It’s one of the worst things any human being can experience. Learning a loved one has died is tough enough to handle, but knowing members of your family had their lives tragically taken at the hands of another is devastating. Blake Bivens, a pitching prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, not only went through this ordeal, but he found out through Facebook that he would never see his wife and child again.
Who is Blake Bivens?
Blake Bivens is a pitching prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The 6-foot-2 right-hander was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB amateur draft. He was chosen one round ahead of Philadelphia Phillies rising star Rhys Hoskins and was taken six picks after Pat Connaughton, an NBA player with the Milwaukee Bucks, was chosen by the Baltimore Orioles.
The 24-year-old Bivens was drafted right out of high school. He played his high school baseball at George Washington High School in Danville Virginia. He has spent the last six years in the Rays’ farms system and has compiled a 26-14 record with a 3.34 ERA.
Bivens was primarily used as a starter for the majority of his professional career. He reached the AA level in 2018, playing for the Montgomery Biscuits. In 2019, Bivens pitched mostly out of the bullpen, compiling a 4-0 record with Montgomery. He pitched in 27 games and made just three starts. He had one save.
Bivens’ wife and son murdered in August
On Aug. 27, 2019, Blake Bivens’ world was turned completely upside down. Bivens’ wife Emily, son Cullen, and mother-in-law Joan were brutally murdered by Bivens’ brother-in-law Matthew. Matthew Bernard, 18, was arrested and charged with the killings. He is awaiting trial.
Bernard, also accused of killing a dog, was naked an eluded police for hours. Before his arrest, he charged at a reporter who was at the scene and he also was accused of chocking a church caretaker. Bernard was eventually captured with the use of a K-9.
At the time of the killings, Bibens was Chattanooga, Tennessee on a road trip with the Tampa Bay Rays‘ affiliate Montgomery Biscuits. There has been no motive as to why Matthew Bernard would kill his mother, sister, and nephew.
Blake Bivens learns of the killings through Facebook
Blake Bivens spoke publicly for the first time about the incident on Sunday during a conversation with interim senior pastor Travis Gore of The River Church that was shown on Facebook Live. Bivens thought something could be wrong when he never got a text from his wife that morning. He attempted to reach her but was unable to. He then saw in a Facebook post that his bother-in-law was wanted by police.
When he was at the Chattanooga airport, he went back to Facebook. “The first headline I see is two females and a small child were gone. I immediately knew that was them,” Bivens said. “I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport.”
Bivens was on a plane. He was frantic and didn’t know what to do.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Bivens said the hardest part of the whole ordeal was heading back home and walking into his son’s bedroom, knowing he would never see him again. “That was the worst moment in my life. Nothing ever will come to feeling the way I felt at that moment,” he said.