MLB Players Discussing Being Harassed For Wearing Masks In Public Shows How Dumb Life In Florida Really Is Right Now

baseball pitcher's mound

NeONBRAND / Unsplash

I was born and raised in Florida then lived in NYC for a long time after college before moving back to the Sunshine State a few years ago and I really wish I could be just about anywhere else on the planet right now. I’ve got a great house, my family’s here, things aren’t bad inside my house but anytime I have to run an errand I’m reminded of just how screwed this state is.

I went to Publix yesterday and watched the family of four defiantly walk into the store maskless in front of me, the dad with a big smirk on his face as he looked around at people like myself wearing masks, as if we were the morons for exhibiting the tiniest effort possible to stop the spread of a deadly virus. This happens every single time I go somewhere (in my mask), I catch looks like I’m a freak for being even the tiniest bit responsible.

An article published yesterday in the Tampa Bay Times shows what life is like for Major League Baseball players returning to Florida ahead of the season restarting and it sounds like they’re receiving the exact same treatment as the rest of us, all for responsibly wearing masks. Only these guys are professional athletes/celebrities who aren’t accustomed to being singled out for anything other than being exceptional.

Kevan Smith is a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays who recently returned to Port Charlotte from Pittsburgh where he’d been for the past few months. Here’s his experience and the stories he’s heard from other players returning to Florida in recent days:

“Felt like you couldn’t even walk outside without a mask on (at home),” Smith, 32, said. “I feel like here you go out with a mask, we have guys getting called names and all the above. Just a totally different feel.

“I heard a story, one of the (guys), I don’t if I can use this word, he was in a store shopping for food and I guess it was a resident called the player a pansy for wearing his mask.

“I went out briefly to just pick up some takeout food, and I swear I got like a dozen eyeballs on me, looking at me like I’m like the weirdo walking in with a mask. Little do they know what is at stake for my life and for my livelihood. It’s just very immature and just whatever you want to call it. It’s comical. It’s going on all over the world, but we’re seeing it firsthand here.” (via TBTimes)

People want sports as a distraction. We don’t need sports at all. I’m legitimately ashamed at how terribly the majority of people in my home state have handled everything and there’s just no end in sight to this nightmare right now.

Florida set a new record on Sunday for the most new cases in a single day with 15,300. The spread is completely out of control and the only precautions the governor has taken is to close down bars, but you can still go eat inside at a restaurant and sit at the bar and get hammered if you want. Only bars that don’t serve food are closed.

Indoor gyms are still open! Masks aren’t required statewide despite Florida being the epicenter of the world right now for this virus. And in cities where masks are required the police aren’t handing out any citations to people who aren’t wearing masks so the mask orders don’t really matter at all, do they?

Anecdotally, I’d say that I’ve seen more people wearing masks over the past week in this particular part of Florida than I have at any other point in the past few months but it certainly seems like too little too late, given that Florida’s reporting 15,000+ new cases per day and we haven’t even had a chance to see the 4th of July infection numbers yet.