ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday was particularly troubling for Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley.
The small community of about 16,000 people west of San Antonio is home to the left-hander. He attended school in the building where the shootings took place and his parents and a brother still live in Uvalde.
“It’s a beautiful little town,” Raley said Wednesday. “The news travels fast. My family is still there, my brother lives there, his wife and daughter. So he comes close to home.”
Reilly, 33, was at the Reyes club in Tropicana Field less than an hour before a game with the Miami Marlins when he learned that 19 children and two adults had been shot at his old school.
While making it clear that he did not want to discuss any political implications of Tuesday’s shooting, Reilly acknowledged that the news was difficult to digest.
“I was just sitting in here and I heard something and I did not follow it because we were about 40 minutes before the game. I need to talk to my parents, just to get a little background and get as much information as you can. he can, “he said.
“I went to this school. I walked into these rooms, so I can imagine what they experience every day and how I feel about this community,” Raley added. “It’s a small and close-knit community, so it’s obviously difficult. I don’t know if I can do anything. It will take time.”
Raley, a two-star at Uvalde High School, has not lived in his hometown since attending college at Texas A&M, where he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in 2009. He currently lives at 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 some fast food. Not much there.”
His reluctance to discuss the tragedy in public is due in part to all the unanswered questions, Raley said.
“It’s just a tragedy. Obviously, growing up there and going to this school, it’s my fault at home,” the pitcher said. “Having small children yourself, you feel 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-hander was 1-0 with 2.25 ERA and three rebounds in 14 appearances, entering Wednesday night’s game with the Marlins. He made his Premier League debut with the Cubs in 2012 and has also played for the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros during his career.