PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Chicago Cubs player Anthony Rizzo left spring training Thursday for his home in Parkland, Florida, to offer support in the wake of a deadly shooting at his former high school.
Rizzo was one of hundreds at the Thursday night vigil held for the 17 deceased victims.
“I went to Stoneman Douglas. I grew up in Stoneman Douglas. I played on those fields. I went to those classes,” he said. “Whatever comfort I can give, I will give. Whatever support I can offer to our students, teachers, coaches and families and first responders, you’ll have it.”
Rizzo was at the high school to donate $150,000 to install lights at the school’s baseball field. Rizzo played both baseball and football at Stoneman Douglas before he graduated in 2007.
Despite playing for the Chicago Cubs, Rizzo said he never forgot his Florida roots.
“I’m a baseball player, but I’m also an American, I’m a Floridian and I’m a Parklander for life,” Rizzo said.
Rizzo left spring training once he heard about the tragedy.
“We told him to get back to us if there’s anything we can do to help. I don’t even know what that means, but he definitely wanted to go back there and become involved as he should,” teammate Joe Maddon told the Chicago Tribune.
Rizzo wasn’t the only baseball player with ties to the school. Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson went to Coral Springs High School and said his team used to face Stoneman Douglas.
“A lot of my friends went to that school, so I know they’re feeling it, and I texted a couple of them, see if they have family members or friends, younger friends that go there now,” he said. “Luckily, everybody that I knew of is safe. Like I said, those 17 families, I really feel for them right now.”
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