HOUSTON -- Astros manager AJ Hinch joined some of his players and the Astros organization in offering condolences, while also expressing grief and anger, about Friday's school shooting that occurred at Santa Fe High School, about 30 minutes south of Minute Maid Park. At least 10 people, mostly students, were
HOUSTON -- Astros manager AJ Hinch joined some of his players and the Astros organization in offering condolences, while also expressing grief and anger, about Friday's school shooting that occurred at Santa Fe High School, about 30 minutes south of Minute Maid Park. At least 10 people, mostly students, were killed and 10 were injured by a 17-year-old student, according to reports.
The Astros held a moment of silence prior to Friday's series opener against the Indians to honor the victims. The team also lowered flags at Minute Maid Park to half-staff.
"Obviously, we offer our condolences, but to be honest with you, it makes me angry," Hinch said. "I'm tired of talking about these situations. And I know you guys have to ask and we have to respond, but it's heartbreaking. Again, another senseless act of violence in our schools. Copy, paste this answer for the next time something happens, because we feel like there's something happening on a routine basis that's idiotic and terrible and miserable.
"I hope we can somehow find a way to get past it, for one, offer our condolences to the people affected and, more importantly, figure out a way to stop this madness, because I don't have any words. Anything I say is hollow when it comes to the parents of those kids, that took their kids to school or watched their kids go in their cars and go to their high school and they're not coming home. It makes me sick."
The Astros issued a statement a few hours after the shooting: "We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those affected by the senseless tragedy at Santa Fe High School today." Shortstop Carlos Correa tweeted "Prayers up for Santa Fe."
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, who graduated from high school in Tampa, Fla., only six years ago, expressed disbelief.
"I feel like it just happens so much and it's something that's got to stop," he said. "I went to school for how many years, and that would never be something that crossed my mind. You know you do bomb drills and fire drills and all that type of stuff, but having to go to school now and be worried about active shooters is something that is different and pretty scary."
In February, while headquartered at their Spring Training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., the Astros and Major League Baseball wore caps in support of 17 students and faculty members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. The shooting happened less than hour from the Astros' Spring Training complex.
A small group from Stoneman Douglas spent much of one morning at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to watch the Astros take batting practice, nearly one week after the horrific tragedy at their school. Hinch spoke baseball with the school's coach, Todd Fitz-Gerald, and Astros players -- including Correa, Evan Gattis, George Springer and Brian McCann -- talked baseball and offered support to the group.
"Lives are being lost for no real good reason," Hinch said. "There's never a good reason. My anger is because I have kids and I can appreciate how terrible everybody's got to feel. Obviously, a teacher, I think, lost a life and a kid that pitched in a baseball game last night lost his life or is fighting for his life. I don't have the words. I'm here in front of a bunch of cameras trying to make people feel better when I don't think that this situation should ever happen.
"There's no reason for our schools to be combat zones. And it's turning that way. We started the season with a conversation like this in Florida. And now we're talking about it in our own city. And it's going to be a different city, and another city and another city. Thoughts and prayers are great, but they're not fixing the problem. Whether it's fixing how we believe in guns, whether it's safety, security -- I want answers. I don't want to offer any more condolences. I want to find answers."
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.