Yankees, Rays use social media to spread gun violence facts

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The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts during Thursday night’s game between the teams to spread information about how gun violence affects American life.

The move was made in response to recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo. Several notable sports figures – including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr – have used their platform over the past few days to plead for action to combat gun violence.

MLB’s social media accounts are usually used during games to show video highlights, relay baseball statistics or exchange witty jokes with other accounts about the action on the field. On Thursday, that was replaced by posts like ” Firearms were the leading cause of death for American children and teens in 2020.”

Both accounts then posted a link to the source of their information.

“In lieu of gave coverage and in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rays, we will be using our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence.” the Yankees said in a statement. “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.”

The Rays also released a statement, saying that the recent shootings “cannot become normal.”

“We all deserve to be safe – in schools, grocery stores, places of worship, our neighborhoods, houses and America. The most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde have shaken us to the core. The Tampa Bay Rays are mourning these heartbreaking tragedies that took the lives of innocent children and adults.

“This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.”

The Uvalde school shooting was particularly personal for Rays reliever Brooks Raley, who is from Uvalde and still has family who live in the town. He attended the school where the shooting occured.

The NBA’s Miami Heat also took a different approach to raising awareness and calling for change following the Uvalde shootings. Before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, the Heat held a moment of silence in memory of those who were killed — followed by a statement urging fans to call lawmakers and demand change.

“The Heat urges you to contact your state senators by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws,” public address announcer Michael Baiamonte read to the fans, some of whom broke into applause as he spoke.

The moment was also broadcast as part of ESPN’s telecast of the game.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.