Dom Smith’s raw moment in Queens reached far and wide.
The Mets first baseman and outfielder choked up after Wednesday’s win over the Marlins when talking about the police shooting of 29-year-old black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
“I’ve been very emotional just to kind of see this continually happen,” Smith told reporters. “I think the most difficult part is to see people still don’t care. For this to just continually happen, it just shows just the hate in people’s hearts. That just sucks. Being a black man in America is not easy.”
His message was heard throughout baseball: On Thursday, seven games, including the Mets-Marlins matchup, were postponed as players sought ways to shine a light on social justice.
Two of the Mets’ NL East rivals, the Phillies and Nationals, agreed not to play Thursday. Philadelphia first baseman Rhys Hoskins, a leading voice in the team’s decision, cited Smith’s emotion as an important factor.
“If that doesn’t hit you differently, it should,” he said. “Because we’re all human.”
Smith’s words carried weight throughout MLB clubhouses.
“I’ve never been in a situation watching Dominic Smith last night, crying in an interview,” Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who is of mixed race, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday. “I think about him and what he has gone through. … I’ve never had to go through anything like that. To see Dom-O in tears like that, and kind of being alone out there. It’s one of those things, trying to figure out a way to make a statement, as a group, in Major League Baseball.”
White Sox hurler Lucas Giolito, a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, found hope in Smith’s words.
“Watching him up there talk about his experience, get emotional, it made me emotional, because that’s a player that I respect,” Giolito told reporters. “That’s someone I’ve known for a long time. And it’s just really sad to see that he’s just one example of so many people in this country that are not being treated fairly. It does give me hope seeing baseball players speaking up, standing up. But there’s a lot more that needs to be done.”