I never could stand the New York Yankees baseball team.
Especially during the tenure of owner George Steinbrenner. I thought he was an arrogant, rich jerk who fielded a whole team of arrogant, rich jerks. I thought they felt entitled to a World Series Championship every season, like all the other teams shouldn’t even bother playing.
And the really annoying part was, they won a lot.
As a long-suffering Texas Rangers fan, this was the most annoying in the late 1990’s, when we would regularly lose to the Yanks in the playoffs.
But, that’s all history. Today, I come, not to bury the Yankees, but to praise them. (Thanks, Bill.)
And the Tampa Bay Rays, as well.
From Associated Press, May 27:
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts during Thursday night’s game between the teams to spread information about how gun violence affects American life.
The move was made in response to recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo. Several notable sports figures — including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr — have used their platform over the past few days to plead for action to combat gun violence.
MLB’s social media accounts are usually used during games to show video highlights, relay baseball statistics or exchange witty jokes with other accounts about the action on the field. On Thursday, that was replaced by posts like “ Firearms were the leading cause of death for American children and teens in 2020.”
Both accounts then posted a link to the source of their information.
“In lieu of gave (sic) coverage and in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rays, we will be using our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence.” the Yankees said in a statement. “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.”
The Rays also released a statement, saying that the recent shootings “cannot become normal.”
“We all deserve to be safe — in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses and America. The most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core. The Tampa Bay Rays are mourning these heartbreaking tragedies that took the lives of innocent children and adults.“
“This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.”
The Uvalde school shooting was particularly personal for Rays reliever Brooks Raley, who is from Uvalde and still has family who live in the town. He attended the school where the shooting occured.
The story mentions Steve Kerr. If, by now, you haven’t seen his postgame response to the tragedy in Uvalde, it’s worth watching. He spoke for many of us.
Unfortunately, not all of us, but that’s for another post.
But what these two teams did Thursday night was absolutely remarkable. They put the uncomfortable – and, in the case of the United States Congress, untouchable – issue of gun violence right in our face, imploring us to acknowledge and deal with it. They stood up, like men.
Now it’s on us to stand with them.
Thank you, Yankees. I’ll still root for you guys to lose, don’t get me wrong, but you definitely won last night.
So did you, Rays. Thanks to both teams for having your priorities straight.
Please visit their team Twitter accounts and read the information provided there. (And just ignore all the trolls on there trashing them already; you knew they would.)
And tell your Congressmen: We can handle the thoughts and prayers. It’s time for you to ACT.