Some things are larger than sports, and the Los Angeles Dodgers proved that on Wednesday by postponing their scheduled game against the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers and Giants followed the Milwaukee Brewers who decided not to play Wednesday after the shooting of a Black man in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jacob Blake was shot seven times with his children looking on from their car. The Brewers followed the lead of the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA who first decided not to play their playoff game on Wednesday. Many other clubs followed suit, like the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. More clubs are expected not to play on Thursday in protest of unarmed Black people being shot by police around the country.
By now, you’ve probably read or seen that Mookie Betts had decided that he was going to not play on Wednesday and perhaps beyond that. When he did so, it gave Wednesday’s starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw pause, and discussions were started as to whether the rest of the team would play. The group gave voice to all opinions and ultimately decided to support Mookie, the only active Black player on the team, and postpone the game. The Giants agreed.
The Dodgers have the right people at the right time in history. The organization of Jackie Robinson needs to be at the forefront of racial issues, and I for one am very happy that Betts is with the Dodgers to lead them in the right direction. If the Dodgers didn’t have a Black leader in the clubhouse, if they didn’t have a Black manager, they might not have made the right choice. And, if they didn’t have a Hall of Fame caliber white player in Clayton Kershaw who is willing to listen and learn, they might not be able to reach people who otherwise might not listen.
Racial justice is a human right, not a political issue; and if baseball pausing for a moment can get that concept across, then that needs to be done.
In the words of Mookie, “I know, for me, I was already tight with everyone in the clubhouse … but now that everyone has my back more than I already thought, means a lot. I’ll always remember this day and I’ll always remember this team having my back. This organization has been amazing.”
The Dodgers will now play a double header against the Giants Thursday before flying to Texas to take on the Rangers. Kershaw will be the Game 1 starter. Betts had thought he would not play, but after discussing things with other Black players around the league, ultimately decided that they could best use their platform by playing.
Before the games, the Dodgers placed starting pitcher Walker Buehler on the 10-day injued list, retroactive to August 23. Buehler is dealing with a blister issue that started during his start against the Colorado Rockies.
In their corresponding move, the Dodgers have called up Mitchell White. White, 25, joins the Dodgers active roster for the second time this season after being placed on the 40-man roster on November 20, 2019. He did not appear in a game in his last stint with the club and his next game will be his MLB debut.
The San Jose, CA native has been with the Dodgers four seasons, across five different levels, posting a 14-15 record with a 3.97 ERA (130 ER/294.2 IP) and 311 strikeouts. Last season, he split the season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, going a combined 4-6 with a 5.09 ERA (53 ER/93.2 IP) and 105 strikeouts. He was originally selected by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2016 First Year Player Draft out of Santa Clara University.
Tony Gonsolin, who is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA, pitched over 100 pitches in a sim game on Monday, so he would not be available to pitch in Buehler’s spot in the rotation. As of this writing, the Dodgers had not named a Game 2 starter, and will decide depending on the pitching usage in Game 1.