CLEVELAND – Batting practice ended Wednesday, and a stadium devoid of fans was suddenly devoid of players, too. And a palpable anticipation became evident as the grounds crew prepared the field: They are coming back, aren’t they?
Word spread around that the Brewers and Reds had followed the lead of the NBA and had decided not to play their scheduled games that night, as a show of solidarity with protesters against racially motivated police violence.
In the Twins clubhouse, manager Rocco Baldelli heard the news, talked to some players and coaches, but decided not to call a team meeting to recommend any similar action. It must come from his players, he said, and he would support whatever they decide.
“Anything that happens with our group, we want it to happen organically,” Baldelli said. “I wanted our players to be the ones who would get together. If our players felt the right thing to do was to not play, I would be right there with them, supporting that decision. Ultimately, they thought the right thing to do was to go out there and play the game.”
There has been a lot of talk about racial injustice in the Twins clubhouse this year, he said, as there has all over the country, especially since Minneapolis is where George Floyd was killed in May. “Our guys are very passionate about what is going on in the world, acknowledging the treatment of others — or lack thereof, at times. We have a very empathetic group,” Baldelli said. “I know there are guys who are definitely hurting today. Again.”