By Bruce Levine–
MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) — Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo came back from his hometown of Parkland, Fla. with a heavy heart after a devastating school shooting killed 17 people last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Rizzo spent the weekend consoling loved ones and community members before returning to Cubs camp and speaking Monday.
“I felt it was really important to go back and speak to the kids and families at home,” Rizzo said. “I am really proud to see what Parkland is doing right now. They are speaking out and trying to make a difference. I am really proud of them and proud of my community. I said there needs to be change. I don’t know what that would be. I am just glad the kids are coming together as one in Parkland. This is really inspiring to see and makes me proud.”
Rizzo chose not to talk about gun control in his media session, but he emphasized that change of some sort is needed. He also added that the country is becoming desensitized to mass shootings.
“People are saying this and that and as an American, you see a whole community with their lives upside down,” Rizzo said. “People are talking about what is right or wrong (with gun control). It should be about the kids and families who lost loved ones. No doubt something has to change. It is just crazy to see.
“When I first heard there was a shooting somewhere, I probably just took my next golf swing. Because that is how numb our country is to it. Until something happens and you hear open shooter now, you say, ‘Oh, OK.’ You take your next breath and keep going. Then I found out it was at (my high school), you get a little more concerned. At first, you hear it was just a few people injured. You find out what it was, and it’s gut wrenching.”
Rizzo simply wanted to be there for the Parkland community. He spoke at a vigil last Thursday night.
“I am happy I went home,” Rizzo said. “I am happy I was there. I am happy I got to speak to the community. I am happy the way the community is and the way we are going. These are just tough times. I have seen that whole community grow into what it is now. It is crazy to see in your hometown. We all think we are invincible to it. I am sure we all know people who have been touched by these things somewhere. It is sad to say, and you can’t really do anything about it.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.