Blue Jays’ Thursday game canceled following Jacob Blake shooting

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The Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball game on Thursday night was postponed following the shootout of Jacob Blake, a black man, in Wisconsin last weekend.The Red Sox and Jays issued a joint statement announcing the decision, about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.

The decision came after Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is black, said he would not play, according to multiple media reports.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said his players opted to play the game after a closed-door meeting between them, but once they heard about the Red Sox and Bradley’s decision, they agreed. to report.

“I couldn’t tell you who led our meeting,” Montoyo said. “I went over there and talked to the whole group and then left the room and closed the door, that’s all I know about this conversation… It was a decision of team.

The Blue Jays and Red Sox played Game 2 of their three-game series Wednesday night in Buffalo, New York, after NBA players began a series of postponements across all sports.

Montoyo, who has said he has experienced racism in the past as a Latino in baseball, said he respects players’ decisions to take a stand against inequality.

“I have been a victim of racism and I know that some players have also been victims of racial discrimination. And if a player wants to use their platform to make a statement about racial injustice, I fully support them, ”he said.

“A lot of guys go through stuff like that and I like them to express themselves. They have a great platform for talking and they use it and I support it. ”

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said in a video conference Thursday that his team had not had enough time to properly discuss the postponement of Wednesday’s game. He added that he supported the decision made by NBA players and other MLB teams not to play on Wednesday.

“As an organization, we cannot lose sight of what’s going on in society,” Atkins said.

“But in the end, we will support absolutely what our players want. ”

WATCH | The Blue Jays general manager says the team needs to support the players and use the platform:

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins spoke at a virtual press conference about the ongoing protests in the sports world and the role of the team. 3:04

Atkins said the team has a role to play in ensuring that “the dialogue continues and the players feel together and have what they need.”

“Getting attention and creating more dialogue is a platform we have and we have to use it,” he added. “We need to talk about its use with our players and talk about it with the league and talk about it with other teams. ”

Toronto is set to start a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night in Buffalo.

At least five other MLB games were called off Thursday.

The league postponed three of its games on Wednesday.

Across the sport, one theme has become clear: Baseball should not shy away from potentially difficult conversations and decisions about social issues. While the process may be flawed, it was agreed that coaches, players and teams should have their say.

“It’s at the forefront now,” said Oakland infielder Tony Kemp, who is black. “As I sit down at tonight’s game, I feel like it’s just a small building block of what we want to see. These few days are historic moments in sport. Someday our kids are going to look back and ask what was going on and what did we do to help raise awareness about these issues in the world, and we’re going to say, “A game that we just decided not to.” to play. “”

The Oakland game in Texas was one of five other Toronto-Boston games that were postponed Thursday afternoon, with Tampa Bay in Baltimore, Philadelphia in Washington, Minnesota in Detroit and Colorado in Arizona.

The New York Mets and Miami Marlins jointly left the field after a moment of silence, draping a Black Lives Matter t-shirt over the plate as they chose not to start their scheduled game on Thursday night.

The national anthem was played and all players and coaches stood on their feet.

Mets outfielder Dominic Smith – a black man who cried Wednesday night as he discussed the police shooting of a black man in Wisconsin over the weekend – then drove New York to the field. The players took up their positions, then the reservists and coaches left the two canoes and remained silent for 42 seconds.

Both teams then left the field, leaving only the black T-shirt at home.

It was not immediately clear whether the Mets and Marlins planned to resume their game.

Some players, including St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty, were frustrated that they didn’t have a more unified response.

“It’s tough because yesterday would have been the day of league-wide action, and it couldn’t have happened throughout the league yesterday,” Flaherty said. “I hope it could happen today, but it doesn’t look like it can happen today. ”

A statement from the Gamers Alliance, which consists of more than 100 current and former black players, said current players would donate their salaries starting Thursday and Friday to “support our efforts to address racial inequality and help black families and communities deeply affected by recent events. ”

Baseball has faced a slow decline in the number of black players for decades. Over the past few seasons, the percentage of black players has hovered around eight percent. For a sport that proudly recognizes Jackie Robinson – who broke the MLB color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers – the decline has been frustrating for some.

Baseball will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Friday. It is normally April 15, but has been moved due to the schedule changed by COVID-19 to August 28, which is the anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963 and also the day in 1945 when the GM branch of Dodgers, Rickey, met with Robinson to discuss the breakup. the color barrier.

“I think he would be amazed at the lack of progress in his eyes,” said Lorenzo Cain of Milwaukee, who is black. “I don’t personally know what he went through, but I do know the stories. I know for a fact that it was not easy for him to be in the situation he was in. He paved the way for guys like me. and play this game and be in that position today. I will always thank him for that.

“The fact that we’re talking about it in 2020, I don’t see any progress in that. It’s almost like we’re backing away. ”

Texas manager Chris Woodward said there had been one-on-one conversations with his players ahead of Wednesday’s game and they were going to play well. He then said that the Rangers would “fully support” any of their players who decide not to play, and so will the As if they decide not to play.

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