SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to take the field at Oracle Park Thursday.
But Wednesday night, the two teams, separately and collectively, decided that in the wake of police shooting Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they wanted to make a statement by canceling Wednesday's game.
"I've been thinking about this non-stop since it happened. I barely slept last night," said Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.
Speaking on Zoom.
Yastrzemski said that before making that decision there were multiple conversations among the players and coaches.
"This isn't just affecting one community. It is affecting our country. That shows the importance of this. It's easy to pass off situations that don't happen to you personally," he said.
Initially, not all 28 Giant players wanted to cancel. But discussions continued through the afternoon.
"I don't think the goal is to get everyone to think the same way about whether a game should be played or whether a protest should be made. I think the goal is to support one another," said Giants manager Gabe Kapler.
The Dodgers were having similar discussions. Manager Dave Roberts and star outfielder Mookie Betts, both African American, had decided they would sit out, regardless of what the rest of the team wanted to do.
"I have to use my platform to at least get the ball rolling. I talked to my teammates and told them how I felt. They were all by my side," said Betts.
"We had a few conversations with players on the Giants. It was definitely a collective effort," said Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
Less than 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, the teams announced the game was off.
On Thursday the Oakland A's, who were in Texas, announced their game with the Rangers was canceled.
The A's players issued a statement saying "We will not take the field tonight to help raise awareness for these social issues, not just tonight, but for our collective future. This is the first step in our relentless pursuit for meaningful change."
"The message is people in this world don't accept killings for no reason," said Yastrzemski.
African-American ballplayers say they are donating their salaries from Thursday and Friday to support causes that fight racial inequality. Friday happens to be Jackie Robinson Day.