Over the past couple of days, players in America’s professional sports leagues have chosen in different ways to not play their games in order to bring attention to racial injustice in this country. This has resulted in two nights worth of NBA playoff games being postponed, one night of NHL games, as well as a few baseball postponements decided upon by players on both teams of at least three games on Wednesday night and at least four games on Thursday.
As recently as about an hour before the scheduled start of Thursday’s Orioles-Rays game, it appeared that the teams were resolved to play on. Manager Brandon Hyde spoke to O’s reporters over Zoom earlier in the evening and said that the team had an emotional meeting about everything that has been going on but that they were unanimous in wanting to play.
However, when game time approached, there were no players getting ready to play. TV and radio broadcasts got under way at 6:30 with no players on the field and no one really knowing anything. The Orioles released this statement minutes after the originally scheduled start of the game:
After continued reflection and further dialogue, Orioles players have decided to not play tonight’s game against the Rays as they join athletes around the country in expressing solidarity with victims of social injustice and systemic racism.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 27, 2020
A number of teams had made it clear they were not going to be playing their scheduled games much earlier on Thursday. Games featuring Rangers-Athletics, Phillies-Nationals, Twins-Tigers, and Rockies-Diamondbacks were postponed as the players from those teams chose to join in solidarity with other athletes who have chosen to take a stand in the past 24 hours by not playing their games.
This began with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, the team located closest to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which became the latest focal point for protests after a police officer there shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back seven times. That team voted not to play their playoff game and other NBA teams scheduled for last night and tonight followed suit.
Three MLB games also didn’t take place on Wednesday: Brewers-Reds, Padres-Mariners, and Dodgers-Giants. All three of these were rescheduled for Thursday doubleheaders that appear to be going on without incident.
After the announcement of the postponement, Hyde spoke to reporters over Zoom again. He told O’s reporters that the team’s earlier meeting led to continued conversations among the players throughout batting practice, after which the team chose not to play on Thursday night after all.
Hyde said that the second meeting began as a players only meeting that later had coaches called in to discuss things, and had “a lot of people hurting in the room.”
O’s reliever Dillon Tate, one of the team’s Black players, also spoke to reporters on Zoom:
"What our team wants people to know on the outside is- we all bleed the same blood, we're all one, we're all the same, that's the message our guys are showing"— Melanie Newman (@MelanieLynneN) August 27, 2020
Tate also said, “The guys are just trying to stand as one right now.”
The strange Orioles 2020 season moves next to Buffalo, where they will play the Blue Jays in a Triple-A stadium, or at least that’s what’s scheduled. This is an unprecedented moment in American sports. Tate did say the Orioles are planning to be back to playing tomorrow.
I can’t speak for any other Camden Chat writer, or for that matter any other Orioles fan, but I would just like to say that this is the kind of thing that makes me proud to be an Orioles fan.