Why the Blue Jays decided to play on Wednesday night
It was a historic night for the NBA and for some teams in Major League Baseball who chose to boycott their games. Why did the Blue Jays play?
It was a great night for the Toronto Blue Jays, as they opened the offensive floodgates on the Boston Red Sox by a score of 9-1, managing to sidestep some rain to get the game in and push their record to 9-1. However, around the rest of the sporting world, the scoreboard was pretty much the last thing that mattered.
Not long before the start of the Blue Jays-Red Sox game on Wednesday night, there was a developing situation in the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks, viewed by many as a serious contender for the NBA title this year, stayed in their locker room and decided to boycott and sit out from their playoff game in the wake of yet another controversial police shooting this week in the United States. Eventually their opponent in the Orlando Magic followed suit, and so did the entire NBA schedule that was slated for Wednesday night.
This all started snowballing during a period of mid-afternoon that the Blue Jay were getting ready for their game against the Red Sox, and the situation was evolving by the minute. By the time the game in Buffalo was close to getting started, it was announced that the Milwaukee Brewers would join the Bucks in solidarity, and their game against the Reds was postponed. Later, two more MLB games would take the same step.
While chatting with the media during a post-game Zoom call, Charlie Montoyo was asked if there was any consideration given to the Blue Jays and Red Sox postponing on Wednesday, and the skipper explained why they went ahead.
"“It’s sad to hear what’s going on out there and I understand and support the teams that decided not to play, but it was right before the game when we found out and the players were already out there, so the players proceeded to play”"
The NBA and its players made an extremely powerful statement by cancelling a day’s worth of games in their Pandemic bubble that they’ve created in order to provide a same environment for the playoffs. It sounds like more extreme measures may happen over the next few days as well, and as stated above, it’s an evolving situation. The MLB teams that chose to follow made a significant statement as well, and I know the world is taking notice.
Respectfully, I don’t know that we can blame the Blue Jays for proceeding on Wednesday, especially given the information they had at that particular time. They’re facing enormous pressure to complete their schedule during their shortened season as well, which increased the impact of the decision by other teams like the Brewers, Reds, Dodgers, and more. Without defending the Blue Jays, those other teams had a little bit more time to react to what was happening in the NBA and trickling down to baseball.
All that being said, it felt a little strange to be following the baseball game with everything else that was going on the world, and it definitely became a secondary thing at that point. I was glad to hear the comments from Montoyo, and from some of the players afterwards, and considering the explanation and the timing of how everything went down, it seemed more understandable that the game took place.
It will a situation worth monitoring over the next few days, weeks, and likely longer, for a wide range of reasons, one that I hope can make a positive impact on us all.