After the game, Smith had to fight back tears as he conveyed his emotions that so many across the country are also feeling.
“I’ve been very emotional. Just kinda see this continually happen,” Smith said as tears began dripping down his face. “It was a long day for me. I kinda wasn’t there mentally. But we’ll be all right.”
Earlier this summer, following the death of George Floyd – a Black man killed by police in Minnesota – Smith wrote about his experience and perspective of being a Black man in America in an Instagram post.
The country protested over Floyd’s death and athletes took an even larger public role with no sports going on at the time due to the pandemic. Yet, nearly three months later, the same problems persist – this time being Blake who was shot seven times in the back and while he survived, is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.
“The most difficult part is to see that people still don’t care,” Smith said. “For this to continually happen, this just shows the hate in people’s hearts. That just sucks, you know. Being a Black man in America is not easy. Like I said, I wasn’t there today, but I will be fine.”
While several teams in baseball chose against playing last night, the Mets did indeed play, although manager Luis Rojas and several players said they were not fully aware of the scope of what was happening across the sports world until after the game began.
Smith said that leading up to the game he thought playing would be an escape for himself.
“I love baseball, so I love getting out there playing. That’s my safe haven,” Smith said. “That’s where I just get my mind off all the stress that goes on in my life. So I didn’t think too much into it. But that’s something I did think of afterwards. In the moment, getting ready for the game, that’s all I wanted to do, was get ready to play a baseball game I love.”