When the Red Sox arrived in Minnesota on Sunday following a two-hour flight from Baltimore, Sox manager Alex Cora went to bed not knowing if his team opening a four-game series against the Twins on Monday was a sure thing.
That being the case because on Sunday afternoon, Daunte Wright — a 20-year-old Black man — was fatally shot by a police officer at a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis that is just 10 miles north of Target Field.
The shooting, which has since been ruled “an accidental discharge” by Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon, comes at a time where much of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is already on edge due to the ongoing trial involving former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murdering George Floyd.
That trial, which is taking place in a Minneapolis courtroom, coinciding with Sunday’s tragic events led to state officials announcing a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting on Monday for much of the Twin Cities region.
Because of that curfew, the Twins moved the start times of all four of their games against the Red Sox to the afternoon.
It appeared as though Monday’s game between Boston and Minnesota was going to happen as scheduled, as uniformed players were on the field and both starting pitchers were playing catch in the outfield.
However, just a few minutes before first pitch, the Twins postponed the game and later announced that it would not be played “out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center.”
Twins president David St. Peter further explained the decision to postpone Monday’s contest when speaking with reporters shortly thereafter.
“Ultimately, there’s a lot of factors that go into the decision that we made here to not play, but I can assure you the decision was not made in a silo,” St. Peter said. “It was made after consultation with a variety of individuals and organizations, including local and state law enforcement, local and state leaders, Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox. At the end of the day, we came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was for us to not play today rooted in respect for the Wright family but also rooted in our mind in the safety of all of those involved in today’s game against the Red Sox — our fans, our staff, our players and the broader community.”
By the time Cora was made available to the media shortly after 4 p.m. eastern time, the Sox skipper was already back in his hotel room. As previously mentioned, he thought Monday’s game might get postponed based off what happened Sunday night.
“I thought about it last night,” Cora said via Zoom. “But everything was normal this morning. We even took batting practice, you saw that. Obviously, you think about stuff like that and you saw what happened last year throughout the league. And I thought about it, but nobody mentioned anything in the morning. So we just kept it quote-unquote business as usual.”
Keeping it business as usual, Cora and the Red Sox arrived at Target Field on Monday morning and were making their typical gameday preparations.
About a half four before first pitch was scheduled to take place, Cora was already in the visitor’s dugout getting ready to go, then Twins manager Rocco Baldelli informed him that Monday’s game had been called.
“I get to the dugout for a 1:05 game at 12:30, so I was locked in with my game notes, going through videos, and all that stuff in the dugout,” Cora explained. “So it had to be at 12:40, I think. I was locked in on the game, to be honest with you.”
Upon getting the word from Baldelli and the Twins, the Sox held a meeting in the visitor’s clubhouse to go over everything that had happened and what could happen next.
“We got everyone in the clubhouse, we explained the situation, and we left the clubhouse around 2 o’clock,” Cora said. “The meeting was very simple. We don’t have too many details as far as everything. But it was one of those that everybody understood the decision.”
As far as what could happen next, Cora described the Red Sox as being in a “waiting pattern” as they await a decision from the Twins and Major League Baseball in regards to the status of the rest of this week’s games.
“I know Chaim [Bloom] has been in touch with the Twins, with the front office, with everybody that is involved with MLB,” said Cora. “So we just have to be patient and wait on what they decide for tomorrow and the upcoming days.”
Before he touched on anything relating to Monday’s decision, Cora took the time to send his thoughts and prayers to the Wright family.
“First things first, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wright family,” Cora said. “Obviously a very tough situation — sad situation. Especially in this area, it’s been tough the last 12 months with everything that is going on. So from that end, our thoughts and prayers.”
(Picture of Alex Cora: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)