NEW YORK – Dominic Smith wept on Wednesday night, disheartened and drained by another long 24 hours as a Black man in America. A day later, he said he felt uplifted after teammates joined him in a memorable protest.
Back in his comfort zone Friday night, the New York Mets outfielder took a starring role in a Subway Series instant classic.
No place the earnest, jovial — and sweet-swinging — Smith would rather be.
“Baseball is my safe haven,” he said. “This is where I get away from all the stresses of my life.”
Smith hit the go-ahead home run in his first game since tearfully pleading for help combating racial inequality, Pete Alonso also connected and the Mets beat the crosstown Yankees 6-4 in the opener of a doubleheader.
Pinch-hitter Amed Rosario then hit a walkoff, two-run homer to lift the Mets to a 4-3 victory in the nightcap — a bizarre scene in the Bronx, where the Yankees batted first as the visiting team in the makeup of a game postponed last weekend.
“We all were extremely happy to just be back on the field and be back playing baseball,” Smith said. “You could just see how guys feel extremely emotional about what happened for me and for my community and stuff like that.
“You could definitely feel (us being) closer knit over the last 24 hours. I think really, yesterday was obviously bigger than baseball, but it’s going to bring this team together.”