Gambler sent threatening messages to athletes, including Rays players

Tampa Bay Rays
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Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times reports that a gambler, 23-year-old Benjamin Tucker Patz, sent hundreds of threatening messages to athletes, both professional and college, over Facebook and Instagram. Several of those players were on the Rays, identified in the criminal complaint by their initials: E.P., A.K., T.P., and C.R. We won’t bother deducing which players the initials are referring to, but it’s not a terribly difficult endeavor.

The messages included racial slurs, as well as threats to break into their homes to behead them and their families. The FBI investigated the threats.

A member of the White Sox, identified as A.C., and two other unnamed Rays players were on the receiving end of Patz’s vitriol. Sullivan notes that players on the Braves, Nationals, Royals, Indians, Orioles, Padres, Athletics, and Blue Jays received similar messages, as did members of the NFL’s New England Patriots. Patz sometimes sent threatening messages to the athletes’ family members.

In one message to T.P., Patz wrote, “Unfortunately 0-5 against the Chicago White Sox isn’t going to cut it. Because of your sins, I will have to behead you and your family.”

This is, sadly, a very real look into the private messages of professional athletes. Given the ever-increasing popularity of sports gambling and the ubiquity of social media, this seems like a problem that will only become bigger.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.