The Mets had played on Wednesday, as other teams were debating whether to do so. Outfielder Dom Smith, who is Black, knelt during the national anthem before that game and later gave a gripping, emotional news conference.
“The first thing that needs to happen is these tough conversations,” Smith said, flanked by three teammates, after Thursday’s game was called off. “The fact that these guys supported my decision, and our decision as a team, these are the tough conversations we have to have.”
Three major league games were called off on Wednesday, and seven more on Thursday — including every night game that was not part of a doubleheader — because of players refusing to take the field. The possibility that the Mets’ game would be an exception, even with a delayed start, seemed off-key to Van Wagenen, according to his comments in the video.
“You know what would be super powerful — three of us here, can’t leave this room — you know what would be really great, if you just have ’em all take the field, then they leave the field and then they come back and play at 8:10,” Van Wagenen said, describing the idea he thought had come from Manfred. “And I was like, ‘What?’”
An unidentified person then asked Van Wagenen: “Who said that?”
Van Wagenen replied that it was Manfred, “And with Jeff, scheduling’s going to be a nightmare, and there’s so much at stake. And I said: ‘Jeff, that’s not happening.’”
The unidentified person said, “They’re not dealing with reality,” to which Van Wagenen responded: “They’re not playing. But that’s Rob’s instinct — exactly what I’m talking about — at the leadership level he doesn’t get it. He just doesn’t get it.” He added that the Mets were waiting to coordinate their plans with the Marlins, and that Wilpon was waiting to hear about the decision.