Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley’s thoughts are with Uvalde’s hometown after school shooting

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley’s thoughts are with Uvalde’s hometown after school shooting

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tuesday’s mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas was particularly troubling for Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley.

The small community of about 16,000 people west of San Antonio is the southpaw’s hometown. He attended school in the building where the shooting occurred, and his parents and a brother still reside in Uvalde.

“It’s a nice little town,” Raley said Wednesday. “News travels fast. My family is still there, my brother lives there, and his wife and daughter. So it hits close to home.”

Raley, 33, was in the Rays clubhouse at Tropicana Field less than an hour before a game against the Miami Marlins when he learned that 19 children and two adults had been shot dead at his old school.

While making it clear he didn’t want to discuss the political implications of Tuesday’s shooting, Raley acknowledged the news was hard to digest.

“I was just sitting here and heard something and didn’t really follow because we were about 40 minutes before the game. I was able to talk to my parents, just to get some context and get as much information as you can,” he said.

“I’ve been to that school. I’ve walked those hallways, so I can imagine what they’re going through every day, and I feel for that community,” Raley added. “It’s small and a close-knit community, so it’s obviously difficult. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do. It’s going to take time.”

Raley, a two-sport star at Uvalde High School, hasn’t lived in his hometown since heading off to college at Texas A&M, where he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2009. He resides currently in College Station, Texas with his wife. Rachel and their three daughters.

“It’s the biggest city west of San Antonio,” he said of his hometown. “I mean, we have an H&B and a Walmart and a few fast food places. Not much there.”

His reluctance to publicly discuss the tragedy is partly due to all the unanswered questions, Raley said.

“It’s just a tragedy. Obviously, growing up there and going to that school, it gets to me,” the pitcher said. “Having young children myself, you feel righteous for these families, and you pray for them and your thoughts are with them.”

Raley is in his first season with the Rays. The left-handed reliever was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and three saves in 14 appearances heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. He made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2012 and also pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros during his career.

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