The Orioles’ game with the Tampa Bay Rays scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. on Thursday will go on as scheduled, manager Brandon Hyde said in a pregame video conference call.
Hyde said it was unanimous among the Oriole players that they wanted the game to be played.
Earlier, four games — Oakland-Texas, Philadelphia-Washington, Minnesota-Detroit and Boston-Toronto — were postponed to protest racial injustice.
Wearing a shirt honoring the Negro Leagues, Hyde appeared emotional. He said he opened a meeting with the players, talked about the four postponements and had a discussion with Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash.
“Our guys have decided they want to play, and I’m going to fully support them in that,” Hyde said. “I would have supported them if they didn’t want to play, also. We had an open forum with our group. Some guys [spoke] up, and the consensus in our room was that our guys wanted to play.
“Nobody spoke up to say they had hesitations or reservations about playing tonight’s game.”
Hyde said that in talking with Cash, it was clear that the Rays wanted to play the final game of a three-game series. If there was a postponement, the game probably would be made up as part of a September 17-20 series in Baltimore.
Asked about wearing of the Negro Leagues shirt, which he’s done before, Hyde said:
“I just wanted to support our African-American players. I want to support the African-American players around the league. I want to support the racial equality movement. This is a tough time right now.
“To listen to our players talk and their experiences, it’s very moving. This is just a difficult time. I’m learning a lot. We’re doing the best we can in our clubhouse, and I feel really good about what’s going on in our little world, our clubhouse, and I want our guys to know that they have free expression and [they should] be free thinkers, and they’ll always have my support.”
Hyde singled out first base coach Anthony Sanders, who is Black, as a leader in discussions and said he’s learned much from talking with people in his clubhouse.
“It’s powerful, man,” Hyde said. “We’ve got some special guys, and they’ve had some experiences we’re all learning from. This didn’t start today. It didn’t start on Opening Day. It started April, May. I think it has brought team closer together. I think it’s brought our clubhouse tight; it’s a tight group in there. We’ve all learned from everybody’s experiences. I appreciate how open and honest everybody is.”
Hyde acknowledged that many of the stories are disturbing.
“It’s hard to listen to,” he said. “They’re very, very moving. Growing up as a white male, it’s sad and makes you angry.”
Hyde ended his pregame call less than 80 minutes before game time, and he hadn’t posted a lineup yet.
“There are so many more important things that are happening besides our game right now,” Hyde said. “We have a Major League Baseball game at 6:40, and we’re going to prepare for it, and I think our guys are going to be ready to play. I thought out clubhouse meeting was impactful. I thought it brought us together even more.
“I think our guys are going to step out and be ready to compete at 6:40, but I think we all have our thoughts in other places at times.”
Iglesias is back: The Orioles reinstated shortstop José Iglesias from the 10-day injured list. He had been out with a sore left quadriceps muscle. Right-handed pitcher César Valdez had his contract selected from the Bowie alternate site.
Left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin and infielder Ramón Urias were sent to the Bowie alternate site.
Valdez’s addition fills the 40-man roster.
Smith stays with Orioles: Dwight Smith Jr. has passed through waivers and has been outrighted, according to an industry source. He’ll report to the alternate site at Bowie. The Orioles player pool is at 58.