The New York Mets and Miami Marlins are apparently not playing their scheduled game tonight, at least not on time, as both teams walked off the field just prior to what should have been first pitch.
There was question during the day whether the teams would play after the events of Wednesday, including Dom Smith’s emotional post-game press conference, and that only grew after audio and video leaked of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen apparently revealing commissioner Rob Manfred’s idea to come out at game time, walk off the field, and return an hour later as a symbolic gesture.
In the hour or so between that leak and first pitch, players did light workouts on the field, but the Mets did not post an official lineup until after 7 p.m., and neither starting pitcher warmed up.
When the Mets took the field right at 7:10 p.m., they were led by Dom Smith and Billy Hamilton, the only two Black players in the lineup, as they took their positions. Lewis Brinson, the Marlins’ scheduled leadoff hitter, stepped towards the plate, but as the umpires got into position, both dugouts emptied and all players removed their caps.
What then ensued was a 42-second moment of silence – especially poignant timing given that MLB will celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on Friday – as players glared at a scoreboard in center field that had gone completely black.
Once the moment of silence was over, both teams tipped their caps towards each other, and then walked off the field, one player leaving his “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt draped over home plate.
Moments later, the Mets released this official statement from Van Wagenen:
Jeff Wilpon called Commissioner Manfred this afternoon to notify him that our players voted not to play. 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.