The Mets did not play a baseball game last night, but there was still plenty of drama to stir up social media. It all started on Wednesday when The Milwaukee Bucks decided to go on strike in support of social justice rather than play their NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic. That led to the entire league going on strike, which led to baseball and hockey teams also going on strike both Wednesday and Thursday. The Mets ended up playing and winning their game against the Marlins on Wednesday, but the players wanted to make a statement on Thursday.
Skipping games for human rights reasons is something everyone gets behind these days. That’s why the Bucks and other NBA teams are being praised instead of punished by sports reporters around the country. It should have been easy for the Mets to get a quick win with the media by taking the night off. But, of course the dysfunctional franchise found a way to mess everything up.
That’s general manager Brodie Van Wagenen criticizing the idea that the Mets should symbolically leave the field when the game was scheduled to start, only to come back and play the game an hour later. It seems like COO Jeff Wilpon wanted the team to make a statement while still getting the game in. Not a bad idea when the Mets are already behind on games because of the ones they missed due to COVID-19, a virus that can rear its ugly head at any time.
We’ve seen this before, though. Social justice always trumps virus precautions the way a queen always trumps a jack. The players had already decided they weren’t going to play, and that was how it had to be.
So just add another doubleheader to the schedule. That’s fine. The real issue was Van Wagenen criticizing commissioner Rob Manfred’s leadership, saying “he just doesn’t get it.”
Van Wagenen was already in hot water with Mets fans because of the way his trades for Edwin Diaz and Marcus Stroman have turned out. Now he’s in trouble with the league office, and the commissioner topped it off by saying that the idea Van Wagenen criticized didn’t come from the top.
Van Wagenen then started an apology train and made it clear that the unpopular idea was definitely Jeff Wilpon’s idea and not brought up by Manfred.
Van Wagenen’s bosses made rare public statements in order to let everyone know that they did not share the negative views about the commissioner.
To be fair, Van Wagenen feels more like a “Brody” than a “Brodie.” At least Jeff took responsibility for trying to be practical. We had a good ole Mets mess on our hands, but when the team finally took the field, it pulled off a powerful and meaningful display that touched the hearts and minds of all sports fans.
Now that players in all sports have made their stand against racism and injustice, the world can being to heal. The NBA is starting back up today with the Bucks taking on the Magic at 4:00 p.m. Unless the Bucks decide they need another of solemn reflection, in which case I’m not sure there’s anything commissioner Adam Silver can do about it.
UPDATE: The teams did need another day, so the action will continue on Satruday.
The NBA is in decent shape, though, because Silver’s bubble league has thwarted the spread of COVID-19. Manfred, on the other hand, has to worry about the virus and social injustice when it comes to actually playing games on the schedule. There are a whole bunch of those today, including a Mets vs. Yankees doubleheader from Yankee Stadium. I’m sure that will turn out well with no deGrom all weekend.