Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kevan Smith shed light on Saturday about what it was like walking around with a mask on in Pennsylvania versus how he felt with one on in Florida.
Smith and the Rays are preparing for the coronavirus pandemic-shortened season like every other baseball player. He described how he felt taking the necessary steps in order to prevent himself from contracting the virus from someone else who decides masks should be thrown by the wayside.
“Pennsylvania feels like a lot different up there than down here,” Smith told reporters, according to The Athletic. “Obviously the numbers are a lot worse here. But I felt like you couldn’t even walk outside without a mask on (at home). And then here (Florida), you go out with a mask and we have guys getting called names and all of the above. So just a totally different feel around the country.
“(A Rays teammate) was in a store shopping for food and was called a pansy. It’s like little do they know. I went out briefly to just pick up some takeout food and I swear I got like a dozen eyeballs on me looking at me like I’m the weird (one) walking in with my mask. Little do they know what is at stake for my life and for my livelihood. It’s just very immature or whatever you want to call it. But it’s just comical, I mean it. It’s going on all over the world. We’re seeing it firsthand here, so we’ve just got to stick within our realm and just do what we’ve got to do to stay responsible and everything should be fine.”
Health experts have stressed the importance of wearing a mask to limit the possibility of infecting others with COVID-19, but a range of new research now suggests they also protect the wearer.
With many states implementing policies to make face coverings mandatory in both indoor and outdoor spaces, one doctor says that masks also reduce the risk of infection to the wearer by 65 percent, according to UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dean Blumberg.
Smith, who is from Pittsburgh, is in his first season with the Rays.
He is among the players vying for a roster spot for the upcoming season. He spent last season with the Los Angeles Angels. In 67 games, he hit .251 with five home runs.
Fox News’ David Aaro contributed to this report.