Phillies vote not to play Nationals amid Jacob Blake protest
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies’ Thursday series finale against the Nationals has been postponed
The sports world has been paused in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Brewers were the first to decide not to play their Game 5 playoff game against the Orlando Magic Wednesday evening. Soon after, the rest of the league followed suit, along with other leagues, including the MLB, NHL and WNBA; they continue to postpone games. Now, it appears the Philadelphia Phillies will take a similar stand — united against racism and injustice.
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies’ scheduled series finale Thursday evening against the Washington Nationals has been postponed.
The decision came following a meeting that was led by first baseman Rhys Hoskins and where “a bunch of players spoke up throughout it,” according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark, who adds Phillies players are united in their agreement not to play. Their decision, however is “not in concert with the Nationals players,” adds Salisbury, who writes:
"According to a source, Phillies players made the decision without input from Nationals players. The source went on to say that Phillies players were “passionate in taking a stand” against racial injustice and equally passionate about “staying unified” as a team."
In a later released official press release from the Phillies, they stated that both sides “collectively decided” to postpone the game.
The Phillies were scheduled to oppose perennial Cy Young Award favorite Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.31 ERA, 44 strikeouts) behind their rookie right-hander Spencer Howard, who through three starts is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA and 11 strikeouts.
Instead, Phils players will still travel to Nationals Park for light work, before returning to Philadelphia in preparation for their weekend home series against the Atlanta Braves, reports The Athletic’s Matt Gelb. Friday will mark Major League Baseball’s league-wide celebration of Jackie Robinson Day.
Following an exciting 3-2 win against the Nationals Wednesday evening, in which manager Joe Girardi notched his his 1,000th career win, the skipper said he would support any decision his players make while expressing their thoughts on the current events.
It is not clear when the Phillies-Nationals game will be rescheduled. After Thursday, just 31 calendar days will remain until the scheduled September 27 season finale; the Phillies still need to play 34 more games to reach the 60-game mark.