Rays' Blake Bivens Speaks Publicly About Deaths of Wife, Son, Mother-in-Law

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2020

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 22: Major league baseballs sit in a basket during batting practice before a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 22, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Blake Bivens was a pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays' Double-A Montgomery team in August when his wife Emily, 14-month-old son Cullen and mother-in-law Joan Bernard were killed.

The pitcher, who was on the road with his team in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the time, spoke publicly about their deaths for the first time Sunday during a discussion with interim senior pastor Travis Gore at The River Church in Danville, Virginia.

"First headline I see is two females and a small child were gone," Bivens said, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "I immediately knew that was them. I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport."

Topkin noted Bivens' brother-in-law, Matthew Bernard, is still awaiting trial but was arrested and charged with the three murders.

"That was the worst moment in my life," Bivens said of walking into his son's bedroom for the first time after flying home. "Nothing ever will come to being, to feeling the way I felt at that moment. Then again, I know I will see him again one day, and it won't be long."

The pitcher thanked the Rays organization for providing him so much help, especially in the immediate aftermath of the deaths, and recalled the plane trip home after he first heard about it:

"The only thing I really remember from the whole plane ride is I just went through periods, I just stared at the back of the seat the whole time, trying to get my mind to wrap around what I'm hearing.

"It's almost kind of like, 'This isn't really happening.' I was more in a state of shock. I would go through periods of shaking. Then I would start to lose it a little bit and break down and cry. It was kind of like a circle. The plane rides just seemed like they took forever."

The Montgomery Biscuits painted "BIV" behind home plate in honor of the grieving pitcher:

Montgomery Biscuits @BiscuitBaseball

For Blake. https://t.co/nLYL7TnTdZ

Topkin explained Bivens spent the remainder of the 2019 campaign at home and then pitched in Australia during the winter. He reported to spring training for this season in March before it was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.