(WBBM Newsradio) — Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo expressed frustration Thursday night about the seemingly endless instances of school shootings across the U.S., with the latest taking place at his alma mater in Parkland, Fla.
Seventeen people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were killed by a gunman Wednesday before the suspect was taken into custody. That suspect was charged Thursday with murder.
“We see this on TV too often. I feel like it’s all the time — it is,” Rizzo told hundreds of people who attended a vigil for victims. “There’s a cycle to it. We get horrified that there’s violence, it’s inflicted in our kids. We get angry that there’s nothing we can do, and nothing’s done about it. And then we ultimately get immune and move on to something else.
“But then it happens in our own town, at your own school or at the movie theater or a night club or at church and we realize it could happen to us, in our safe and tight-knit community, Parkland.”
Rizzo was emotional as he recalled the area’s influence on his upbringing. He graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2007 and recently hosted a fundraiser to improve the school’s baseball fields.
“Look, I’m a baseball player, but I’m also American,” Rizzo said. “I’m a Floridian and a Parklander for life. I don’t have all the answers, I know that something has to change, before this is visited on another community and another community and another community.”
Rizzo, a member of the team that won the World Series in 2016, left spring training in Arizona to be in Parkland. The Cubs have told Rizzo to take all the time he feels he needs back home.
“He needs to be there to comfort people,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer told WBBM Newsradio’s George Ofman. “He can stay there as long as he wants. I think given who Anthony is as a person, it would have shocked me if he would have not wanted to go back. And obviously he has the team’s full support.”