Rays' Kevan Smith Discusses Problems Faced Wearing Mask in Florida Amid Pandemic

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJuly 11, 2020

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 06: Kevan Smith #44 of the Tampa Bay Rays works behind the plate during a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium on March 6, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kevan Smith continues to take precautions against the coronavirus, the Pittsburgh native told reporters of opposition to those precautions that he and his teammates have faced in Florida

Smith told reporters Saturday that a teammate was called a "pansy" for wearing a mask in public even as the number of positive cases across the state continue to surge, while Smith said he received puzzled looks while wearing a mask to collect food. 

Josh Tolentino @JCTSports

#Rays catcher Kevan Smith had a lot to say today. Listen/read: https://t.co/a1UXIWgz8c

According to the New York Times, Florida has seen the number of new cases increase by more than 11,000 in one day twice over the last week. 

There is currently no state-wide mandate for masks in Florida, with governor Ron DeSantis opting instead to defer to local leaders to make the decision. 

Multiple MLB players have tested positive for the virus since MLB officially reopened team workouts on July 1, including former Rays star Tommy Pham, Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo and New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. 

Positive tests also forced the temporary closure of team facilities in Florida for the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros in late June. 

The Rays' Tropicana Field, which has been used as a testing facility for the Tampa Bay area, has been forced to close on multiple days after reaching capacity.

Smith, 32, signed a minor league deal with Tampa in January after stints with the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels.