The Tampa Bay Rays and the Recent York Yankees baseball teams took the bizarre step on Thursday of turning their Twitter accounts over to disseminating facts about gun violence within the wake of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
As an alternative of flashing details about pitching performances or the newest home run distances, each teams’ Twitter feeds presented facts about gun violence in the course of the course of their game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Rays communications staff members led the trouble to research and vet the facts, an initiative assisted by Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ vice chairman of communications, who was in St. Petersburg for the four-game series, together with other members of the Yankees’ communications team. Each fact was followed by a citation.
“There are things which can be larger than baseball,” Mr. Zillo said. “It’s good that we are able to use our platform to share facts which can be necessary to everyone, regardless of whom you root for, or whether you’re a sports fan in any respect.”
The Yankees’ Twitter account has 3.6 million followers. The Rays’ has about 650,000. The teams also posted the facts on their Instagram stories. The Yankees have 2.9 million followers on that platform, while the Rays have 430,000.
One item noted that firearms were the leading reason behind death for American children and youths in 2020, in keeping with a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One other identified that about 12 veterans per day die by firearm suicide, in keeping with a study published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Rays, whose team colours are blue and white, modified the background banner of their Twitter account to orange, which is often used for gun violence awareness and prevention efforts, with a banner that read, “End Gun Violence.” Brooks Raley, a pitcher for the Rays, attended the varsity in Uvalde where the shooting occurred.
The Rays said they donated $50,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety, a company that promotes gun violence prevention, and said they were working with the group to “amplify facts about gun violence in America.”
“Probably the most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core,” the Rays said in a press release on their feed. “The Tampa Bay Rays are mourning the heartbreaking tragedies that took the lives of innocent children and adults.”
Twenty-one people, including 19 children, were killed by a gunman at an elementary school in Uvalde on Tuesday. It happened lower than two weeks after a gunman in Buffalo killed 10 people at a supermarket in a racist attack.
Zillo said the Yankees can be expanding their anti-gun violence efforts during their next homestand, which is scheduled to start out Tuesday, specifically to deal with gun violence within the Bronx, where the team plays.
“As residents of the world, it’s hard to process these shootings and just slip back into a daily routine,” Zillo added in a text message. “For one night, we desired to reflect and draw attention to statistics that carry so way more significance and weight than batting average.”
An hour after the Yankees first posted that they might post messages about gun violence slightly than game details, the item had over 70,000 likes, which Zillo said was amongst their highest rate for any post.
The Yankees have taken steps to deal with mass shootings previously, led by then owner George Steinbrenner, the patriarch of the family that also owns the team, which is run by his son, Hal Steinbrenner. In 2007, the Steinbrenners donated $1 million to a Virginia Tech University memorial fund after a mass shooting there, and the following yr the Yankees played an exhibition game at the varsity’s Blacksburg, Va., campus.