“I wanted to do something different.”
That’s how longtime Phillies radio announcer Scott Franzke began coverage of Wednesday’s loss to the Atlanta Braves following a shooter’s deadly rampage at a Texas elementary school, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Stepping out of his role calling balls and strikes, Franzke offered a heartfelt commentary about the shooting. Franzke talked about his daughter, June, who loves baseball and is 8 — about the same age as many of those killed in the massacre.
“This is what I would say about my daughter if a man — a boy, really — had walked in with a gun and opened fire at my child’s school,” Franzke said. “I would be crying, my wife would be inconsolable, my friends and family would be in the frame supporting us through our grief.”
Franzke is in Atlanta traveling with the Phillies, but said he was fortunate that he was able to speak to his three children — June, Loretta, and Gus — before they went to school Wednesday.
“Today is about those families in Uvalde, Texas — my home state. And it is about families in Buffalo or Florida or pick any state, really,” Franzke said. “This is about a level of grief that really may never be overcome. This is about all those lives, lives just lost, for … nothing.”
“We have a gun problem, we have a mental health problem, and we have an anger problem,” Franzke continued. “And all of us have the power to make a difference in one of these three areas. Big ways, small ways, all ways. Choose your way to help, please.”
Franzke closed his message by describing how June is awarded bears in class for good behavior — for helping a friend or staying quiet during lunch. Most recently, Franzke said she got a bear for doing well in a lockdown drill, which attempts to prepare the young students in case a shooter enters their school.
“And wouldn’t you know it, they did a really good job during the drill. They got some bears,” Franzke said, choking up. “They filled up the jar because they were good during their active shooter training. And they get to have a party.”