality.
“I think voices are being heard,” outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “Hopefully changes are being made. We just have to continue to grow, continue to grow, continue to push forward, try to be better as individuals and together, as well.”
On Wednesday, six teams -- Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco -- did not play. They joined players in the NBA, WNBA and MLS in sitting out in protest.
The NBA playoffs have been put on hold, with Thursday’s games postponed. Action on Thursday in both the NHL and WNBA was postponed as well. Several NFL teams called off practice.
--Field Level Media
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