The New York Mets and Miami Marlins elected not to play their scheduled game Thursday, the latest in a series of games to be cancelled in light of the police-involved shooting last weekend that left 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake paralyzed. However, the Mets took the field at their scheduled start time and held a 42-second moment of silence with the Marlins before departing for the night.
Following the moment of silence – which lasted 42 seconds out of respect for Jackie Robinson Day, set for Friday – a Black Lives Matter shirt was placed at home plate.
The Mets were led onto the field by outfielder Dominic Smith, who knelt during the national anthem Wednesday and told reporters that the history of police-involved shootings against Black Americans weighed heavily on him.
"To kind of see those things happen very fast, it wasn't really a thought over here," Smith said, as reported by ESPN. "But that's why I decided to take a knee tonight. "I've been very emotional. Just to kind of see this continuously happen, I mean, it was a long day for me. Kind of wasn't there mentally.”
Prior to the demonstration, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen was caught by a hot mic appearing to suggest that Commissioner Rob Manfred had asked that the Mets and Marlins agree to an hour-long delay before playing out their game. Van Wagenen said “Rob…just doesn’t get it” and implied that he had already felt the commissioner lacked an important element of leadership.
Both Van Wagenen and Manfred released subsequent statements walking back on the accusation, with Van Wagenen clarifying that it was Mets owner Jeff Wilpon who suggested the delay.
"Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play," Van Wagenen wrote. "They discussed the challenges of rescheduling the game. Jeff proposed an idea of playing the game an hour later. I misunderstood that this was the Commissioner's idea. In actuality, this was Jeff's suggestion. The players had already made their decision so I felt the suggestion was not helpful. My frustration with the Commissioner was wrong and unfounded. I apologize to the Commissioner for my disrespectful comments and poor judgement in inaccurately describing the contents of his private conversation with Jeff Wilpon."
In total, seven MLB games were postponed Thursday after four were boycotted Wednesday.