BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Toronto Blue Jays-Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball game was postponed Thursday night in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin last weekend.
The Red Sox and Jays put out a joint statement to announce the decision, about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.
The decision was made after Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is Black, said he would not play.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said his players had chosen to play the game after a closed-door meeting amongst themselves, but once they heard of the Red Sox and Bradley's decision, they agreed to postpone.
"I couldn't tell you who led our meeting," Montoyo said. "I went in there and talked to the whole group then I left the room and I closed the door so that's all I know about that conversation. ... It was a team decision."
The Blue Jays and Red Sox played the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday night in Buffalo, N.Y., after NBA players started a string of postponements across all sports just over an hour before first pitch when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for a playoff game.
Montoyo, who said he'd experienced racism in the past as a Latino man in baseball, said he respects players' decisions to take a stand against inequality.
"I've been a victim of racism and I know some players have also been victims of racial discrimination. And if a player wants to use his platform to make a statement about racial injustice I fully support that," he said.
"A lot of guys are going through stuff like this and I like that they're speaking out. They have a big platform to talk and they're using it and I support that."
Toronto's game was among seven that were postponed across MLB by Thursday evening, along with Miami at New York Mets, Philadelphia at Washington, Baltimore at Tampa Bay, Minnesota at Detroit, Colorado at Arizona and Oakland at Texas. Some games were played as scheduled.
The Mets and Marlins jointly walked off the field after a moment of silence, draping a Black Lives Matter T-shirt across home plate as they chose not to play.
The Mets were late to take the field after other teams announced their postponed games, and neither starting pitcher threw any warmup pitches. The teams stood around their dugouts in full uniforms shortly before the 7:10 p.m. scheduled first pitch, and the national anthem was played and all players and coaches stood.
The league postponed three of its games on Wednesday.
The Blue Jays downed the Red Sox 9-1 on Wednesday night in Buffalo, N.Y., taking the field shortly after the Bucks' made their decision to not play in Florida.
Toronto GM Ross Atkins said during a videoconference Thursday that his team didn't have enough time to properly discuss postponing Wednesday's game. He added that he supported the decision made by NBA players and other MLB teams to not play Wednesday.
"We can't, as an organization, lose sight on what's happening in society," Atkins said.
"But in the end we'll absolutely support what our players want."
Atkins said the team has a role to play in making sure "the dialogue continues and that players feel supportive and have what they need."
"Drawing attention and creating more dialogue is a platform we have and we need to use it," he added. "We need to talk about using it with our players and talk about it with the league and talk about it with other teams."
Toronto is scheduled to start a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night in Buffalo.
The Blue Jays are playing most of their home games in Buffalo during the COVID-19 pandemic after the federal government quashed a plan for the team to play at Rogers Centre.
— With files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2020.
The Canadian Press