Rays tweet about Breonna Taylor
Getty Images

Florida sheriff rips Tampa Bay Rays tweet about Breonna Taylor

42 Comments

A Florida sheriff is loudly complaining about a Tampa Bay Rays tweet about Breonna Taylor. And he’s threatening to withhold sheriff’s department services from the team in retaliation.

Last week, on Opening Day, the Rays made a series of racial justice-themed tweets, starting with one that said “Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.” They followed that up with a tweet about how the organization has committed $100,000 to local groups fighting systemic racism. They ended with a tweet that said “Systemic racism is real. Let’s unite for positive change,” with a graphic showing a timeline of America’s 246 years of slavery and 89 years of segregation. 

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County, Florida — the county in which the Rays and Tropicana Field are located — is hopping mad about the Rays tweet about Breonna Taylor. The Tampa Bay Times reports that this past Sunday he called Rays president Matt Silverman to complain and, in so doing, threatened that he may pull his officers from duties in and around the stadium, including traffic control and guarding the room in which the Rays keep concession cash.

Sheriff Gualtieri told the paper,  “[t]o turn a baseball event into a political event is uncalled for. It’s just wrong, and it’s improper. It’s just reckless. It’s throwing gasoline on the fire, and it didn’t need to happen.” He added that, in his view, it’s inappropriate for the team to opine on the Breonna Taylor case when team officials “don’t know all the facts.”

St. Petersburg’s police Chief Anthony Holloway — whose officers also provide security services at Tropicana Field, seemed to concur, telling the Tampa Bay Times that he is “very concerned” about the tweet and “disagreed with its characterization of the officers.” Which seems sort of problematic by the Sheriff’s standards, because I can’t see how a Florida police chief can know any more about the facts of the Breonna Taylor case, which is in Kentucky, than the Rays do. He’s reading the stories just like everyone else, right?

The Rays are not commenting. Sheriff Gualtieri, however, told the paper that Rays president Matt Silverman told him that the team’s upper management did not approve the tweet. I would like to think that the Rays are not throwing their own employees under the bus in order to placate an angry Sheriff. I get that they may not want to comment on this, but given what Gualtieri has accused Silverman of saying, one would hope that the team would release a statement standing by it. Especially considering the sentiment expressed in the Rays tweet about Breonna Taylor is completely consistent with its other sentiments about racial justice and the club’s charitable contributions to that end.

As for Sheriff Gualtieri, his response to the Rays tweet about Breonna Taylor is just the latest example of law enforcement officials threatening not to do their jobs because of their displeasure over a private actor speaking out about racial justice. For example, earlier this week a Nevada sheriff told a local library that it should not bother calling 9-1-1 if it ever needs to because the library expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. All of this comes after United States Attorney General William Barr said late last year that Americans “have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” and that, “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

While Sheriff Gualtieri may have opinions about what sort of speech is “wrong” or “improper,” one might reasonably argue that it’s far more inappropriate for those whose duty it is to serve the public fairly and equally to threaten that it will not do so if one dares to offend the political sensibilities of the police. Indeed, that’s more than just concerning. That’s downright dangerous.

Will fans be allowed to attend MLB playoff games?

The MLB Playoffs are underway!
Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a condensed 60-game regular season, the MLB playoffs kicked off this week with an usual 16-team format that you can read more about below, but one of the many questions on everyone’s mind is whether or not fans will be allowed to attend MLB playoff games.

Will fans be allowed to go to MLB playoff games?

There have been no spectators at any games this season but fans will finally have the opportunity to go to the NL Championship Series and World Series at new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas–one of the few states allowing spectators to attend events this year. The NLCS is scheduled on seven straight days from Oct. 12-18 and the World Series from Oct. 20-28, with traditional off days between Games 2 and 3 and Games 5 and 6, if the Series goes that far. Major League Baseball said Wednesday that about 11,500 tickets will be available for each game.

Below is the format and locations for each round. Unlike the regular season, there will be a bubble setup for each series in the postseason with the exception of the Wild Card round. Click here for the MLB schedule and scoreboard.

MLB Playoffs Format

Wild Card Series (Best-of-three): September 29 – October 2

All games will be held at the higher seed’s ball park.

American League

No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Athletics vs. No. 7 White Sox
No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

Division Series (Best-of-five): October 5 -10

The American League Division Series will be contested at Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The National League Division Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

League Championship Series (Best-of-seven): October 11-18

The American League Championship Series will be held at Petco Park in San Diego while the National League Championship Series will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

World Series (Best-of-seven): October 20-28

The World Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Home field advantage will go to the team with the best regular-season record.

        RELATED: Yanks rally, beat Indians 10-9 to reach ALDS vs rival Rays