Anthony Rizzo chokes up during Parkland vigil speech

Big League Stew
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8868/" data-ylk="slk:Anthony Rizzo">Anthony Rizzo</a> attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and left spring training to go back and support survivors of the school shooting. (Getty Images)
Anthony Rizzo attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and left spring training to go back and support survivors of the school shooting. (Getty Images)

Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo could be in Arizona right now and no one would blame him. He could’ve stayed some 2,400 miles away from the heartache in his hometown of Parkland, Florida and kept his focus on the hope and joy that comes with spring training every year.

No one wants to leave their teammates to console grieving families and neighbors. Rizzo didn’t think twice about it. 

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No one wants to get up and speak at a vigil for the 17 high schoolers and faculty who were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday. Rizzo prepared a speech.

The 28-year-old face of his franchise didn’t come home to be a celebrity. He went to endure the pain and grief and to be there for his community. So with his voice trembling and eyes locked straight ahead, Rizzo began talking to his hometown. It is very much worth a listen.

“We see this on TV too often,” Rizzo said. “I feel like it’s all the time. It is. There’s a cycle to it. We get horrified that this violence is inflicted on 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 onto something else. But then it happens in our own town, in your own school, or movie theater, or night club, or a church and we realize it can happen to us, in our safe, tight-knit community, Parkland. Look, I’m a baseball player, but I’m also an American, a Floridian and I’m a Parklander. For life. While I don’t have all the answers I know something has to change before this is visited on another community and another community and another community. I will make one plea to all the teachers, coaches, parents and especially the students of Parkland — this just happened yesterday. And I promise you we are going to be mourning, grieving and a bit broken for awhile. We’re human. Maybe a long while. But I promise the cameras are going to move on. The demands of everyday life will intrude again. Classes are going to start again. The seasons are going to change and the sun is going to rise and all we’ll have left is each other. We don’t know who’s hiding in sadness, or feelings of guilt and loneliness, or who needs help and is too proud or afraid to ask. We have to be there for each other.  We have to cope with our pain and we have to alleviate each other’s pain.”

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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