New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was born and raised in Maryland, just outside of Baltimore.
The riots are hitting close to home. Teixeira’s uncle is a priest at a church located in downtown Baltimore. The church is currently being protected by the National Guard.
“I’ve seen the tough parts of Baltimore,” Teixeira said. “You never expect stuff like this, but you can see how it could happen.”
The recent unrest in Baltimore was sparked by the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. Six officers have been suspended over the incident.
“Any time there’s a crisis, people step up,” Teixeira said. “Good people always trump bad. Whether it was 9/11 here in New York, you saw that the good people stepped up and eventually things got back to normal.”
Teixeira had not spoken directly to his uncle, but said he was “doing fine.”
“I talked to my dad [Monday] night,” Teixeira said before going 1-for-3 in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Rays Tuesday night. “But people start attacking churches, it’s a good thing the National Guard is there because that’s the bottom of the bottom.”
Speaking to beliefnet’s Chad Bonham on his role in the community Teixeira didn’t pull punches.
“I have a huge responsibility,” Teixeira said. “I have a forum to be a good example. Hopefully people will see me and say, “That’s a man who lives for Christ” and “That’s a man who’s doing the right thing.” Every day I have forum—the media, the fans, my other teammates—and I have a responsibility to help prepare this world for the coming of Christ.”
Teixeira was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday after a string of games where he was 8-for-24 with five home runs, 10 RBI and six runs scored across a seven-game stretch.