Major League Baseball has largely been apolitical. That might be changing.
The New York Mets and Miami Marlins were set to play a Major League Baseball (MLB) game on Thursday night, but in a gesture of solidarity that shocked the nation, held a 42-second silence in honor of Jackie Robinson instead. The players of both teams then proceeded to walk off of the field, leaving only one item on home base: a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, USA Today reports. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was the first African American to play in MLB in the modern era. He broke through the barrier of race when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Of course, the strike on Thursday night was also held in solidarity with protesters demonstrating against the ongoing murders of unarmed Black people at the hands of White police officers across the country.
The Mets and Marlins took the field, had a 42-second moment of silence, and then walked off.— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) August 27, 2020
The only thing left on the field: a Black Lives Matter shirt.pic.twitter.com/JyckWkGQai
Players for both the Mets and Marlins teams lined the field in front of their dugouts and removed their caps, bowing their heads in silence for 42 seconds before leaving the field. The number of seconds, 42, was chosen as that was the number on Robinson's jersey. A grounds crew member placed a Black Lives Matter t-shirt on the home base diamond, which was the only thing remaining on the field after the players walked off of the field. The strike was somewhat perfectly timed as the league celebrates its annual Jackie Robinson Day on Friday, as on-field celebrations were delayed due to the ongoing public health crisis. Robinson's legacy is otherwise celebrated every year on April 15, in remembrance of the first day he officially played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Mets and Marlins walk off field after moment of silence. Leave “Black Lives Matter” shirt on home plate. pic.twitter.com/hxRtX9LEub— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 27, 2020
The Mets and the Marlins were not the only teams to stage a strike in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. On Wednesday afternoon, the players of the Milwaukee Bucks too went on strike to protest racism and police brutality. These strikes are challenging the league's otherwise apolitical standing, sending shockwaves across the nation. While it is not uncommon for athletes of other sports to dissent publicly, MLB has, by and large, been void of such demonstrations in the modern age. Michael Baumann, writing for The Ringer, notes, "It’s less momentous that MLB players went on strike, but more surprising. For decades, as the sport’s audience has grown older and whiter, organized baseball has declined to rock the political boat."
After taking the field, led by Dominic Smith, the Mets and Marlins stood for a moment of silence before exiting. No baseball will be played in Flushing tonight— Starting 9 (@Starting9) August 27, 2020
However, it appears that things are changing. The eyes of the nation are finally upon the players of MLB, and we wait anxiously to see what comes next. Will things return to business as usual, or will there be a more concrete plan or set of demands in place? The Mets-Marlins game was one of seven to be postponed by MLB, while eight other games on Thursday's schedule were played. As for other sports leagues, the National Hockey League postponed four playoff games on Thursday and Friday, the National Basketball Association called off two playoff games on Thursday, and finally, the Women's National Basketball Association postponed three games as those leagues wiped out their entire schedules for the day.