MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Marlins, Cubs, Major League Baseball and especially Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate and current Cubs star Anthony Rizzo have gone all out for the victims of the Parkland shooting.
Rizzo is a Parkland native and school alum and ahead of Friday night’s game with the Marlins, some of the Stoneman Douglas students, victims, and loved ones of those who perished were guests of the Anthony Rizzo Foundation and the Miami Marlins.
Rizzo took time out from batting practice to talk to family members who were invited to be part of the pregame festivities.
Arielle Feis, the daughter of Coach Aaron Feis, Jesse Guttenberg, brother of Jaime Guttenberg, Corey Hixon, son of Athletic Director Chris Hixon, and Ben Wikander, who was shot and is still recovering, threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg and Chris Hixon were three of the 17 people killed by the teenage gunman on Valentine’s Day at the Parkland school.
During batting practice, the families visited with Rizzo as his personal guests.
After the Valentine’s Day shooting, Rizzo left Cubs’ Spring Training in Arizona and came right to Parkland to show support for the students and teachers from his alma mater.
The families are grateful for the gesture.
“What Rizzo has done for us, the Marlins, all of South Florida, it’s the little things like that that make the difference,” said Eric Wikander. “So you see a smile [on my son’s face]. I give anything to see that smile.”
Rizzo’s Foundation also donated $305-thousand to the Stoneman Douglas cause.
“You can tell it means a lot to him, the kids. He is doing everything he can to help out. It means a lot, you can tell,” said Jesse Guttenberg, whose sister Jaime was killed in the shooting.
Student victim Ben Wikander says it’s important to keep the Parkland shooting story alive.
“That’s the point of all of this. Eventually what happened so that nothing like this ever happens again. No one should have to go through this.”
Additionally, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas baseball team is also attending the game as special guests of the Marlins.
Next Wednesday night, the team will play Coral Springs High on the Marlins Park diamond as well.